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changes in alcohol abuse

Physiological Changes in Alcohol Abuse

Physiological Changes in Alcohol Abuse

When it comes to all of the addictive substances available in the United States, alcohol is the one that is most commonly used. Statistics from the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence show that one in every 12 Americans suffer from alcohol abuse.

When someone is dealing with alcohol abuse, he or she is also dealing with the physiological changes in alcohol abuse. These can have devastating effects on different parts and functions of the body. Statistics show that 88,000 deaths a year are attributed to excessive alcohol abuse.

The effects alcohol can have on the body over time can impair everyday functions and impact vital organs. These include damage and functions involving the:

  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Brain
  • Heart

Let’s take a closer look at the physiological changes in alcohol abuse when it comes to these vital organs.

Changes in Alcohol Abuse & Your Liver

The liver helps to break down and remove harmful substances from the body. This includes alcohol. When someone abuses alcohol, the liver can become inflamed, leading to disease. This inflammation leads to scarring on the liver referred to as cirrhosis. This destroys the liver, making it more difficult for the body to rid itself of toxins. When toxins and waste build up in the body, the consequences can be life-threatening.

Changes in Alcohol Abuse & Your Pancreas

Alcohol abuse can also have damaging effects on the pancreas. The pancreas helps to regulate the body’s insulin levels and how it responds to glucose. When someone drinks too much alcohol, it can lead to an abnormal activation of digestive enzymes that the pancreas produces. This can cause an inflamed pancreas or a condition called pancreatitis.

When the pancreas isn’t working properly it can also prevent the body from making enough insulin to use sugar. This can cause extremes in blood sugar levels that range from levels either too high or too low. Either case harms the body and can lead to diabetes or other medical conditions.

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changes in alcohol abuse

Changes in Alcohol Abuse & Your Brain

Excessive drinking and alcohol abuse impair a person’s judgment and reasoning. But, the effects on the brain go much deeper. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to frontal lobe damage in the brain. This is the part of the brain that controls emotions, short-term memory, and judgment, among other things. When there is chronic alcohol abuse, there is also the risk of permanent brain damage.

Change in Alcohol Abuse & Your Heart

Alcohol abuse also puts life-threatening pressure on the heart. When a person drinks too much they put themselves at greater risk for:

  • Stroke
  • High-Blood Pressure
  • Irregular Heartbeats
  • Cardiomyopathy (stretching & drooping of the heart muscle)

Long-term alcohol abuse weakens and thins the heart muscle. This prohibits the body from pumping blood effectively, leading to the problems mentioned above which can be life-threatening.

Other Physiological Changes in Alcohol Abuse

Besides the impact alcohol can have on the organs, it can also lead to other health issues because excessive drinking lowers the immune system. This impacts your body’s ability to fight off disease and makes it more susceptible to illnesses like tuberculosis and pneumonia. Drinking excessively even just one time slows your body’s ability to fight disease, even 24 hours after being intoxicated.

The effects of alcohol abuse can also be seen in reproductive health. Alcohol abuse in men can lead to erectile dysfunction and a lowered libido. Women may experience irregular menstruation cycles or may stop menstruating altogether, leading to fertility problems.

Alcohol abuse can also increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers like:

  • Breast cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Throat cancer

It can also take its toll on bones in the body, making bones even more fragile and at greater risk for fractures in the event of a fall. Muscle weakness, cramping, and even muscle atrophy can occur with long-term excessive drinking.

Seeking Help from Arizona Alcohol Treatment

For those who may be abusing alcohol, realizing the need for help may be most difficult.  Desert Cove Recovery, Arizona alcohol treatment facility, is here with a variety of treatment programs. For more information, contact us and one of our highly trained staff members will contact you. Let us help you get on the path to recovery and better overall health.

friends don't believe you are addicted

What to Do When Your Friends Don’t Believe You’re Addicted

What to Do When Your Friends Don’t Believe You’re Addicted

It can be easy to hide the truth from people we love the most. Perhaps you are partaking in drugs and your friends don’t believe you’re addicted. Many times, our closest friends want to offer support when no one else does. Other times, they offer insight and perspective that is needed the most. When you hide your addiction from those friends, you are creating a wedge in your relationship that can be hard to rebuild.

Your friends honestly care about your welfare and if they knew all the facts, they would encourage you to seek help. But people struggling with addiction are very adept at concealing their problems. They hide drugs, alcohol, and other addictive substances from others. Or, if the conversation makes an uncomfortable turn, they are very skilled at redirecting things. If all else fails, those struggling with addiction will continue to deny any sign of dependence on a substance.

