Drug Addiction People don't start using drugs with the intent to become addicted. Drug addiction can be a sneaky foe sneaking up on a user before he or she knows it. Addicts didn't set out to destroy their lives intentionally. All they wanted to do was have a little fun, escape a little stress, feel a little bit more normal. But drug addiction is a very real consequence of drug use. For many, drugs seem to be a means of averting emotional and/or physical pain by providing the user with a temporary and illusionary escape from or way to cope with life's realities. Example, an individual tries drugs or alcohol. The drugs APPEAR to solve his problem. He feels better. Because he now SEEMS better able to deal with life, the drugs become valuable to him. The person looks on drugs or alcohol as a cure for unwanted feelings. The painkilling effects of drugs or alcohol become a solution to their discomfort. Inadvertently the drug or alcohol now becomes valuable because it helped them feel better. This release is the main reason a person uses drugs or drinks a second or third time. It is just a matter of time before he becomes fully addicted and loses the ability to control his drug use. Drug addiction, then, results from excessive or continued use of physiologically habit-forming drugs in an attempt to resolve the underlying symptoms of discomfort or unhappiness. When a person is suffering from drug addiction, they are unable to control their urges to use drugs. They consciously KNOW that drugs are bad for them and in their hearts, they want to quit, but by the time addiction has taken control, it's virtually impossible for them to do so. Their bodies have become used to the drug and going without it is a painful proposition. Using drugs can turn into a double-edged sword. People start using drugs to escape pressure and guilt from everyday life, but then they are mentally stressed because of their unethical behavior and the only way they know to escape those feelings is to take more drugs. It's a vicious cycle. Drug addiction has taken hold of almost 35 percent of the American population, and that number is just growing. With effective treatment, recovery from drug addiction is possible, but it takes commitment and effort. A person doesn't become addicted to drugs overnight, and becoming drug-free won't happen overnight either. The good news is that a drug-free life is just around the corner -- when you go looking for it! Causes of Drug Addiction Why do some people choose to use drugs when they're so bad for you? The causes of drug addiction are as varied as the amount of drugs that are available for use -- both legally and illegally. There is no one cause for drug addiction just like there is no consistent profile of a drug user. People who have a history of drug use or abuse in their families are at risk for drug addiction problems. It has been proven that children of alcoholics will exhibit addictive tendencies. Children of alcoholics or drug users generally have low self-esteem and see their parents escaping from problems using drugs. When they see this, their minds say that this is the way to act and they themselves become users. There is also a biological basis for causing drug addiction. Drugs alter the brain's chemicals and the way the brain functions. Drug addiction creates dependence in the brain by changing the brain's reward functions -- the part that reinforces certain behaviors. Prescription drug addiction is caused by the person's inability to function without the drug in their system. People become addicted to prescription drugs because they usually are taking them to overcome some type of pain. They begin to feel that if they are not taking their pills, the pain will return. Some people are more prone to addiction than others. People who have low self-esteem, are often depressed, and who feel they have no control over their lives will often turn to drugs as a way to cope. They often feel they can't please the people around them so they have to change themselves in order to fit in. The change is made easier by using drugs because the drugs transform them into someone and something that they are not. Stress is often attributed as a cause of drug addiction. Life can be very stressful no matter who you are. Some of us are better able to cope with stress than others. Others still just look for an easy way to forget their stress -- and that easy way is through drugs. Once the drug use starts, it's often difficult to get away from it because the stresses will still be there once the high is gone, so the user feels he or she needs more drugs to cope. That type of cycle leads to addiction. Finally, drugs are easily accessible. They are available in many places if you just ask around for them. Because of that easy access, it's more likely that a person will begin using eventually becoming addicted. The causes of drug addiction are wide and varied. The key to stopping drug addiction is to get rid of those causes before they become a problem. Drug Addiction Treatment Programs For people who are struggling with drug addiction, the good news is that there are now many treatment programs available to help them with their recovery. At one point in time, treatment programs for drug addiction were cold and stark addressing only the addiction itself not the psychological implications brought about by that addiction. Now, the treatment programs that are available focus on healing not only the body but the mind as well. They realize that drug addiction is more than just a physical craving for drugs, it also take control of the mind to keep the addict using and prevent total recovery. There are a variety of in-patient rehab centers that offer treatment for drug addiction. These programs are set in beautiful places with plenty of room to reflect and move about. They often offer classes in various coping skills and things you can do to keep yourself from putting yourself in the situation you were in when you began using drugs in the first place. Rehab facilities also offer many types of therapy in the form of group therapy, family counseling, and individual one-on-one therapy. Using this type of treatment, you will be receiving treatment for all aspects of your addiction -- not just one. These facilities also have medical personnel on hand to help with the detoxification process. When you take drugs out of your system, you will be beset with some pretty difficult physical symptoms. The medical staff will help you cope with those reactions and take measures to make you as comfortable as possible. You can choose an out-patient treatment program for your drug addiction as well. These types of programs are generally in the form of 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. You attend meetings and participate in discussions that will help you cope with your own addictions and help others with theirs. These treatment programs can be very effective, but your commitment must be strong so that you will follow through with the treatment completely and not relapse back into drug use. When you work the full 12 steps in the program, you will find support from others who share your addiction and you will be given tools to use when you are tempted to use again. Be sure that you are completely committed to your treatment if you choose an out-patient program for your drug addiction. When you are going through withdrawal, the urge to use again may overpower your desire to become clean. If your drug use is especially involved, a rehab facility might be a better choice for your recovery. Drug addiction treatment programs have undergone amazing changes in the last few decades, and the stigma that used to be attached to checking into one of these clinics no longer exists. If you or a loved one have a problem with drug addiction, know your options when it comes to treatment programs and seek out ways to live a clean and sober life. Drug Addiction Programs Drug addiction programs vary greatly when it comes to treatment and options. Generally when people speak of drug addiction programs, they are talking about rehabilitation facilities that treat people as residents of their program. These in-patient programs are a very good way to deal with a drug addiction and will have the largest success rate. When choosing a drug addiction program, there are certain aspects you should look for before you enroll. Do they provide one-on-one therapy? Do they involve your family members? Do they provide exercise programs and nutritional meals that will help to heal your body along with your mind? A drug addiction treatment program should have a variety of therapeutic sessions to help you deal with the painful symptoms of drug withdrawal and the emotions that go along with it. The program you choose should be medically based for optimum results, but faith-based programs can be effective too. Should you choose an out-patient program to treat your drug addiction, be sure that it is a program you are comfortable with and has people that you are comfortable with as well. Because your program will be the cornerstone of your recovery, it's so important to have one that will meet your needs and guide you along the way toward becoming drug-free. The therapy programs you choose are so important because your drug addiction is more than just a physical addiction; it's a psychological condition as well. You need to treat your mind as well as your body. That's why therapy matters in a recovery program. Another aspect of a drug addiction program you should not discount is exercise programs. When your body is performing at its optimum peak, you are mentally more able to meet the challenge of beating your drug addiction. When your program of choice offers various exercise programs, your body will be strong enough to beat the tough withdrawal symptoms that you will be facing. If you are choosing an in-patient treatment facility, be sure that the setting is conducive to your recovery. A stark, gray hospital probably is not the best choice for most people. Many rehab facilities are now located in beautiful pastoral settings with plenty of room to move about and places where you can relax and meditate. You will need to get in touch with your inner self during recovery, and having a beautiful place to do it in makes it much easier. A drug addiction program is so important to a successful recovery that you should not take it lightly. Drug addiction is a serious problem and the program you choose to beat that addiction can make all the difference between becoming drug-free or relapsing. Alcohol and Drug Addiction There are some scary things in our world today, but none is more scary than an addiction to drugs and alcohol. It's a growing problem in our society, and alcohol and drug addiction has become a tough nut to crack, so to speak. Drugs and alcohol make people feel good. When they are able to feel those feelings, they are apt to use more just to maintain that feeling. Eventually, the drugs and/or alcohol take hold of a person's life until they are completely controlled by the effects they are used to. They may realize they have a problem, but when the painful withdrawal symptoms start, using seems like a much better option than suffering. The United States has declared a "war on drugs". This is a great effort, but it might just be too big of an epidemic to control. The real truth is that if we take a personal interest in healing those around us, we can gain control of the problem one person at a time -- if we're lucky. Recognizing the signs of alcohol and drug addiction are actually quite easy -- when you know what you're looking for. While the following signs are just suggestions to look for, don't take them lightly: * Chronic bloodshot eyes * Behavior other than normal * Always disappearing for long periods of time * Problems with work or school * Excessive shaking or tremors * Financial problems * Avoidance of social situations * Spacey or unintelligible conversation If you recognize any of these signs in a loved one, you should take steps to confront your loved one and try to steer them towards recovery efforts. The process is not simple, but when you take the time to help them realize that what they are doing is damaging not only themselves but those around them, they will possibly be more open to help. Alcohol and drug addiction can be debilitating to families all over the world. It takes hold of lives and can ruin them in an instant. Drug and alcohol addiction are very serious diseases that should not be ignored. If you think you or a loved one might be struggling with this powerful problem, seek help now! There are more resources available now than ever before when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction. Whether you seek out help from an in-patient rehab facility or through a counseling service, it's imperative that help be gotten in any way. Drug and alcohol addiction can be conquered, but first, there needs to be an admission that a problem exists. That doesn't mean weakness, that actually means strength! Prescription Drug Addiction Prescription drug addiction is an ever-growing problem in the United States. People receive prescription drugs most often to combat pain. When they become accustomed to taking a pill to relieve that pain, they often become addicted before they even realize what's happening. A doctor will write a prescription for drugs to help the patient feel better and be better able to cope with the debilitating symptoms of either an accident or a disease. Because a doctor prescribes this medication, patients often think that taking it is safe. But when they start relying on the drug to get through a day or cope with life, that's when the prescription drug becomes an addiction. It is estimated that over 20 million Americans have an addiction to prescription drugs. And we're not just talking about everyday people. Celebrities, CEO's, and millionaires alike can become addicted to prescription drugs. It's the newest problem to afflict famous people and regular, everyday people as well. If you think you might be struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs, it's important to first talk to your doctor. He (or she) was the one who prescribed them in the first place, and if you find yourself needing more and more of the drug, you need to cut off your source to begin your recovery process. When a loved one is suffering from prescription drug addiction, it might be difficult to watch them travel down this road. Chances are good that the reason they were written the prescription in the first place involved a trauma of some sort. You may be more apt to deny their addiction way before they do. This is a huge mistake. If you are especially close to someone who is taking Vicodin or Oxycontin for pain, keep an eye on how many pills they are taking. You can monitor their usage and take note when you feel they are taking more pills than are necessary. Many people with a prescription drug addiction are afraid to stop taking their drugs. They are afraid that if they don't have the drug in their system, the pain will come back. When this addiction has taken hold, the truth is that the pain WILL come back, but in the form of withdrawal symptoms. They don't need the drug for the original reason anymore, but they need it because their body has become used to having the drug in their system. Prescription drug addiction is nothing to mess around with. It can take hold quicker than a blink of an eye and never let go. It's essential for you or your loved one to seek help as soon as possible before the addiction becomes a normal way of life. Recovery from prescription drug addiction is possible, but it starts with an admittance of a problem. Don't let another day go by -- get help now! Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction Prescription drug abuse is on the rise and many more people are finding themselves with an addiction to those prescripton drugs. Think about how you feel when you're in pain -- not just a little bit of pain -- a lot of pain. What is the first thing you think about? If it's me, I think about relieving that pain. In fact, that's one of the first and foremost thoughts in my mind -- what can I do to get rid of this horrible pain? So you go to a doctor and tell him or her about your pain, and your doctor prescribes a pain killer to help you. Aaaahhh, you feel better. You think you've found a bit of a miracle just by swallowing a little pill. And for a little while, it is a miracle for you. Then you start to feel a little bit better, but you don't stop taking the pills. Why? Because they make you feel good. They take the edge off, they help you cope, and they are almost your best friends. Without even really knowing it, you have become dependent on those pills to help you get through the day. More and more people are finding themselves becoming addicted to prescription drugs. This is because the new prescription drugs we have on the market are so much more powerful than any others we've had, people begin to like and get used to the effect these drugs have on them and their mindset. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise and before they really become aware, addiction has set in. It's a serious problem that can lead to other types of drug abuse and needs to be addressed early in the stages of addiction. The first step that needs to be taken is to acknowledge that there might be a problem with your prescription drug use. Many people begin to "doctor hop" to get their prescriptions filled. I know of one woman who actually had a day planner that listed her various doctor appointments along with what prescription medications they would prescribe for her. Prescription drug abuse is just as serious as heroin drug addiction or alcoholism. The recovery period is just a little bit longer because you started taking the pills to combat pain in the first place. Addiction can happen in an instant, believe it or not! When you can face the problem head on, you can make yourself armed with the tools you need to fight it. That includes getting as much information as you can about the health effects these drugs have on your body and what to expect when you stop using those drugs. Prescription drug abuse and addiction is a very treatable condition. The information to help you is out there. All you have to do is look for it. Talk to people, look in the phone book, check the Internet. Your family deserves it, your friends deserve, but most of all -- you deserve it! Definition of Drug Addiction Even though drug addiction is a complex disease, assigning a definition for that disease is actually quite simple. Drug addiction is, in its simplest form, defined as the continued compulsive use of drugs in spite of adverse health or social consequences. The definition of drug addiction should also include the fact that it is a state of heavy dependence on a specific drug. Generally, it's thought of as a physical dependence, but in actuality, there is a psychological addiction as well as an emotional dependence. Some say that it is compulsive and pathological drug use or substance dependence. Drug addiction is also a behavior disorder as the initial drug use is generally done as a reaction to a behavior or situation that seems out of control to the user. The user seems to have no other choice but to use that drug because of the body's dependence on the fact that the drug will remain present in the system. A distinction should be made between drug use and drug addiction. It is possible for people to use drugs without becoming addicted, but that is generally limited to prescription drug use. People who take drugs to cope with a physical ailment do so to control pain or the adverse effects of a physical condition. Those drugs improve the quality of life for the sufferer, but they are not necessarily addicted to the drugs. To be dependent on a drug -- or addicted to it -- the user must take the drug regularly, and they experience unpleasant symptoms if they stop using the drug such as nausea or sleep disturbance. Substance abuse or addiction is present when a person uses a drug despite the harm that it causes to their system. There is a difference between drug abuse and drug addiction. Drug abuse occurs when a person uses excessive amounts of a drug at one time or frequently. Drug addiction is present when a person cannot stop using the drug and stopping the drug seems like an impossibility. Of course, no definition of drug addiction is complete without noting that it is both a physical dependence as well as a psychological one. Physical dependency occurs when a drug has been used habitually and the body has become accustomed to its effects. Psychological dependency is present when the drug is used habitually and the mind has become accustomed to the effects the drug produces. When drug addiction affects a person's life, the definition of that drug addiction becomes a bit less important than the reasons why people use. However, it can help multitudes if a definition is specified so that a better understanding of drug addiction can occur. Effects of Drug Addiction The effects of drug addiction are far reaching and go way beyond just affecting the life of the addict. Drug addiction has an effect on families, companies, schools, and friendships. It also has an effect on the body of the addict and could possibly affect the health of those around the addict. People who use drugs experience a wide array of physical effects other than those expected. The excitement of a cocaine high, for instance, is followed by a "crash": a period of anxiety, fatigue, depression, and an acute desire for more cocaine to alleviate the feelings of the crash. Marijuana and alcohol interfere with motor control and are factors in many automobile accidents. Users of marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs may experience flashbacks, unwanted recurrences of the drug's effects weeks or months after use. Sharing hypodermic needles leads to an increased risk of HIV and some forms of hepatitis. That, along with increased sexual activity among drug addicts can greatly increase the incidence of people becoming infected with AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. There are over 10,000 deaths directly attributable to drug use in the United States every year; the substances most frequently involved are cocaine, heroin, and morphine, often combined with alcohol or other drugs. Many drug users engage in criminal activity, such as burglary and prostitution, to raise the money to buy drugs, and some drugs, especially alcohol, are associated with violent behavior. The user's preoccupation with the substance, plus its effects on mood and performance, can lead to marital problems and poor work performance or dismissal. Drug use can disrupt family life and create destructive patterns of codependency, that is, the spouse or whole family, out of love or fear of consequences, inadvertently enables the user to continue using drugs by covering up, supplying money, or denying there is a problem. Pregnant drug users, because of the drugs themselves or poor self-care in general, bear a much higher rate of low birth-weight babies than the average. Many drugs (e.g., crack and heroin) cross the placental barrier, resulting in addicted babies who go through withdrawal soon after birth, and fetal alcohol syndrome can affect children of mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy. Pregnant women who acquire the AIDS virus through intravenous drug use pass the virus to their infant. Drug abuse affects society in many ways. In the workplace it is costly in terms of lost work time and inefficiency. Drug users are more likely than nonusers to have occupational accidents, endangering themselves and those around them. Over half of the highway deaths in the United States involve alcohol. Drug-related crime can disrupt neighborhoods due to violence among drug dealers, threats to residents, and the crimes of the addicts themselves. In some neighborhoods, younger children are recruited as lookouts and helpers because of the lighter sentences given to juvenile offenders, and guns have become commonplace among children and adolescents. The great majority of homeless people have either a drug or alcohol problem or a mental illness -- many have all three. Drug addiction has an effect on all parts of life for the drug user, the family, and society as a whole. The time to get help for an addiction is NOW before its effects become so far-reaching, they cannot be recovered. Drug Addiction Recovery Many people struggling with drug addiction think that recovery is nearly impossible for them. They've heard the horror stories of painful withdrawal symptoms, they can't imagine life without drugs, and they can't fathom actually being able to get through a recovery effort. But people do recover from drug addiction -- every day in fact. But they don't usually do it alone. They have lots of help. Help with drug addiction recovery can come from many different places in the form of loving family and friends, drug treatment programs, and drug rehab facilities. Recovery is a long process that requires a commitment from a lot of people, but when you get help with your drug addiction, recovery is a very real possibility. Drug addiction recovery entails more than just getting over the physical withdrawal from drugs, it also involves a healing of the mind and the mindset that started you towards drug addiction in the first place. Recovery is a spiritual process that needs to take place in the mind, heart, and soul. Recovery comes about after a long period of time. The initial phase is abstinence or not using the drug. Abstinence eventually moves into recovery as the addict begins to change and grow in positive ways. Abstinence requires a decision, recovery requires effort. Once you have gone through the abstinence phase with withdrawal from the drug, you can then move on to mental recovery. This type of recovery has to do with issues like brain function and brain chemistry. It involves changing your attitudes, belief systems, and rational thoughts so that you don't start using drugs again. Emotional recovery from drugs is a very complex part of the healing process as well. This part of recovery has more to do with your feelings than anything else. Emotional recovery involves learning to deal with feelings openly, honestly, and responsibly. It includes learning to express and resolve feelings in appropriate and effective ways. For most people in recovery, emotional recovery can take years. Finally, you'll need to recover from drug addiction spiritually. Even if you are not a religious person, spiritual recovery has more to do with your attitude toward life and how you want to live that life. When you begin to recover spiritually, the way you look at the world changes: fear is replaced by faith, self-pity turns to gratitude, resentment becomes acceptance, and dishonesty turns to honesty. You can choose to undertake your drug addiction recovery at a rehab facility or through a 12-step program, but you truly do need to seek out the help of others if you want to have a full recovery. Very few people are able to recover from drug addiction on their own. Don't be afraid to ask for help because you can have a successful recovery from drug addiction once you do! Drug Addiction Story Elizabeth was just 13 years old when she had her first drink -- this is a story of her descent into drug addiction. After that first drink, she found she liked the way it made her feel, so she had a couple of more. Before long, she experienced her first time being drunk, and the door had opened. This story of drug addiction usually paints a very similar picture from addict to addict. They share many aspects of their stories and they often share tragic endings. Elizabeth soon progressed to smoking pot after school, and before long she was using it every day often smoking before school as well. She found it difficult to find enough money to buy her marijuana, so she began taking money from her mother's purse when she wasn't looking. It made her feel horrible, so she smoked the pot to help her cope with her guilt. Drug addiction is no laughing matter. This isn't a comedy; it's more of a dramatic story about losing control once and not being able to regain it back. When Elizabeth was 17, a friend offered her some methamphetamine. By this time, she was known as a party girl and wasn't about to tarnish that image. She snorted the white powder and was transformed. She became more than the life of the party; she became THE party. People wanted to be around her because she was so much fun. She couldn't believe it took her so long to find this amazing high. Have you ever had someone tell you a story you just couldn't believe? Well when you hear a story about drug addiction, it's all too true and all too believable. It happens every day. At 19, Elizabeth had a baby. She wasn't sure who the father was, and the baby was born addicted to crack. The doctors knew this and her son was taken from her before she was even released from the hospital. Despondent over this loss, when she did leave, she immediately sought out her dealer and got high. The story of drug addiction is painful to read and painful to tell. For those people who are affected by drug addiction, it's almost excruciating. Twenty-one year old Elizabeth was arrested for possession of drugs for the third time in one month. She is put in jail to await trial. The judge orders her into a rehabilitation facility. She attends for the required treatment time and, once home, uses drugs after just two days. At 22, her parents are planning her funeral. She was found in her basement dead from a drug overdose. The story of drug addiction is often bleak and depressing. The tale is told over and over again all over the world. It's sad because it's preventable. Don't let you or a loved one be another tragic story of drug addiction. Drug Addiction Center A drug addiction center is more commonly known as a rehabilitation clinic or a drug clinic. These centers specialize in the treatment of drug addiction and help people with addictions cope with the mental and physical aspects of their disease. They offer medical care as well as counseling to help addicts become clean and sober again. There are many different types of drug addiction centers today. All are based on essentially the same premise -- to heal the body along with the mind and allow an addict to live a drug-free life. Faith based drug addiction centers center around spirituality and religion as their basis for healing and therapy. They are often associated with a specific religion, but others just ask that patients have a belief in a higher power. Faith based centers can be a great way to heal your drug addiction, but they can also be pushy when it comes to religion. If you're not a religious person, you may be better off choosing a secular center. Secular drug addiction centers are clinical environments that revolve treatment around tested principles for recovery. They offer both group and individual therapy and don't necessarily focus on one specific type of spirituality but rather on the strength of the individual and his or her support system. Almost all drug addiction centers treat addicts as normal people who just have a problem. If they don't, they aren't a reputable center. The people who work there should be compassionate individuals with a true interest in healing people of their addiction and getting them on the road to a drug-free life. People from all walks of life are patients at drug addiction centers. You will see high-powered businessmen, housewives, teenagers, and street people at rehab facilities. Drug addiction doesn't care who it takes hold of, it just wants some takers. You will find an amazing amount of support in these places -- support that is essential if you are going to beat drugs and get them out of your life. Drug addiction centers will also give you tools for coping with life once you exit the facility. This is essential because if you don't know how to resist what led you to drugs in the first place, you will become a user again. Drug addiction centers are wonderful places for people to go to beat the hold that drugs have on them. They are motivating, supporting, and can give hope to a person who thought that overcoming their addiction was a hopeless endeavor. Choose a rehab facility wisely and embrace what it has to offer. Then the healing can begin. Drug Addiction and Pregnancy When a woman is struggling with drug addiction during her pregnancy, that drug use affects more than just her -- it affects her fetus as well. The drugs can also have devastating effects on the child one he or she is born. Drug addiction and pregnancy should be treated as a very serious issue. A mother taking illegal drugs during pregnancy increases her risk for anemia, blood and heart infections, skin infections, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases. She also is at greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Most drugs cross the placenta -- the organ that provides nourishment to the baby. Some can cause direct toxic, or poisonous effets and create a child who is born with a drug addiction. During pregnancy, a woman needs to take active steps to combat her drug addiction, if not for herself, but for the good of her unborn child. While most drugs don't necessarily cause deformities, what they can do is stunt the growth of the child leading to low birth weight and having a baby born already addicted to drugs. Once that child takes his or her first breath, they begin the painful process of withdrawing from drugs. This puts stress on the baby's organs and provides for a very unhappy life. As much pain as an adult goes through during withdrawal, the pain is compounded for a helpless child. A urine lab test performed on a woman during her pregnancy called a chromatography can detect the presence of many drugs including marijuana and cocaine. Marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to behavioral problems in the child and cocaine can bring on premature delivery and even stillbirth. Drug addiction is a very complex mental condition as well a physical one. During pregnancy, it becomes a serious health risk both for the mother and the baby. After birth, you may find yourself having troubles coping with the stress of a newborn. You may have difficulty dealing with your baby's needs such as feeding and diapering. So what can you do if you are dealing with drug addiction during pregnancy? This can be problematic, especially if the child is not planned. The best thing you can do is to stop using drugs immediately. Sure, this will cause severe physical symptoms, but those generally subside within a few weeks. Get yourself into some type of treatment program and get counseling. A pregnancy is exciting, but when you are struggling with drug addiction, it can be painful. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your child to beat your drug addiction and have a healthy pregnancy. Drug Addiction Counseling Drug addiction counseling is an essential part of any recovery program. Addiction is a complex disease that damages the addict physically, mentally, and spiritually. Because of the holistic nature of the illness, the optimal treatment addresses the needs of the addict in many areas. Physical, emotional, spiritual, and interpersonal needs must all be addressed to support recovery. When you are trying to overcome a demon as huge as a drug problem, drug addiction counseling should be one of the first things you do after you realize you have a problem. Because of the complexity of the disease, it is essential that you find help as soon as possible in order to have an effective support system while you are going through the recovery process. Drug addiction counseling can be as simple as contacting a therapist or counselor to talk to or as involved as finding a support group where there are several of you partaking of group therapy. Either way, you must have some help when going through recovery from drug addiction. What should you look for when trying to find drug addiction counseling? You need someone who is certified and experienced with what you are going through. You may also want to look for someone who is willing to involve your family since they are going to be your primary support system in the first place. How do you find counseling for your drug addiction? There are many places you can turn to. Look in your local newspaper for 12-step groups that might be meeting in your area. Contact a church minister and ask people you know. Someone knows how to get you the help you need. If you really don't know where to turn to find drug addiction counseling, go online and search the Internet. There are many, many places that offer online counseling for drug problems that can address your own addiction as well as many others. The advantage of a community like this is that you are completely anonymous and you are speaking with others who are in various stages of their own recovery. They can help you, and, perhaps, you can help them too! Drug addiction counseling is very important when you decide it's time to kick your drug habit. If you try to do it alone, you'll be lacking a very important part of recovery. You need to treat both your mind and your body. When you take steps to get drug addiction counseling, you'll be doing yourself a favor and your recovery will be much, much easier! Family Therapy with Drug Abuse and Addiction The role of the family when dealing with drug abuse and addiction is a huge one. Family therapy can have a huge impact in conquering the drug abuse and addiction that has affected, most likely, every aspect of your family dynamics. It's not an easy road to walk on, but when family therapy is implemented, you all will learn how to deal with drug abuse and addiction in a healthy and productive way. When your loved one is in a rehab clinic, you will likely be asked to attend family therapy sessions on site. This is an extremely important part of the recovery process. You may be hesitant to attend these sessions, but rest assured that they will be life-affirming for not only you, but your loved one as well. Often, the person who has the addiction is feeling alone and withdrawn from the family. That could be the reason why he or she began using in the first place. People who abuse drugs are looking for a way to fit in -- a tool to help them be part of something when they feel alone. That often has to do with feeling alienated from the family. When you participate in family therapy, you are telling your loved one that you care about them and their recovery and that it is important to you. If you find yourself resistant to participation, just keep in mind that you are there to learn and to help. It is important to show your support when a loved one has an abuse or addiction problem with drugs. Family therapy can actually strengthen your family in ways you never even considered before. What family can't use a little advice and guidance when it comes to their lives? In today's world, dysfunction is a family dynamic that is all too common. When you are participating in family therapy for drug abuse and addiction, you are saying that you want something to change within that family dynamic and make it better than it is. You may think you have the "perfect" family, but no one really does. A little soul searching can go a long way -- especially for the family member who is struggling with abuse and addiction. Substance abuse affects families -- there's no doubt about that. Whether your loved one is in an inpatient or outpatient program, it's essential that you obtain family therapy for drug abuse or addiction in some shape or form. You'll all be much better for it, and your loved one will have an easier time becoming drug-free. Vicodin Drug Addiction Many people have found themselves struggling with an addiction to the prescription drug Vicodin. Prescribed as a pain reliever, Vicodin is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs because they do not take it exactly as the doctor intended it to be taken. When used according to instructions, it can be a very effective analgesic to help relieve pain. Prolonged use of Vicodin can lead to addiction because the body builds up a tolerance to the drug requiring more and more in order to produce the same effect. It takes over the brain's normal pleasure and motivational systems making the need for the drug become priority. Vicodin produces a euphoric feeling relaxing both the body and the mind. People with an addiction to Vicodin are often in denial that they have a problem. They rationalize their use by saying things like "I'm just taking it for the pain" or "The doctor said I could take a few extra if I needed to". As with other drugs, there are people who don't get hooked on the medication, but true addicts will begin to get frantic when their supply starts running low. They look for ways to replenish their supply -- even lying about physical problems just to get a prescription. Vicodin addicts find that they can't function without the drug. Even though the pain has subsided, Vicodin produces an effect in them that they feel they cannot live without. People suffering from Vicodin addiction find themselves going to outside sources such as drug dealers to obtain the pills and will often go to great lengths to maintain their supply. Addiction to the drug Vicodin is often seen as less serious than an addiction to illegal street drugs because it is prescribed by a physician. It is also because Vicodin is not seen as causing the same life-altering problems as other drugs. It is for these reasons that people who are addicted to Vicodin don't think they need to seek help for their problem. It's important to seek medical help because the detoxification process can be painful and difficult. Treating your mind is just as important as treating your body, so get some counseling as well. In order to gain the tools and resources you need to stay off the drug, you will need to become an active participant in your own recovery and involve those around you for support. Freedom from Vicodin drug addiction is possible, however, when you seek out help for the problem. Drug addiction counseling is the only way you can effectively stop using Vicodin and become healthy again. Drug Addiction Poems Often, poems and inspirational sayings can help lift spirits and focus on the important things in life. When you are battling a drug addiction, poems can help keep you focused and on track with recovery. It can motivate you toward action and getting help for your addiction. Perhaps the most well-known poem is "The Serenity Prayer": Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change To change the things that I can And the wisdom to know the difference Since drug addiction requires people to leave their old life behind in order to recover, the next poem called "Begin Again" is quite inspirational: One of the best things we can do in our lives is Begin again Begin to see yourself as you were when you were the happiest Begin to remember what worked for you and what worked against you Begin to try and re-capture the magic that is life Begin to live a lifetime each day as you did when you were a child Begin to forget your baggage, the problems that don't matter anymore, the tears that cried themselves away, and the worries that are going to wash away on the shore of tomorrow's new beginning Tomorrow tells us it will be here every new day of our lives If we are wise, we will turn away from the problems of the past And give the future and ourselves a chance to become the best of friends Sometimes all it takes is a wish in the heart to let yourself Begin again - Author Unknown People with a drug addiction can find some beautiful words to live by in a poem. It can speak to them and motivate them to action. For example, this next poem tells us of hope and letting go: "Two Days": There are two days in every week About which we should not worry Two days That should be kept free from fear and apprehension One is yesterday with all its mistakes and cares Is faults and blunders, its aches and pains Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control We cannot undo a single act we performed or erase a single word we said Yesterday is gone forever Then there is tomorrow With all its possibilities, it's adversities, its burdens, its rewards Tomorrow's sun will rise Either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds But it will rise Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow For it has yet to be born That leaves today Anyone can fight the battle of just one day It's when you add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow That you break down It's not the experience of today that drives a person mad It's the remorse or bitterness of something that happened yesterday And the dread of what tomorrow might bring Therefore, it only makes sense For peace of mind and hope Live simply one day at a time Live today! - Author Unknown If you are struggling with a drug addiction, try writing your own poem. Look inside your heart, see what the addiction is doing to you and express your feelings in a poem. You may just find that you can inspire yourself! Drug Addiction Treatment Center In the past, when a person found themselves struggling with drug addiction and they wanted to find a treatment center where they could get help with that addiction, they were met with discerning looks, judgmental people, and cold, stark facilities. A lot has changed over the year when it comes to treatment centers for drug addiction. Take, for example, the treatment center in California called Promises. Many celebrities have checked into Promises Treatment Center for addiction to alcohol and/or drugs. Famous people like Robert Downey, Jr., Robin Williams, and Keith Urban. This treatment center is located in the rolling hills of California. It is decorated with beautiful wicker, comfortable furniture, lots of lush green plants, and calming water. There is plenty of room to move about, and they even offer various activities for the residents to choose from like boating and tennis. Promises also gives its patients healing massages, nutrition programs for a healthy body, and promotes exercise and interaction through group programs. They also have the traditional therapy programs for healing the mind as well as the body. Other treatment centers have similar set-ups. The idea of making a drug addiction treatment center so inviting is so that people are less reluctant to come there when they find themselves battling a drug addiction. Often, it can be intimidating to think of being at an in-patient treatment center for any period of time. When these centers are home-like, the residents are comfortable while they are trying to recover. Drug addiction treatment centers are often run like a community with decisions about how the community operates left up to the residents. There are meetings held when issues arise, and those issues are voted on and resolved with resident input. You will find people from all walks of life at drug addiction treatment centers. The disease of drug addiction doesn't care if you're rich or poor, old or young, famous or not. It takes hold of your life regardless of who you are or what you do. When you realize that drugs have taken over your mind and your life, it's time to seek out help. The people who work at and operate drug addiction treatment centers will be highly qualified individuals who understand what you're going through and know how to treat it. There's not much they haven't seen, so you shouldn't be embarrassed or reluctant to talk about your addiction. They are there to help you. Entering a drug addiction treatment center might seem intimidating, but it shouldn't. You'll find more help than you ever thought you would and will get on the road toward successfully beating your drug addiction. Johnny Cash and His Drug Addiction Celebrity singer Johnny Cash is one of the most prolific and respected singers in the history of country music. What some people don't know is that Johnny Cash has struggled with drug addiction for much of his professional life. Why would such an amazing and popular singer have a problem with drug addiction? For the same reasons that everyday people struggle with the same addiction -- pressure and stress. Celebrities are not given a free pass out of the stressors of life. They have to deal with the same problems that everyday Joe does, only their stressors are much larger and much more life changing. Try to imagine how you would feel if you had to make a decision about a multi-million dollar contract or which song would be the best one to put on your album so you can gain popularity and fame? The truth is that Johnny Cash is just like you and me. And when he was offered drugs as a way to cope with life, he did what millions of people do every single day -- he succumbed. He found a way out, a way to cope, a way to deal. It's a natural human need -- something to help along the way when life just seems like too much to bear. The drug addiction that took hold of Johnny Cash started in the 1960's