As a result, even close friends, spouses, or roommates may not know there is a problem at all. Or, they may not know how bad things are.

Even if your friends don’t believe you are addicted, no one knows you better than yourself.

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A Brief Self-Assessment: “Do I Need Rehab?”

Admitting you have an addiction is the first step in addiction recovery. You are in the driver’s seat, and no one else will be able to go to addiction rehab for you. So, even if friends don’t think you are addicted, you are in the best position to make this important decision.

Before starting this assessment, it is important to be honest with yourself. Many addicts have practiced denial so much before others that they are in denial themselves. No one else will know the outcome of this assessment, so there is every reason to be honest with yourself.

Driving While Under the Influence

Some people know they are not in full possession of their mental or physical abilities before they get behind the wheel. Perhaps they respond by taking the back-way home or driving well below the speed limit. Or, perhaps they drive home from bars, parties, or other places and do not remember the route they took.

If you have driven under the influence more than once or twice, regardless of whether you got caught or anyone got hurt, you may have a problem.

Substance-Related Health Issues

Alcohol use is a good example. After even a short period of abuse, many people begin experiencing liver problems, blackouts, and anemia.

Typically, addiction is the only cause for issues like these. There may be some element of genetic predisposition, but not very much of one. So, health problems are one of the clearest signs that you may need rehab regardless of what your friends say.

Legal Problems

Many legal issues may be directly related to substance abuse, such as DUI, drug possession, or public intoxication. You are the only one who can accurately say whether the issues was a one-time mistake or the sign of something more serious. These are the only two possible interpretations.

Other times, the relationship is indirect. Most people make very bad decisions when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These substance-related legal problems are much harder for anyone, including your friends, to detect.

Harming Yourself or Another

Before you skip past this part of the rehab assessment, think it through. The harm does not have to be physical and does not have to put anyone in the hospital. Emotional outbursts hurt others, and hurt yourself, just as much as physical violence. Furthermore, even if the act did not cause visible injury, it is still a violent act.

Why You Use the Substance

Many people start using drugs to experiment or to get through a difficult patch of life, such as a relationship break-up. After you know how the substance affects you or long after your boyfriend left, are you still using alcohol or drugs?

On a related note, take stock of the amount you use. If it has increased significantly and you still have basically the same high, you might very well be an addict.

If the results of this assessment disturbed you in any way, even if your friends don’t think you’re addicted, you should reach out to a professional for guidance. The next step could be a low-key session with a nearby counselor, inpatient substance abuse rehab, or something in between. Whatever that next step is, we are here to help. The trusted staff at Desert Cove Recovery will work with you to start your recovery from addiction. You do not need to face this alone.

sharing addiction story, breaking anonymity

Breaking Anonymity and Sharing Your Addiction Story

Breaking Anonymity and Sharing Your Addiction Story

When life’s circumstances don’t go as we originally intended, it’s easy to feel guilty about choices we’ve made leading us to where we are today. Many people who file for divorce, declare bankruptcy, or have a substance abuse issues blame themselves for their problems. Harboring that guilt and embarrassment may make sharing your addiction story very difficult.

Very few worthwhile endeavors are also easy, and that includes telling others about your battle through addiction. Just remember that you are not the only person who has been down this road. Some twenty million Americans are addicted to a non-tobacco substance, and only about 10 percent of them seek treatment for their illness. If your story inspires one of these people to make the call, sharing your addiction story was more than worth it.

Talking about abuse is important to recovering addicts as well. Statistics vary widely, but there is no doubt that serious relapse is a problem. Once again, if your story keeps just one person in recovery, you should tell it.

Some Reasons Sharing Your Addiction Story is Important

Your recovery story is not just about a personal journey. Elements of your long, hard journey resonate with many other people in the recovery community. Understanding these facts makes it easier to overcome guilt, embarrassment, or whatever else is holding you back. If you need some specific reasons, here are just a few:

Making it Real

Your recovery story is not really a story until you share it with others. Once you open up and share it, the whole experience becomes more real to you and to them.

Organizing Your Thoughts

Funeral eulogies are not just for broadcasting nice things about the departed. Many people have multiple and confusing feelings about their lost friends and loved ones whom they lost to addiction. Only preparing and telling the story helps them make sense of everything.

Making a Contribution

These shared experiences help us find strength in times of great need. When you share your story, you are creating an atmosphere where others feel comfortable to tell theirs as well.

Strengthening Your Resolve

Sharing your story gives you more of a stake in your recovery. If we know people are watching, we tend to watch our steps a bit more closely. Furthermore, as mentioned, your story could well be the catalyst which drives someone to seek help.

Note that some of these reasons are about other people, and some of them are about you. Your story has the power to impact more people than just yourself.

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How to Share Your Addiction Story

For some people, speaking or writing in front of an audience is second nature. But for many others, such actions may be harder than rehab. Desert Cove Recovery staff is here to help you share your story.

Many people start with anonymous online comments on addiction-related blogs or news stories. Or perhaps, you can start by liking recovery stories online. By using social media, sharing your addiction story can be safe and anonymous. Such comments have a cathartic effect for you, and they may have an inspiring effect on others.

Posting a comment or blog on our Facebook page may be the next step. People who are interested in addiction and recovery issues will see the post. It is like preaching to the choir. These public comments in a non-threatening environment are a good way to not only help yourself and inspire others, but also help build community.

When you are ready, post on your own blog site, Facebook page, or other social media account. People outside the addiction/recovery community will hear what you have to say. There may be some negative feedback, because people are not always empathetic. But such posts enable you to connect with your circle of friends in a very meaningful way. And truthfully, some people post negative comments on anything they see! Try not to focus on the naysayers, and instead remember what you have accomplished by beginning your recovery.

If you need help finding your voice or getting the words right, reach out to us or find fellow recovering people in recovery for help. Remember, you are not the only one who has problems in this area.

Finally, consider an informal speaking engagement at a local support group. Sometimes, that just means speaking up when you have the chance. Other times, that could mean being a guest speaker for a group. These things can be very intimidating for many people, but you have already come this far. Taking this next step will complete this part of your recovery.

Recovery is not easy and is not limited to your activities at a treatment facility. Recovery is hard and requires lifelong effort. For both yourself and for others, recovery should include sharing your addiction story. If you are struggling with any aspect of a substance abuse problem, you can always count on Desert Cove Recovery for help.

DUI in arizona

Effects of DUI in Arizona & Beyond

Effects of DUI in Arizona & Beyond

Among the most alarming displays of alcohol abuse is the problem of driving while under the influence. There is potential for devastating self-harm, but also the staggering loss of innocent lives taken by someone who simply tried to drive while inebriated is hard to bear. The effects of DUI in Arizona and across the country are a national tragedy, resulting in an average of 28 deaths per day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But the costs are staggering from financial, social, and interpersonal perspectives as well.

Frequently, the costs of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are listed as direct costs and indirect costs, also being referred to as “hidden” costs. Those hidden costs are hard to quantify when you factor in some of the most damaging repercussions of alcohol abuse. These can include the erosion of family trust, higher divorce rates, the loss of friends or promotions at work that never came because management began to have doubts about an alcohol abuser’s abilities to handle the job.

DUI in Arizona

Straight off the books, a DUI in Arizona for a first offense under a “standard” conviction results in a 10-day incarceration, fines of about $1,500 and an $80 monitoring fee. Screenings for substance abuse diagnosis and counseling are required and licenses can be suspended 90 days or revoked for a year. An interlock device is also attached to the driver’s car for 12 months.

The so-called “standard” offense in Arizona is the term used for a DUI offense in which the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is greater than 0.08 percent, but less than 0.15 percent. If the BAC is between 0.15 percent and 0.2 percent – termed an “extreme” DUI incident – the penalties go up accordingly. There is also a “super extreme” category for BAC levels above 0.2 percent and an increase in penalties for repeat offenders.

Furthermore, a driver convicted of a DUI in Arizona can also be charged with endangering the welfare of a child, reckless driving and other traffic offences that depend on the circumstances and on the level of alcohol in the driver’s bloodstream.

Among the direct costs, a conviction of DUI invariably results in significantly higher insurance rate among those convicted. This factor hits teenagers the hardest, given the risk pool they are thrown into. Arizona has a zero-tolerance rule that results in a DUI conviction for a teenager found driving with any alcohol in their system.

Commercial drivers in Arizona are also subjected to stiffer rules with a DUI conviction available for drivers with just 0.04 percent BAC levels.

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Effects of DUI in Arizona

“Sobering Stats”

In 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention calculated their list of hidden costs related to alcohol abuse. The Washington Post reported on these, calling the list “a pile of sobering stats.” This list totaled $249 billion per year and included early mortality, which was given a value of $75 billion. It also included loss of work productivity ($82 billion), health-care costs ($28 billion), crime ($25 billion) and car crashes ($13 billion).

But what about those attorney fees, insurance rate hikes and other costs? According to BACtrack, a maker of blood alcohol detection devices, the effects of DUI or DWI convictions vary from state to state, averaging around $20,000 for a first time offense. This doesn’t include the possible loss of a job or harm done to property or to a person.