when he began drinking heavily and started using amphetamines and barbiturates. It became a vicious cycle. He used drugs in the morning to "pick him up", drugs in the evening to "help him sleep" and alcohol in between just to cope. All the while, this man was making amazing music that the whole world loved. Drugs, including alcohol, are the easy ways out of actually having to face things in life that we would rather not face. They take away pain, they make life seem less intense, and they help us become the person that we want to be. The problem is that drug addiction takes hold and we are unable to control our urges when it comes to our drug of choice. Eventually, Johnny Cash got hold of his drug addiction and learned that life isn't something to be avoided -- it's something to be embraced. He got the help he needed and went on to live a long life with many successes even as late as a few years before his death. Johnny Cash was not only one of our most popular country music singer, he was a person who overcame his drug addiction and lived his life without the haze of drugs. He is someone to be looked up to -- despite his faults. We all have them, but we don't have to pay for them forever. Johnny Cash is a prime example of that. Whitney Houston and Her Drug Addiction The movie and music industry is a tough business. No one knows that better than Whitney Houston. Drug addiction knows no boundaries as well. No one knows that better than Whiney Houston either. So many celebrities have come forward with their drug addiction problems with strength that many people are in awe of. Perhaps it's because of their celebrity or maybe it's just because they are being so honest with their fans and the public. It doesn't matter. Celebrity drug use is a given in the world they live in. Whitney Houston came upon fame rather quickly becoming a sweetheart of 1990's music. She was arrested in January of 2000 for possession of marijuana at an airport after two baggies of pot and three partially smoked joints were found in her luggage. When she married fellow songster Bobby Brown, it seemed her drug use became more intense. Whitney has been in and out of rehab repeatedly to overcome addictions to marijuana, cocaine, and assorted pills. But the good news is that she found help for her drug addiction. Life isn't always easy. Many of us want a way out of the crazy hustle and bustle. The easy way out is to use drugs. The drugs work on the mind making everyday problems seems trivial. Think about what it might be like for a celebrity like Whitney Houston whose everyday problems involve record contracts, the media, and huge money issues. It's not a wonder we're a drug addicted society. The most promising part of Whitney's addiction is that she realized that she had a drug problem and sought out help with that drug addiction. She entered a rehab facility as so many other celebrities have done and found ways to cope with not only the stressors of life, but also with the pull towards drugs that she was bound to feel. Just like Whitney Houston, you are not alone in your drug addiction. There are places you can go to seek help, and it doesn't have to be an expensive drug rehab center. Seek help from your community. Look for self-help organizations through a church, a therapist, or even in the telephone book. Sure, Whitney Houston has been through a lot with her drug addiction, but now she's on the road to recovery. You can be just like her. All it takes is a little honesty with yourself and a little bit of courage. Let the people who are out there to help you lead you along the way. You won't be sorry, just like Whitney isn't sorry either! Intervention and Drug Addiction When you have a friend or a family member who is struggling with drug addiction, often staging an intervention can be an effective way to help them face their addiction and get help. Intervention involves getting a variety of people together who have been affected by the user's addiction in a neutral location and telling the user how their addiction has affected their lives. Intervention isn't an easy process and it's certainly not an easy situation. It requires extensive planning and meeting prior to the actual day and knowing what you want to say and how you want to say it. If you are thinking about an intervention, you first need to get the help of a professional -- someone who is experienced in drug abuse and addiction and someone who can effectively moderate the intervention as it is going on. This professional can not only help the drug user but he or she can help you too as you deal with your feelings about the whole thing. You may initially be apprehensive and confused. You may be angry or hurt. You may be afraid that when you confront the user about their habits that they will hate you for it. Know that this is a real possibility -- at least at first. The whole idea behind an intervention is to let the user know that when they use drugs, their addiction affects more than just them. It affects those around them, and they need to know exactly how. There is no absolute right way to intervene in someone else's life. In fact, there is a school of thought that argues that any form of intervention is abhorrent, a violation of free speech and of an individual's right to choose. Nevertheless, as individuals and as a society we are always influencing others whether or not we want to, and sometimes we decide to intervene purposefully. A simple intervention is done when you want the person with the drug addiction to get help for their problem. A crisis intervention is done when there is a behavior or behaviors that have reached dangerous proportions like the threat of death, use of weapons, or being arrested. The point of crisis intervention is to step in, calm the crisis, and restore safety to all involved. In an intervention, all attention is focused on the person with the drug addiction. Participants are encouraged to be completely honest, even brutally honest, as they related how the addiction has caused them problems or concern. The atmosphere will be uncomfortable and even angry, but this will subside as the addict begins to realize their addiction is bigger than him or her. Intervention for drug addiction is the most loving, powerful and successful method yet for helping people accept help. A family intervention can be done with love and respect in a non-confrontational, non-judgmental manner. Drug addiction affects more than just the addict. A family intervention is often the answer, the only answer. It can be done. It can be done now. The Picture of Drug Addiction When you think of drug addiction, what kind of picture do you get in your mind? Do you see a person dressed in tattered clothes sitting in a rain soaked alley with needle in hand? Do you picture addiction in terms of a person begging on the street for money to buy just one more hit? The picture of drug addiction can be either of these images, but you might surprised to learn that there is another side of drug addiction you may never have thought of. Consider that the picture of drug addiction includes a man in a business suit sitting at a desk every day working a full-time job. He has a family, children, a dog, and a wife. To everyone else, he projects the picture of having it all. The only problem is, the pressure of life got to him and he looked for a way out. A colleague offered him some cocaine. He liked the way it made him feel. Now he juggles credit card advances to pay for his $100 a day habit. The picture of drug addiction could also be the popular cheerleader at your child's high school. She's blonde, beautiful, smart, and personable. But every morning, she takes a shot of vodka to stop the shakes. At lunch, she drinks a six-pack in her car, and at night, she's at all the parties drinking until someone has to bring her home because she's passed out. Finally, the picture of drug addiction could also be in the form of a bored housewife. She has three children, laundry, dishes, and many other responsibilities. She's tired all the time and sometimes just can't get out of bed because of her exhaustion. She saw something on television about housewives taking their child's Ritalin for energy. She decides to try it with her own 7-year old's medication. Now she has to make excuses to the pediatrician why her child has run out of medicine before he should have. Sure, we all picture a person with drug addiction as the homeless, down-on-their luck bum (so to speak) begging on the streets for money to buy drugs, but the cold reality is that drug addiction occurs in all walks of life to all types of people. Drug addiction has no boundaries and doesn't pick and choose its victims. The picture of drug addiction has changed over the years to include your neighbor, your child's teacher, and even possibly your clergy. No one is immune, but all can get help. If you notice drug addiction in someone you care about, have a talk with them and encourage them to get help for their problem. Maybe one day, the picture of drug addiction will be a blank canvas. Teenage Drug Addiction As prevalent as drug addiction is in our society, the most troublesome part is teenage drug addiction. Our children are being exposed to dangerous drugs at younger and younger ages. Plus, they are exposed through their family members as well. With drugs everywhere, it's hard to imagine how we can take steps to prevent teenage drug addiction and be successful at it. The most widely abused drugs among teenagers are marijuana and alcohol, although methamphetamine and heroin are also popular. Teens use drugs as a way to escape from the problems in their lives. They see it as an easy way out at least for as long as the drug lasts. Teenagers perceive even the smallest problems as insurmountable, so their tendency to use drugs is much higher than an adult's. They keep using to maintain their escapism eventually finding themselves addicted. If you suspect a teenage drug addiction in your family or in a friend, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that honest and open communication is the key to getting help for that teen. Your first instinct will probably be anger, but if you show that anger, the teen will retract and not hear anything that you are saying -- at least not consciously. Remain calm and sit down to have a heart-to-heart talk about teenage drug addiction and what it can do to a person's life. Point out the physical problems that drugs cause like heart problems, sleep disturbances, paranoia, and lethargy. Show them pictures of people who are addicted to drugs both before and after their addiction took hold. There are plenty of places you can go to get this information. Arm yourself with as much information as you can regarding teenage drug addiction. Present what you've learned to your teen in a way that speaks to them and is important to them. Try to look at the addiction from their point of view and encourage them to be honest with you about why they started using in the first place. You will also want to get some type of counseling for your teenager. This can be done at a local mental health facility. Often teens relate best when there are other teens to talk to. See if there is a peer counselor or peer group therapy available in your community. If not, maybe you could start one yourself! Teenage drug addiction is a problem that should not be ignored. They say that the children are our future, and we need to take care of our children. That means we must face drug addiction head on and not hide in a corner denying it is happening. Communicate with your teenager, listen to them, and get them the help they need. They deserve it and your family deserves it. Causes of Drug Addiction Treated by Narconon Narconon is a secular rehabilitation program that specializes in treating the causes of drug addiction along with the addiction itself. Narconon is based on the beliefs and writings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and looks at the causes of drug addiction from an addict's perspective so it can effectively treat the drug addiction. The treatment does not use any drugs of any type to ease the pain of withdrawal and provides drug rehabilitation, education, and prevention services. Much of Narconon's programs are presented in school classrooms using materials developed by the Narconon professionals. The materials are meant to supplement the school's existing drug prevention program. Proponents of the Narconon program claim a 70 percent success rate with combating drug addiction compared to a 30 percent rate in other rehabilitation programs. Hubbard created the program after doing extensive research and studies on drug addiction causes and how to combat the disease effectively without the use of drugs. The premise of the Narconon model states that addicts can resume normal, healthy, productive lives when they work with the skills they are given in the program. The program can be administered out-patient or at an in-patient Narconon sanctioned facility. Generally, the Narconon program takes four to six months to work effectively. Participants are said to be going "back to school" to become re-educated on drugs, the dangers of drug, drug addiction, and drug recovery. All of this is done without the benefit of pharmaceutical help. Like the Scientology religion, Narconon has its opponents who say that the information that is presented isn't always scientifically sound even if the program claims it is. They say that Narconon skews information so that it supports their conclusions and doesn't give the whole picture. Some see that as a form of brain washing and thus write off Narconon as a scam. Opponents also say that the educational materials given to schools don't take into account developmental abilities of the students they are trying to reach. The materials for elementary schools are basically the same as the materials for high schools. The materials are more scientific without providing explanations or definitions for presenters to help children with their comprehension of what is being presented. The causes of drug addiction are wide and varied and Narconon claims to address them fully through their program. Even if their information isn't as accurate as some would hope, they do have a certain amount of success with those who go through their classes. Because the causes of drug addiction are far-reaching, perhaps Narconon is an answer for those who need it. Drug Abuse and Addiction The words drug abuse and drug addiction are often used interchangeably, but in reality, there is a difference between abuse of a drug and addiction. Addiction does begin with drug abuse, but addiction is much more than a lot of drug use. It is much more than that. Drug abuse is basically the repeated or uncontrolled use of controlled substances. It can also be defined as the habitual misuse of a chemical substance. This definition includes the use of drugs for purposes other than what they were intended. In fact, drug abuse has a range of definitions, but all suggest disapproval at the use or overuse of a drug for non-therapeutic reasons. Drug addiction, on the other hand is when the body has an uncontrollable craving for a drug and absence of that drug in a person's system causes adverse effects such as insomnia, uncontrollable shaking, and nausea. Drugs interfere with the normal functioning of the brain making it altered to the point that functioning without the drug is virtually impossible. When a person is addicted to drugs, they continue to use the drug despite adverse health reactions and possible damage to their bodies. They disregard their personal health in favor of continuing the feeling that they get when they are on their drug of choice. Stopping usage is just not a viable option for them. This is when abuse becomes addiction and when it must be faced and addressed head on. Understanding drug abuse and addiction can help in preventing drug use to rise to problem proportions. When you know exactly what you are dealing with, it's a little easier to begin looking for treatment options. Whether you or a loved one is abusing drugs or are addicted to drugs, treatment needs to be sought as soon as possible to help ward off serious health implications. Treatment can have a profound effect on both the drug user, but also on society as a whole. Healing the addicts in our society improves social and psychological functioning and makes for a more peaceful community and world. In fact, drug abuse is the number one cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. It doesn't matter if we talk about cocaine, heroin, or alcohol, a drug is a drug and those drugs cause problems with the human body. It is preventable and education is the first step. Drug abuse and addiction are blights on society. Both have been around for years and years, but if we take the time to recognize not only the difference between the two, but also the signs and signals that indicate drug use, we can begin to heal ourselves both as individual people and as a society.
Recovery From Drug Addiction For people who are struggling with drug addiction, recovery seems like an impossible task. The drugs have taken hold of their lives in ways that they never thought was possible. They can't imagine their lives without drugs. But recovery from drug addiction, although very difficult, IS possible with some work and effort. The first step toward recovery from your drug addiction is admitting that a problem exists. This is often the hardest part. Take a good look at your life and your drug use. See how it has affected various part of your life. A good way to start doing this is by writing things down. Make categories such as "family", "money", "job", "school", etc. Once you have categories, start making lists as to how your drug use has affected each one. It's essential that you are brutally honest with yourself as you begin to go through the parts of your life and how your drug use has had implications on the various aspects of it. Once you realize you have a problem with drugs, recovery from that drug addiction can truly start. You need to tell your family and ask for their support. Be heartfelt and honest about your own realizations and ask them to share their own feelings about your drug use. When you have the support of your family, your recovery will go much easier. You will need to decide whether you are going to attempt your recovery on your own or with the help of a rehab clinic. If you decide to go it alone, it's essential that you find a qualified medical professional to help you with withdrawal symptoms as well as a therapist or counselor to help you with the emotions you are going to be feeling. Drugs are a huge part of your life if your use has progressed to addiction, and recovery from taking that out of your life is very emotional. It's like taking away your best friend, which isn't easy at all. When you have someone you can talk to about it and help you understand why you are feeling the way you are, it's an easier recovery. You may want to also find some type of 12 step program like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Here you will find others who are going through the same emotions and feelings that you are. Most people who are in 12 step programs report success during their recovery from addiction mainly because of the support they find from others. Recovery from drug addiction isn't an easy process. It's hard work and can be frustrating and lonely at times. But when you are committed to your recovery, you can successfully beat your drug addiction and really start living life again -- but this time, you'll be living healthy and drug free! Recognizing Drug Addiction Drug addiction has many faces. Recognizing the signs of drug addiction is the first part of getting on the road to recovery. How do you know what to look for in trying to recognize drug addiction? The signs can be pretty obvious when you are looking for them. A person with a drug addiction generally acts in an erratic manner and does things they normally wouldn't do. Their moods can be quite unpredictable alternating between bouts of exhilaration or agitation and then exhaustion and lethargy. They may have trouble sleeping or will "crash" and sleep for long periods of time. Drug addiction is often accompanied by depression, so look for a loss of interest in activities they used to find enjoyable and an abrupt drop in weight. They may hesitate to participate in gatherings or family events and begin distancing themselves from people they used to be close to. Eyes that are bloodshot or that have a dazed or expressionless look can be a sign of drug use and addiction. They may appear to be daydreaming and may have to be spoken to several times before they answer you. Drug addiction can also have some outward physical signs such as excessive sweating, flushed skin, or an unexplained rash. Inflamed nostrils or an excessively runny nose can indicate an addiction to an opiate such as cocaine. People who use methamphetamine -- or meth -- will have a sudden and dramatic loss of weight. They may lose their teeth and will most likely have open sores on their bodies. Recognizing drug addiction in yourself is a much harder process. Because most people don't want to admit that they have a problem, it's much more difficult to come to terms with an addiction problem. You may find that you have an intense, uncontrollable craving for a drug and feel like you can't function without it. You always make sure that you have an ample supply of your drug of choice and become frantic when your supply starts running low. You might find yourself doing things you wouldn't normally do when using the drug such as stealing or being promiscuous. Your drug addiction begins to take hold of your life and you see it spinning out of control with no way to stop. You try to stop using the drug but repeatedly fail causing you to use even more to combat the feelings of hopelessness. Recognizing drug addiction is important in so many ways. When addiction is present in your or someone you love's life, it can affect your relationship sometimes so badly it can never be recovered. That's why it's essential that the healing start once you begin to recognize how the addiction has taken hold. Once you see the signs, you can get help and become drug free! Drug Addiction in the Philippines With much of the focus on drug use in the United States, many people probably don't pay much attention to drug addiction in the Philippines. Why should we? Because it is an ever-increasing problem for the people of that country and they shouldn't be ignored. Drug addiction in the Philippines has increased at alarming rates since World War II. Sadly, the reasons why aren't clear cut. Most of the drug users in the Philippines are young people. Illicit drugs that are present include marijuana, LSD, opiates, and barbiturates. While there are no hard fast statistics available, it is estimated that as many as 60,000 young people in the Philippines are dealing with drug addiction. Within a period of ten years, the incidence of drug addiction rose dramatically according to studies done in this tiny country. The majority of drug users are students with marijuana being the drug of choice. Many people believe that this rise is attributable to simple curiosity, but more likely because Philippine youth are trying to emulate their Western counterparts here in the United States. Because so much attention is focused on drug addiction in America, the information is readily available in the Philippines as are the drugs. This has increased the demand for drugs thus pushing drug dealers to grow their own cannabis plants, which is illegal in the Philippines. There have been recent reports as well of drugs being manufactured in illegal laboratories. Local narcotics police have made several raids to try and curb this activity, but of course, to no avail. To meet the challenge of the drug abuse problem several measures, both private and governmental, are being taken. Violators of narcotic laws who make known to the authorities the fact of their addiction and their desire to be cured are referred to the Addiction Institute of the National Bureau of Investigation so that they may undergo treatment and rehabilitation. On another front, a new organization-the Narcotic Foundation of the Philippines-has recently been formed. This is a private association not related to Government institutions and treatment centers; its aims are to raise funds for the treatment and reorientation of young addicts, and to educate the public against the dangers of drug addiction. It is to be hoped that the efforts made by this newly-founded organization, along with the efforts of the Addiction Institute and other interested bodies, will help the country to eventually cope with the alarming growth in local drug abuse. Drug addiction in the Philippines is a growing problem, but it is one that the Philippine government is trying to tackle and take hold of. Just as in the United States, drug addiction is nothing to be taken lightly no matter where it happens -- here or in the Philippines. Books on Drug Addiction Drug addiction is the subject of many books that are out on the market today. When you have an epidemic that so many people suffer from like drug addiction, writers often make that epidemic the subject of their books in the hopes that they will be able to help people recover from their problems and leave their unhealthy life behind. Walk into any bookstore, go to the self-help section, and see how many books there are on drug addiction. For those who are struggling with addiction, it can be a soothing sight. If you have a loved one with addiction, it's a comfort as well to know that there are so many tools available for you to help your loved one beat their habits. A quick search on www.amazon.com for "drug addiction recovery" shows over 200 books available for sale. That's a huge selection to choose from! There are also a number of e-books available online that can be purchased and downloaded often for just a little bit of money. These e-books are often written by very qualified people who have researched the subject in-depth and brought together information from various sources. The advantage to buying an e-book is that you don't have to pore through several different websites to get information plus, you can usually download them any time of the day or night. How convenient is that? You don't necessarily have to buy a book on drug addiction. There is a wealth of information available at your public library as well. Most libraries will let you keep your book for an extended period of time as long as you continue to renew the check-out. What should you look for in a book on drug addiction? Actually, a lot! First, look at the author. Are they a medical professional or a therapist? Do they have the qualifications and credibility to write a book on drug addiction? Is the book organized well and easy to read? Does it have chapters that apply to your particular situation? When you look over the index, see if anything interests you or looks like it's something you have never thought about when it comes to drug addiction. Of course, price has got to be a big factor when you are choosing a book on drug addiction. Will you be getting the information you need for the money you will be spending? Most books will be priced in the $20 -- $40 range at the bookstore. E-books are generally much cheaper, so keep that in mind when making your selection. If you are dealing with a drug addiction or have a loved one with a drug addiction, books can be great resources for getting help with the problem. Being pro-active when it comes to the situation you are in makes recovery from drug addiction a slightly easier road to travel. When you are armed with information, you'll have the tools you need! Drug Addiction Statistics Some people don't like being quoted statistics. But when we speak of statistics on drug addiction, the numbers are actually important. These numbers can help us identify problem areas with drug addictions and help us better understand what exactly is going on with drug addiction in the country. For example, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States according to a 2005 survey. Over seventy-six percent of the population reported using marijuana in that year's time. An estimated 15.9 million Americans aged twelve or older reported using illicit drug in the month prior to the 2005 survey. That statistic represents 7.1 percent of the population 12 or older. This is an increase of almost 8 percent from the previous year. Drug addiction statistics can be a little bit scary as well. Consider that in 2003, there were nearly 20,000 deaths directly attributed to drug use both legal and illegal. Of those deaths, about 3 percent were to people 21 years of age and under. In the year 2001 alone, use of the club drug Ecstasy increased by 58 percent from the previous year. This statistic was calculated by the amount of people who were admitted to a hospital emergency room with Ecstasy overdoses. Statistics on rehabilitation center admissions also paint a sad picture of drug addiction. In 2006, there were over 175,000 people who checked themselves into a rehab facility. It is estimated that 5 percent of those people returned to using drugs after they were released. Methamphetamine use is on the rise as well. In 2006, a whopping 15 percent of the population reported using meth as their primary illicit drug. This can be attributed to the fact that meth is easy to make with common household items and produces a significant high for the user that cannot be obtained by using any other drug. Perhaps the scariest statistics on drug addiction are the ones that involve our youth. A significant percentage of young people report having been introduced to one type of drug or another on a regular basis by the age of 13. Nearly fifty percent of those children will try drugs by that age, and 20 percent will become addicted before graduating from high school. It can be a big, bad world out there -- for adults and children alike. We may sincerely want to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to drug abuse and addiction, but we can't. When presented with statistics on drug addiction, there's really no way we can ignore the fact that there's a problem in this country -- a serious problem -- with drugs. Celebrity Drug Addiction Drug addiction knows no boundaries and doesn't pick or choose who it will affect. Celebrity drug addiction is commonplace today in the business, and it is just spotlighted more because of the high profiles of today's celebrities. It's not uncommon to hear about another celebrity entering rehab for drug addiction. The list can read like a Who's Who of Hollywood. Big names like Whitney Houston, Keith Urban, Charlie Sheen, Robert Downey, Jr., and Drew Barrymore, to name just a few, have all been through drug rehabilitation for their addictions, and the list is much longer than that! Why do so many celebrities fall prey to the perils of drug addiction? Just like people who are not in the limelight, celebrities deal with different stresses in their lives. The difference is that their stresses are much larger in general than everyday people. They have to deal with paparazzi, managers, critics, the media, and every word they say is noted and commented on. There is a lot of insecurity in the world of fame and fortune. When celebrities feel that insecurity so strongly, they look for a way out, an escape from their problem -- that escape is often drugs. That's not even taking into consideration the price that comes with sudden fame. When celebrities go from being everyday people to being thrust into the spotlight, they often have trouble adjusting. Leading a private life doesn't become an option as their every move is followed and their rises and falls are noted sometimes with scorn from fans. There's something that goes along with celebrity in that many stars feel as if they're almost immune to the possibility of becoming addicted to drugs. It's a matter of having so much money, they figure, "Why not, I won't get addicted". Being a celebrity is a hugely stressful profession and actually, they are more prone to drug addiction because of that stress. Celebrity drug addiction is really no different from non-celebrity drug addiction. It is just as serious and just as difficult to quit. That is why so many celebrities are seeking out rehab facilities in an attempt to kick their habit for good. Places like Promises and The Betty Ford Clinic are brimming with celebrity patients seeking to overcome their drug addiction. The good news is that with celebrity drug addiction becoming so well-known, more people are less afraid to seek out treatment for their own addictions. They realize that if the