In Texas, the effects of DUI, excluding harm to property or people, range from $9,000 to $24,000. In Illinois, the state government estimates an average cost of $14,660 for a first-time offence.

Some organizations have gone as far as calculating the effects of DUI as including the costs of taking bus, train or taxi to work given the loss of driving privileges.

Off the charts, how can you put a price on the damage done to personal relationships, the effects of unpredictable and self-destructive behavior has on children in the household or the increased divorce rates? And how can you calculate the cost of the emotional damage done to the survivor of an alcohol-related traffic accident?

MADD Applauds Arizona

According to the highly respected MADD organization (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), “on average two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetimes.”

The good news for Arizona also comes from the MADD organization, which unsmilingly rates each state according to their efforts to control drunk driving. In their five-star rating system, only four states merit a 4.5 star rating: Maryland, Mississippi, West Virginia and Arizona.

According to MADD, Arizona earns a full star for their use of interlock monitoring for all those convicted with alcohol-related driving offences, a full star for the use of sobriety checkpoints, a star for child endangerment laws and a star for their zero-tolerance on those drivers who refuse to take a breathalyzer test.

The state falls short on their license revocation policy, where MADD awarded Arizona half a star. Under the MADD rating system, the lowest rating is 1.5 awarded to one state: South Dakota. No states, according to MADD, are currently earning a five-star rating.

If you or someone you know engages in excessive drinking, contact our staff at Desert Cove Recovery today. Our accredited rehab facility will work alongside you as you start your recovery.

Deep Brain Stimulation May Treat Severe Alcohol Addiction in the Future

Despite all the attention that has been paid to the current opioid crisis, alcohol addiction hasn’t gone anywhere. According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, rates of alcohol use disorder rose by just over 49 percent in the US population in the years 2001-2013. One in eight adults meets the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Mild Electrical Current Used

Researchers at Stanford University have found that deep brain stimulation (DBS) could be a possible treatment for even the most severe cases of alcoholism. The results of the study, which were published in the journal Neurosurgical Focus, involves sending a mild electrical current through the affected person’s brain.

How Body Responds to Alcohol

When alcohol is consumed, the brain naturally releases dopamine. This is the body’s “feel good” neurotransmitter, which is released during pleasurable activities, like watching a movie, eating a good meal, exercising or having sex. When the brain becomes overstimulated by drinking alcohol, it associates alcohol with pleasurable experiences.

If that person continues drinking regularly and consumes large amounts of alcohol, the brain becomes desensitized to the release of dopamine. Alcohol no longer provides the same level of enjoyment it once did. The person needs to drink more alcohol to feel pleasure from the experience.

The Slide Toward Addiction

The slope toward addiction starts at the point when the brain compensates for alcohol’s depressant effects by increasing its glutamate function. Glutamates cause cells to increase their level of activity. In the case of someone with AUD, being around alcohol feels exciting and this feeling continues when alcohol is no longer present. He has to continue drinking to feel normal and less excited.

The longer someone has been drinking, the harder it is to stop. Regular, high-level consumption of alcohol rewires the brain and affects the decision-making process that tells an alcoholic not to drink.

Deep Brain Stimulation Technique for AUD

Deep brain stimulation is already being used to treat Parkinson’s Disease and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Scientists have also noticed that this type of therapy also reduced alcohol cravings in patients.

Dr. Casey Halpern, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University, stated that DBS is a minimally invasive form of brain surgery. When treating Parkinson’s, doctors place deep brain stimulators to restore normal functioning to dysfunctional parts of the brain. Patients improve right away when a small dose of current is applied to these areas. Dr. Halpern went on to say that a similar treatment should possibly be able to treat alcoholism.

This may sound like an extreme method of treating AUD. Researchers point out that DBS is one of the least invasive and safest procedures performed by neurosurgeons.

To date, DBS has not been approved as an AUD treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration. This status may change at a later date as more positive evidence is gathered by researchers.

suicide and opioid addiction dual diagnosis treatment centers

Suicide and Opioid Addiction – Linked Epidemics?

Suicide and Opioid Addiction – Linked Epidemics?

Important note: This article addresses suicide. If you or a loved one is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A disproportionately large number of U.S. residents have committed suicide while using an opioid. By definition, we are witnessing an epidemic. Dual diagnosis treatment centers are seeing an increase in patients as they themselves effort to understand the connection between suicide and opioid addiction. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released alarming numbers during the spring of 2018. Their study determined almost 45,000 Americans committed suicide in 2016 alone and discovered an increase of suicide every year since 1999.