people they look up to -- celebrities -- can fall victim to drug addiction, so can they. And if those same people are strong enough to be treated for that drug addiction, they can be strong as well. Drug Addiction Help When you or a loved one is suffering from a powerful drug addiction, the possibility of getting help and actually being able to stop using drugs might seem out of reach. Many people with drug addictions truly believe that they are stuck in the cycle of use and abuse. They know that help is out there for drug addiction, but feel other people deserve that help, not them. The truth is there is a reason why there are so many organizations and facilities that help people with drug addiction. That's because these places truly believe that everyone who has a drug addiction deserves help. Alcoholics Anonymous was started because its founder wanted to help other people become free of the hold alcohol has on their lives. Many rehab facilities were opened for the same reason. To get help for drug addiction, start with local resources. Talk with your doctor. If you don't have a doctor, find one. They are going to be your best first contact when it comes to battling and eventually overcoming drug addiction. In nearly every telephone book in the country, there are drug abuse hotlines that you can call to get help. These are staffed by sympathetic volunteers who can guide you to the help you are looking for. Plus, you'll stay anonymous and be able to talk freely. Talk with your family about your drug addiction. They will be your support system as you travel down the road toward sobriety. Having their support will be instrumental in making a full recovery. They can also help you find a facility or program that will fit your specific needs in overcoming drug addiction. There is a lot of great self-help information on the Internet in the form of articles and books. You can also research rehab facilities online. There is really a lot of difference between treatment centers, so if you are considering this route for your recovery, find one that fits your particular needs. If you think you have a possible drug addiction, it is so important to seek out help -- both for your sake as well as that of your loved ones. Drug addiction doesn't have to be a way of life. It is possible to stop the cycle of use and abuse and live a full, healthy life. When you seek out help for drug addiction, you are doing a very brave thing, but more importantly, you are taking control of your life instead of letting the drugs take control of you! Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Many people don't really consider alcohol a drug. After all, it is legal to drink -- as long as you're of age. But the real truth is that alcoholism is a form of drug addiction just as serious and harmful as addiction to other drugs. Because alcohol is legal to drink, many people just think of alcohol as another beverage. Drug addiction is defined as an uncontrollable craving for a substance that a person feels they must have in order to live. Alcoholism is defined in much the same way. When a person has an addiction to alcohol, they can't see their life without drinks in it. The presence of alcohol has become a "given" and they are not willing to give that crutch up without a fight. The cold harsh reality is that people with alcoholism are drug addicts plain and simple. Alcoholism causes a person to think that they cannot live without the "buzz" that alcohol gives them. Alcohol has been classified as a drug by the Food and Drug Administration, so a person with alcoholism does suffer from a drug addiction. The good news is that there is help for people who are suffering. Perhaps the most well-known organization that helps people with alcoholism is Alcoholics Anonymous. This is a private group that meets several times a week and centers on twelve steps of recovery. Making it through the twelve steps leads to a full recovery from alcohol addiction although it is still a struggle to stay sober. People who have a drug addiction to substances such as heroin and cocaine suffer from withdrawal symptoms. People with alcoholism do too. The far-reaching effects of drug addiction and alcoholism can stay with a person for years making it obvious that the similarities between the two evident. When you decide to seek out help for your alcoholism, it's important that you acknowledge the fact that you are also suffering from an addiction to a powerful drug. Once you face that fact, you can really start on the road to recovery. Alcoholism is a serious disease just as drug addiction is. While you may not think that being addicted to alcohol is as serious as being addicted to heroin, it can still affect your body in ways you never even thought of. Do a little research and pay attention to what the experts say about your problem. If you think you have an addiction to the drug that causes alcoholism -- alcohol -- it's important that you seek help as soon as you can. You deserve to be healthy and live a long, clean life. The time to start is now. Drug Addiction and Therapy There's no doubt about it that people who are struggling with drug addiction can benefit greatly from therapy. When the drugs have taken control, it's a powerful force that needs to be attacked from all sides. You can't just deal with the physical symptoms of drug addiction; you need to address the psychological effects as well. That's why drug addiction and therapy go completely together. When you seek therapy for your drug addiction problem, you are being pro-active when it comes to getting on the road to recovery. You will need someone to talk to as you try to get sober. What better person than a trained professional who can guide you down the rights paths as you make your journey? Therapy can take many forms. You can participate in group therapy which involves sitting down with others who are also struggling with drug addiction. The advantage to group therapy is that there are people surrounding you who are thinking and feeling much of the same things that you are. You are able to talk with them about their own coping strategies and perhaps even share your own. Individualized therapy for drug addiction is also a helpful avenue to explore. You speak one-on-one with a trained counselor who will listen to your concerns and then advise you on coping strategies. The advantage to individual therapy is that you can voice your personal concerns and they are addressed specifically toward you. Some people find drug addiction therapy daunting and scary, but it truly is an effective way to overcome the pain that goes with becoming drug-free. The drugs have taken hold of not only your body, but your mind as well. You are just a person and can't be expected to just go it alone. That's why using therapy to overcome your drug addiction is so important. Counseling and other behavioral therapies are critical components of drug recovery. No one treatment is appropriate for everyone. That's why you need to do a little research and find the treatment that is good for you -- the individual! Drug addiction and therapy truly go together. You can't expect to overcome one without the other. And why would you want to? You are starting a huge undertaking and going it alone is a recipe for disaster. If you have a drug addiction, look into therapy and heal thyself -- with the help of your therapist, of course! Teen Drug Addiction It's no secret that drug addiction is a powerful disease, but when teens become addicted to drugs, it's much more serious. Drugs affect a teen's body in different ways. Plus when teens are dealing with drug addiction, it's much more difficult to maintain a clean and sober lifestyle as they get older. Kids are being exposed to drugs at an increasingly younger age. Studies show that by the time children get into 8th grade, nearly 35 percent have at least tried drugs. The number of teens who become addicted to drugs is at 20 percent: and that's way too many! Teens are more prone to drug addiction because of life circumstances. Many teen get overwhelmed at the everyday struggles of life. Many teens have low self-esteem, anxiety, an inability to express feelings, and lack of control over their lives. All of these contribute greatly to drug use and eventually drug addiction. Drugs kill the pain of an ordinary, mundane life. They destroy physical and emotional pain by changing the addict's perception of reality. Drugs make the addict numb to the pain, hopelessness, or loneliness that they feel their life has become. Do you suspect your teen has a drug addiction? Some of the more common signs of drug addiction in teens include: * Dramatic changes in behavior * Dull, glassy eyes * Excessive tiredness * Failing in school * Lying or stealing * Isolation or loss of interest in activities What do you do when you suspect your teen is struggling with a drug addiction? First, trust your instincts. If you feel there is a problem, there probably is. Find a safe time when you can talk freely with your teen and be honest with them about your concerns. Try to be open-minded about what they are telling you and be sympathetic to their perception of their problems. Tell your teen what you are feeling about their drug addiction. You are probably worried, scared, and frightened about what might happen to them. Try not to be judgmental or angry: this will only cause them to shut down. You can also talk about personal observations or experience you have with drugs. While you may be hesitant to do this, it will make you more human in your teen's eyes. Often, those closest to your teen -- meaning you -- find it easy to deny that their teen has a drug problem. When it comes to teen drug addiction, you can't do this. It's important that you get them help as soon as possible. Don't give up and try not to be discouraged if your initial attempts fail. Eventually, you'll get through and then you and your teen can start fighting drug addiction together. Symptoms of Drug Addiction The symptoms of drug addiction can often be masked by other problems in a person's life. Drug use becomes an addiction when a person has a compulsive need to use drugs without care or regard for the consequences that might arise either physically or emotionally. There are plenty of signs and symptoms to look for to tell if you or someone you love has a drug addiction. Probably first on the list would be the inability to resist taking the drug. People who are addicted to drugs can't imagine functioning in life without the help of their drug of choice. They go to great lengths to obtain the drug and use it on a regular basis often over-indulging at times. Addicts begin to lose interest in things that they used to like to do. Their whole life is dictated by when and where they can "get a fix". They put aside hobbies, families, even work and school. Nothing else is as important as using their drug of choice. A drug addiction can be shown in a person's mood. Are they often either really "up" or really "down"? Mood swings are common with drug addiction as are angry outbursts and irrational behavior. People with a drug addiction will find themselves doing things they normally wouldn't do without the drug. Physically, the ravages of drug addiction will show in the body. They may experience a sudden weight loss and appear gaunt or pale to others. They neglect to groom themselves such as not showering on a regular basis or taking the time to comb their hair. They may have physical sores on their body and their eyes may appear dull and listless with a faraway look most of the time. By the time addiction has taken hold of a person, the body has become used to having the drug in its system. It builds up a tolerance thus the addict will need to take more of the drug in order to achieve the same effect it had before. They may start engaging in secretive or suspicious behavior such as retreating during gatherings or making frequent, unnecessary trips just to be alone. They can also become emotionally distant from those they were previously close to. This alienation makes it easier for them to use drugs without judgment from those around them. Depression often accompanies drug addiction, so look for signs of hopelessness, negative talk, and withdrawing from all activity. Sudden changes in work or school performance can also be a sign of addiction. They may feel exhausted and not want to get out bed sleeping for long periods of time. Drug addiction is a serious disease, so if you see these symptoms in yourself or someone you love, seek treatment. The healing has to begin somewhere, and when the symptoms arise, the time to get help is now! Information on Drug Addiction If you suspect a loved one of having a drug problem, where do you go to find information? Information on drug addiction can be found in a variety of places. Even if you are the one with the addiction -- when you have as much information as possible about this disease, you will be better equipped to deal with it and overcome it. First and foremost, start with the Internet. There is so much information on the worldwide web; you can even get a little bit overwhelmed. However, it's usually better to have too much information rather than not enough. Do a quick search on your favorite search engine for "drug addiction" and then spend some time reading through the websites you are given. Look for books on the subject of drug addiction. Books contain a lot of relevant information that can help when addiction is part of your life. There are even some great downloadable e-books on the Internet that can give you instant information about the disease of drug addiction. Go to your local library and see what resources they have available. Libraries offer more than books these days. They have access to documentaries, pamphlets, and magazines regarding drug addiction and recovery. They also often can provide more extensive information regarding specific drug addictions like alcoholism or methamphetamine use. Check with your local police department. Most cities have police personnel who are specifically in charge of drug information in the schools such as the D.A.R.E. program. They are always very eager to share information with you about drug addiction in hopes that spreading the word will help curb the problem. Talk to a doctor about drug addiction whether it's you who has the problem or someone you love. Physicians have much of the latest information regarding drug addiction and dependence. If, for some strange reason, they don't, they will be able to direct you to someone or someplace who has the information you are looking for. Many churches also have extensive information regarding drug addiction -- especially if those churches host 12 step programs. Talk to the clergy person who presides over the church and ask their advice. Even though they are religious people, they are not blind to the problems of society and often have some very pertinent advice to offer regarding drug addiction and recovery. When you are dealing with a drug addiction -- yours or another person's -- having all the information you can get can make the difference between a successful recovery and one that is fraught with obstacles and blockages. Helping a Loved One Recover From Alcohol Addiction When you see someone you love struggling with an addiction to alcohol, helping them recover can be a touchy situation. Seeing a loved one suffer with alcohol addiction can be painful for both you and them, but recovery is not only possible, but within reach as long as you're willing to help them along the way. Believe it or not, alcohol is a very powerful drug. While it suppresses the central nervous system, it also makes people feel very relaxed which can lead to some pretty erratic behavior. Look for the following signs in a loved one that may indicate they have an addiction to alcohol: * Excessive pre-occupation with liquor * Avoiding activities because they are drunk * Not wanting to participate in functions that don't have alcohol available * Sneaking away for long periods of time and then returning with glazed eyes or erratic behavior * Slurred words * Excessively blood shot eyes * Drinking large amounts of alcohol just so they can get the same feelings Many people who have an addiction to alcohol will deny they have a problem. As a person who loves them, it's up to you to help them realize that their drinking is affecting not only their life and their health but that of those around them. An intervention might be necessary to help your loved one realize that they are addicted to alcohol. Helping a loved one recover from alcohol addiction is a tall order -- even for the most experienced person. It takes a lot of strength and a lot of persistence to help your loved one realize that they actually need the help you are offering. Recovery is a difficult process, but it can be made easier with the support and caring that can be supplied by family and friends. When you are sincere in your effort to help, your loved one has the best chance of recovering from their addiction to alcohol. Often, people with addictions feel alone and unloved. Showing your support can make all the difference in a full recovery. Your loved one's addiction to alcohol did not happen overnight. That means that recovery won't happen overnight either. It takes time, love, understanding, and support. The fact that you have concerns about this person you care about is a huge step forward for them and for you. Once they know they have your unconditional support, they are more likely to step forward and seek recovery. Helping a loved one recover from alcohol addiction can be a painful process. When you have a sincere desire to help them heal, you will become an integral part of their recovery process. Everyone needs support at some time in their life. There's never been a better time to offer up YOUR support than helping them recover from an addiction to alcohol! Drug Addiction Articles Many articles have been written about drug addiction. This is definitely a plus if you are looking for information about drug addiction and ways to overcome this problem. A quick Internet search reveals over four million articles in the archives about drug addiction. Why are there so many? Well, because drug addiction is a very real problem in our country affecting millions and millions of people. We are desperate to find information to help ourselves or our loved ones with an addiction problem and these articles are great sources of facts, figures, and helpful tips to help beat addiction. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are looking for drug addiction information through articles you find on the Internet. First, look at the author. Who are they? What makes them qualified to write an article on drug addiction? Are they credible and reliable? See if the author quotes specific sources. There is a lot of false information on the Web, and the last thing you need is to get hold of erroneous data. This is especially true if you are looking for self-help ways to heal yourself or others. Does the article provide real information or is it just "fluff" so to speak. Many writers will use filler words to make their articles look longer and they're really not presenting you with any new information. Scan the article quickly and see if it's something that would pertain to you and your specific situation. Are there any statistics in the article? Data is readily available on drug addiction as studies are constantly being conducted so that we can better understand the problem and find ways to combat addiction. The use of statistics in an article is great, but be sure to look at the date the numbers were compiled. In 2007, a study that was done in 2000 probably will not present reliable information that can help you. You will want to find a reliable article that can direct you toward finding more information than what is presented there in 500 words or so. Does the article send you to a specific drug addiction website for more information or do they just present the information and that's that? For example, if you are reading an article about how to find a drug addiction treatment facility, does the article state any specific facilities that you can look at or do they remain unbiased and not mention anywhere? This is good and bad because you may be looking for a specific name of a clinic but are left on your own to find one. On the other hand, you don't want to get information from a one-sided source -- meaning someone who has an affiliation with a specific facility. Then you are only getting part of the picture, and that part may not be right for you. Drug addiction articles abound, and they can all be helpful. If you keep in mind these simple tips, you'll be able to get the information you are looking for when reading that article. Drug Addiction Facts The facts about drug addiction can be scary. They can be intimidating, and they can be all too real for those who are dealing with a drug addiction. Drug addiction is actually quite a complex disease that affects a person both physically and psychologically. Drug addiction is characterized by an uncontrollable craving for a drug and the inability to keep from using that drug. Whether your drug of choice is marijuana, nicotine, alcohol, or something stronger like heroin or cocaine, it takes control of your life making it impossible for you to live without it. The fact is that you have a physical dependence on the drug and when it is taken away from you -- meaning if you don't use it -- the physical implications become too much to bear. Addicts are beset with uncontrollable shaking, hallucinations, sleeping problems, and even heart arrhythmia when they don't use drugs. Drugs affect the way our brain works. It takes hold of portions of the central nervous system and the effects of the drugs you use are shown in the way you act and think. They also affect the chemicals in your brain and how they work to regulate your brain activity. This is why drug use and addiction has such a strong hold on the user. Drug addiction is also characterized by compulsive behaviors such as promiscuity, stealing, and acting in ways you wouldn't normally without the drug. In fact, most drug addicts will do whatever they have to do to get their drugs, even if it means acting in ways that are less than desirable. Another fact of drug addiction is that there are certain people who are more prone to becoming an addict. These include people who are children of drug abusers or users, people with low self-esteem, and people who feel they have no control over their lives. Unfortunately, once individuals with these pre-existing factors begin using drugs, those drugs become part of who they are and they are almost powerless to stop. Social circumstances also play a huge part in addiction. Casual drug use often begins in social situations like clubs or parties. Then it spills over into private life and the user will find themselves using when they're not in these situations. Eventually, they find they are addicted and cannot live without that drug. Drug addiction knows no boundaries and doesn't pick and choose its victims. All walks of life are affected from the rich to the poor and everyone in between. Well-known celebrities and everyday Joes can fall prey to its stronghold that drugs can put on their lives. That's why it's so important to learn as much as you can about drug use and addiction and stop the problem before it starts. The facts about drug addiction are vast and widespread. But the cold hard fact is that it is an epidemic that is spreading and growing. Drug addiction is a blight on society, and it needs to be conquered. If we want to win the "war" on drugs and minimize its impact on our lives, we first need to get the facts -- the facts about drug addiction. You've gotten a good start by reading this article! Drug Addiction and Drug Abuse People use drugs for a variety of reasons -- mostly, though, to numb the pain of everyday life so they don't have to face it. Eventually drug use turns to drug abuse and finally to drug addiction. Most people use the two terms interchangeably, but the truth is there is a difference between drug abuse and drug addiction. Drug abuse is the use of illegal drugs or the inappropriate use of legal drugs. People who abuse drugs are using them to obtain a specific feeling -- a "high" -- that they can't get from other substances. Often drug abuse is recreational with the drugs being used to loosen a person up and make them feel like they fit in with the crowd. Drug addiction, on the other hand, is the uncontrollable use of drugs and the inability to stop using drugs in spite of health or social consequences. People with a drug addiction are physically and emotionally unable to stop using drugs. Their bodies have become used to having the drug in the system, and stopping the drug use brings about often painful physical and psychological symptoms. Drug addiction does begin with drug abuse when an individual makes a conscious choice to use drugs, but addiction is not just "a lot of drug use." Recent scientific research provides overwhelming evidence that not only do drugs interfere with normal brain functioning creating powerful feelings of pleasure, but they also have long-term effects on brain metabolism and activity. At some point, changes occur in the brain that can turn drug abuse into addiction, a chronic, relapsing illness. Those addicted to drugs suffer from a compulsive drug craving and usage and cannot quit by themselves. Treatment is necessary to end this compulsive behavior. Many people view drug abuse and addiction as strictly a social problem. Parents, teens, older adults, and other members of the community tend to characterize people who take drugs as morally weak or as having criminal tendencies. They believe that drug abusers and addicts should be able to stop taking drugs if they are willing to change their behavior. This just isn't true. People from all walks of life abuse drugs and become addicted. We can start combating these problems if we educate ourselves and each other about drug abuse and drug addiction. It is an ever-growing epidemic that doesn't have to take hold of people or society. Drug abuse and drug addiction can be stopped, but only if we start with education. Signs of Drug Addiction Drug addiction is an insidious disease that takes over a person's life and clouds their world in a fog of problems and struggles. The signs of drug addiction are many and varied depending on what type of drug is being abused. Different drugs affect people in different ways. For example, marijuana may make a person appear spaced out and distant while amphetamines will appear hyper and upbeat. Some people are more prone to addiction as some drugs are more likely to bring about an addiction than others. If you have been using drugs and are concerned that you may have an addiction, look for the following signs: * An increase or decrease in appetite, changes in eating habits, or a sudden weight loss * Changes in personality with no other identifiable cause * Loss of interest in activities you used to find enjoyable * Difficult in paying attention or forgetfulness * Lack of motivation and energy * Fitful sleep * Paranoia * Trouble with managing money * Inability to stop using your drug of choice * Excessive pre-occupation with your drug supply * Doing things you normally wouldn't do if not on the drug * Use of drugs despite health problems or warnings * Change in personal grooming habits like showering and changing clothes The signs of drug addiction in others are similar to those listed above. You can also look for the following indicators as well: * Smell of substance on clothes (e.g. marijuana, chemicals) * Sudden need for privacy * Violent temper or bizarre behavior * Secretive or suspicious behavior * Defensiveness or excessive laziness * Unusual effort to cover up legs and arms * Unexplained silliness or giddiness * Drop in school or work performance * Changes in friends * Extreme hyperactivity or excessive talktativeness If you notice any of these signs, a drug addiction could very well be present. It's important that these signs are not ignored and that help is sought for either you or a loved one. The longer a drug addiction lasts, the more damage it can do to the mind and body, so getting help for the addiction is the best course of action. It's certainly easier to simply ignore any possibility that a drug addiction exists, but when you see the signs, it should become clear that there is a problem. Once the problem is identified, it can effectively be tackled and overcome -- with the right treatment. Looks for the signs of drug addiction and then face the problem. It's the only way you can win the fight! Rehabilitation for Drug Addiction When we talk about rehabilitation for drug addiction, we generally are speaking of in-patient rehabilitation facilities. These are otherwise known as rehab clinics. Because the physical withdrawal symptoms of drug addiction can be so severe, undergoing withdrawal in a rehabilitation facility is the best choice -- especially for those with a severe problem. There are many, many rehabilitation clinics all over the country, and choosing the right one is an important decision. At one time, rehab centers were cold, dark places usually in a hospital that provided little comfort for the mind of its patients. Today, rehabilitation facilities are often located in beautiful, pastoral settings in buildings filled with sunshine and plants that make residents feel calmer and serene. For a person with a severe drug addiction, rehabilitation clinics must provide them with the services they will need to successfully recover from their drug use. This includes having group therapy, exercise programs, nutrition classes, and individualized therapy. Rehabilitation center treat drug addiction from not only a psychical standpoint but also from a psychological one. When choosing a rehab facility for drug addiction, you will be best off picking one that is medically based. There are several out there that are faith based, but if they have medical credentials, they are better equipped to handle the painful physical symptoms of drug detoxification as well as the emotional turmoil that comes with recovery. You may also want to ask the facility to what extent is family involved in the recovery process. With the person with the addiction will have plenty of support inside the facility, they will eventually be coming back into the "real" world and family support is essential to prevent relapse. If the rehabilitation clinic involves the family a quite deal, the person with the addiction has a better chance for complete recovery. Rehabilitation centers that focus on drug addiction operate as a community. Residents are often given the chance to offer input as to how the community will operate. It's almost like a small town operating independently of the outside area. Recovering from drug addiction isn't easy. In fact, it's very difficult to do on your own. That's why a rehabilitation center is such a good choice when dealing with drug addiction. It doesn't matter if your addiction is to cocaine, alcohol, or methamphetamine, when you go to a rehab clinic, you are treated with respect and care with the focus being on making you drug free. If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug addiction, a rehabilitation facility is a viable option to recovery. These rehab centers know what you are dealing with when it comes to addiction and you will be around others who share your pain. Choose your rehabilitation center with care, and watch your drug addiction disappear -- over time, of course! Drug Addiction Disease Drug addiction is a disease. There's no doubt about that. In fact experts say that drug addiction is more of a brain disease than anything else. Scientific advances have offered amazing insights into how the brain works and what drugs do to the way the brain functions. Luckily, however, this disease is treatable and curable. Although drug use initially is voluntary once an addiction develops, that control is markedly changed. Imaging studies have shown specific abnormalities in the brains of some, but not all, addicted individuals. While scientific advancements in the understanding of addiction have occurred at unprecedented speed in recent years, unanswered questions remain that highlight the need for further research to better define the neurobiological processes involved in addiction. Recent studies have increased our knowledge of how drugs affect gene expression and brain circuitry, and how these factors affect human behavior. They have shed new light on the relationship between drug abuse and mental illness, and the roles played by heredity, age, and other factors in increased vulnerability to addiction. New knowledge from future research will guide new strategies and change the way clinicians approach the prevention and treatment of addiction. When we approach drug addiction as a disease instead of as a choice, the treatment options are greatly increased. We can research what areas of the brain are affected and find the best methods to address that affliction specifically. Doctors treat cancer, diabetes, and other disease like this, drug addiction should be no different. Viewing drug addiction as a disease can also help researchers delve further into genetic propensity to drug use and addiction. That means we will know whether or not drug and alcohol use is linked to our family history and will be able to tackle the problem before it actually becomes a problem. There are medications available to treat withdrawal symptoms when a person stops using drugs, but when drug addiction is researched as a disease, scientists will be able to come up with new medications that could actually prevent drug use from becoming an addiction. Similar to medications that make alcoholics sick when they drink. There are all sorts of diseases in the world. There's no doubt about it that drug addiction is one of them. We need to start looking at it in that way and then taking the appropriate steps to treat drug addiction just as we would another disease like cancer or Alzheimer's. Drug Addiction Support Groups When you are suffering from a drug addiction, finding a support group is so important to your recovery. Support groups can give you new insight into your addiction, but more importantly, they can provide you with strength and courage to go ahead and beat your addiction. What types of support groups are out there? There are many. Alcoholics Anonymous has been the foundation for many offshoots that deal with all sorts of addiction problems. Narcotics Anonymous deals with people who have addictions to narcotic drugs, Al-Anon helps family members who are trying to cope with a loved one who has an addiction, and there are many more. Many churches offer faith-based support groups that deal with addictions of all types. You don't necessarily have to be a member of that particular church to attend their support group either. All you have to do is ask to join. Faith-based support groups are generally very accepting of non-members, and when you ask for their help, they are usually there to welcome you with open arms. Drug addiction is a difficult vice to overcome. When you have the help of a therapist or counselor, you will be better off. Ask your counselor if he or she can recommend an appropriate support group for you to attend. They usually have all the information you'll need to guide you toward one that is right for you. Hospitals also will offer support groups for drug addiction. Contact the administrator and ask about what they have to offer and whether or not their groups are ones that could help you on the road to recovery. Don't discount online support groups that address drug addiction. When you do a simple Internet search, you will find all sorts of places that offer online support for your addiction. These groups will have chat times where you can discuss the problems you are having and often also have message boards where you can post questions and concerns. When looking for a support group to treat your drug addiction, you should find one that makes you feel comfortable. Try to find one that has members around your own age. It's often easier to talk to people who are your peers -- that means age appropriate peers. If you are a teen struggling with drug addiction, it's generally not a good idea to be in a support group with mostly middle-aged people. Finding a support group for your drug addiction is such a huge component of your recovery, it should not be overlooked. Look around and pick the right one for you. And know that you're not alone in your addiction -- or your recovery! The Psychiatric Aspect of Drug Addiction There is a reason people become addicted to drugs. The psychiatric aspect of addiction to drugs can be very powerful. Our minds are very complex and the thoughts we have can become rulers in our lives. Because we are these complex beings with the capabilities of thinking and reasoning, we often discount the mind as just a small part of who we are. Nothing could be further from the truth. The psychiatric implications of drug use are ever prevalent and can wreak havoc in the lives of someone with an addiction to drugs. What exactly are we talking about? The psychiatric aspects of the mind and how our mind can control our lives is something mental professionals have known about for awhile now. It's time you learned yourself. For example, if you are the child of an addict -- whether it be a pot-head parent or an alcoholic parent, your mind begins to justify your own marijuana use or alcohol use as being alright. After all, if your parents are doing it, it can't be all bad for you -- right? Well, that's what your mindset becomes. Drugs also have an effect on the brain. It's a proven, scientific fact that addiction is a brain problem and the American Psychiatric Association has proven this. When you start using drugs, your brain gets used to having that drug around. When it's not present, your mind starts "talking" to you and you believe what it says -- that you must have that drug to function. What can you do to try and beat the psychiatric implications of drug addiction? The best answer to that question is to get some help. That means talking to a counselor or health professional about your addiction and asking ways that you can overcome your addiction. There are many programs available to people who are dealing with drug addiction. They treat both the mind and the body, because you will be going through some withdrawal symptoms when you decide to stop doing drugs. With professional help, you will be able to successfully conquer the hold that drug addiction has on you, your life, and your mind. You don't necessarily have to enter a rehab facility, but when you contact a psychiatrist or psychologist seeking help for your addictions, you will find that beating that demon will become much, much easier. Rehab facilities can be expensive and so can psychiatrists, but once you realize that you will need outside help to beat your addiction, you will be better able to get on your way to a drug-free life. Cops Bust Drug Ring You can hear it or see it in the news all the time. When cops bust up a drug ring, they are often hailed as heroes -- and they pretty much are. Drug rings are sophisticated networks of drug dealers who distribute drugs in a widespread area. They begin with one person responsible for importing or manufacturing drugs. Those drugs are given to a second level person who distributes to individual dealers who sell the drugs on the street. The people who run these drug rings are living a lavish lifestyle and profiting off the drugs that they peddle. Some of the biggest drug ring busts we hear about occur along the coastlines where smugglers will bring over large quantities of drugs from places like Columbia or Costa Rica. But cops bust drug rings all the time right here in the United States. A quick "Google" search shows all sorts of news stories about how police have busted up drug rings in American cities. These busts usually involve intense surveillance and take quite a bit of time in order to build a case against the dealers. Drug rings are located all over the United States, Canada, and also in foreign countries. You see, drugs are big business, so when these dealers find a way to increase their traffic and make more money, that's when they begin to form a drug ring. When cops go to bust a drug ring, they have spent a lot of time building a case against the people involved. Drug kingpins who run drug rings find out quite quickly that a bust is a very "expensive" endeavor. By "expensive", we mean all assets acquired by the leader will be seized if cops suspect those assets were bought with drug money. Bank accounts are frozen, and personal property is gathered as the case against the leader gets stronger. When cops bust a drug ring, the people who are arrested face a pretty hefty sentence as well. These vary from state to state and from country to country of course, but in general, sentences can run anywhere from 10 years to life in a penitentiary. They also face hefty fine and their families are inevitably affected. Busting drug rings is a high priority for not only our federal government, but also for state and local municipalities. It's essential for controlling the effects that drugs have on our society. When cops bust more drug rings, that's one less chance that drugs will be available for sale and consumption -- and then we can begin winning the war on drugs! Drug Addiction Rehab Have you ever thought about what drug addiction rehab really means? The words are thrown around in the media, in government, and in our schools, but what exactly is rehab for drug addiction? In its simplest form, drug addiction rehab means quitting drugs and learning how to live a drug-free life. However, it's much, much more than just quitting drugs. Various drugs have different effects on the body and mind just as certain people are prone to addiction to certain drugs. Treatment can vary according to which drug is involved as well. Drug addiction rehab can take the form of behavioral, or cognitive, therapy, medication, or a combination of both. It depends on a lot of factors that will determine which treatment will work best. Behavioral therapy offers addicts strategies to coping with their drug cravings. It teaches them ways to avoid drugs and prevent relapse. This type of therapy also teaches them how to deal with relapse should it occur. When a person's drug-related behavior places him or her at higher risk for AIDS or other infectious diseases, behavioral therapies can help to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Case management and referral to other medical, psychological, and social services are crucial components of treatment for many patients. The best programs provide a combination of therapies and other services to meet the needs of the individual patient, which are shaped by such issues as age, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, parenting, housing, and employment, as well as physical and sexual abuse. Treatment medications, such as methadone, LAAM, and naltrexone, are available for individuals addicted to opiates. Nicotine preparations (patches, gum, nasal spray) and bupropion are available for individuals addicted to nicotine. Medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or neuroleptics, may be critical for treatment success when patients have co-occurring mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or psychosis. Drug addiction rehab can occur in a variety of settings, in many different forms, and for different lengths of time. Because drug addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses, a short-term, one-time treatment often is not sufficient. For many, rehab is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and attempts at abstinence. Rehab is probably the best course of action when trying to beat an addiction. It doesn't have to take place at an in-patient facility, but it does offer the best success rate when it comes to beating drug addiction and leading a drug-free life. Drug Addiction and the Family When a family is dealing with drug addiction, everyone is affected. Having an addict in the family can put stress and strain on all relationships as well as the family dynamics. The addiction causes pain, frustration, and anger in all members involved. Because it does affect everyone, the need for family therapy is so important. There are many emotions involved in a family when dealing with drug addiction. You may find yourself feeling angry toward the addict. This is normal. You wonder how this happened, why it happened, and what you could have done to stop it. You may feel depressed and helpless, even responsible for your loved one's addiction. This too is a normal reaction. Often when someone we love is in pain, such as the pain associated with drug addiction, we tend to look for excuses for their behavior. We take the pain on for them and don't make them take responsibility for their actions. To begin with, realize that this is a huge mistake. The person with the drug addiction was the one who brought it into your family in the first place, and he or she needs to take responsibility for that. It's not easy and will be painful for all involved, but once the addict realizes that their actions have consequences, they can take charge of their recovery fully. Family therapy is a great way to help with drug addiction. Family therapy consists of all members of the family getting together with the assistance of a trained professional and talking about the issues that all are having when it comes to the addict and the addiction itself. Family therapy can be intense but amazingly therapeutic as well. It's the perfect time to air your feelings in a safe setting with the help of a moderator to keep things on track. Family and friends can play critical roles in motivating loved ones with an addiction to enter and stay in treatment. Family therapy is important -- especially with teen addicts. Having the involvement of family members in a person's treatment program can strengthen and extend the benefits of the addict's treatment program. Drug addiction and family is a volatile situation, but one that can be faced and addressed with love, caring, and compassion. If your family is affected by drug addiction, be supportive and listen with an open heart. It will help you, those around you, and most important the family member with the addiction. Drug Addiction Rehab Treatment Perhaps one of the most effective ways to treat a drug addiction is to seek rehab treatment in a licensed rehab facility. Drug addiction is no laughing matter and can be very serious when a person begins to go through the recovery process. A rehab treatment center can provide so much when it comes to successfully beating drug addiction. When a person has become addicted to drugs, their body has become used to having drugs in its system. Taking the drug away produces often severe withdrawal symptoms that can be medically problematic. Rehab treatment centers have medical staff that can help ease the often excruciating pain of detoxification, and they can monitor the condition of the person so that the withdrawal doesn't cause other serious health problems. There was a reason that the addict began to use drugs in the first place. You see, drug addiction is more than a physical attachment to a drug -- it is an emotional attachment as well. The mind tells the addict constantly that the only way to face problems and life is to use the drug. This emotional dependence can be even more difficult to beat than the physical part. Licensed and reputable rehab treatment centers will treat both the body and mind for the person with a drug addiction. They will provide group counseling so a support system is built and the addict does not feel alone in their problem. They will also provide one-on-one counseling that will address the specific reasons why drug use began in the first place. Family therapy is also a big part of most treatment facilities. Once the patient is released from the treatment center, their family will play a big role in keeping them clean and sober. Family therapy is designed to address any issues that may have arisen in the past and get everyone "on the same page" when it comes to the person's recovery. Reputable rehab treatment centers will also give the patient tools they can take with them once they re-enter the "real world" in order to help keep them off drugs for good. The temptations and stressors that led them to drug use in the first place will still be out there. Learning how to resist the temptation and deal with the stressors in a healthy way is very important to successful long-term recovery. Drug addiction rehab treatment may seem like a drastic measure to take for some people, and for some people it might be. However, the truth is that when addiction has taken hold of a person's life, beating that addiction is an uphill battle. Rehab treatment centers make overcoming the addiction just a little bit easier to bear.
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