The U.S. Surgeon General has advised more Americans use opioids than smoke cigarettes. Considering the U.S. purchases 80% of the world’s opioid medications and prescriptions have increased 300 percent in a nine-year time frame, this makes sense.

Together, it appears opioids and an increasing suicide rate may indeed be linked.

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suicide and opioid addiction linked dual diagnosis treatment centers

An Increasing Suicide Rate

The relationship between suicide and substance abuse is a complicated one. While suicide is closely correlated with depression, use of either legal or illicit drugs increases the risk substantially. A 2013 study by the CDC revealed which types of substances were found in those who committed suicide. The leading six substances were:

  • Alcohol – 38.2%
  • Antidepressants – 35.3%
  • Benzodiazepines – 31.3%
  • Opiates – 26.8%
  • Marijuana – 16.6%
  • Anticonvulsants – 11.9%

Use of drugs or alcohol is one of the most common risk factors for suicide. However, substance use is only one half of the equation.

In isolation, it would easy to pin a large portion of suicides strictly on substance abuse. But unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. In most suicides, substance abuse is the cause or the result of one or more contributing conditions.

The CDC completed a study reviewing the mental reports of both medical examiners and law enforcement officials from 27 states in 2015. They acknowledged there may have been other circumstances involved in any single suicide report, but the result sheds light on the types of problems individuals may have been facing prior to their passing:

  • 42% reported relationship problems
  • 29% faced a crisis in the past or upcoming two weeks
  • 22% had physical health problems
  • 16% were confronting job or financial related issues
  • 9% tackled criminal legal problems
  • 4% lost their housing

The study showed that just over one-quarter (28%) of suicides had reported known problematic substance abuse. Understanding the relationship between the CDC’s statistics of the substances found in the bloodstream with the contributing factors is important. The connection underscores the role substance abuse plays in scenarios where the abuse was not a determining factor in the suicide.

The Exploding Use of Opioids

During the late-1990s, prescription opioid pain relievers were introduced to the general public in mass. It was promised these drugs would not be addictive or habit forming. The pharmaceutical companies were wrong.

The rate of opioid overdose has risen ever since opioids arrived at the corner pharmacy. In 2015, the CDC reported 33,000 deaths directly resulting from an opioid overdose. This includes prescription opioids such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, and methadone, illegally manufactured synthetics, and heroin.

Almost 225 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2015. The CDC study from the same year found approximately 2 million Americans were suffering from prescription opioid substance abuse disorders. The statistics of opioid misuse are staggering:

  • 21% – 29% of prescriptions for chronic pain are misused
  • 8% – 12% of prescribed opioid patients develop an opioid use disorder
  • 4% – 6% of those who misuse opioid prescriptions move onto heroin

Although the sheer number of annual opioid prescriptions has begun to decline, their misuse continues to increase. And as the number of prescriptions decreased, we may begin to see increased heroin and illicit opioid use in the coming years. Consider the following growth in opioid overdoses:

  • 54% increase in large cities in 16 states
  • 70% increase in the Midwest 2016 to 2017
  • 30% increase in 52 surveyed regions in the U.S.

We are in the midst of a public health crisis. The consequences of which are being felt by individuals, families, employers, and entire communities. Finding the link between suicide and opioid addiction will go a long way toward solving this immense problem.

Connecting Suicide and Opioid Addiction

Overdoses, caused by any substance, can often be difficult to evaluate. Was the overdose accidental or were the drugs consumed with a purpose – suicide?

What we do know are the increases in suicide risk associated with an opioid misuse. For men, the suicide risk nearly doubles if they were known to have an opioid use disorder. For women, there has been found to be an eightfold increase in the risk of suicide. Yet in most cases, the final factor causing an overdose is never known.

Opioid addiction is extremely powerful. The fact that 80% of first-time heroin users were misusing prescription opioids first supports this claim. And regardless of how many of the 115 daily opioid overdoses are attributed to suicide, any number larger than zero is too many.

The likelihood of suicidal thoughts can increase upwards of 60% when while taking an opioid. There are studies indicating death by suicide is 13 times more likely in opioid and injection drug users. More evidence that combating opioid addiction’s role in the nation’s suicide crisis cannot be overlooked

The Role of Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

Admittance into rehabilitation centers increased 400% in the decade prior to 2010. As more research is conducted and more is learned about the relationship between suicide and substance abuse, the greater positive impact dual diagnosis treatment centers will have on their patients.

Dual diagnosis takes a coordinated approach to mental health disorders and substance abuse. By using a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, patients with co-occurring disorders are much more likely to find long-term success after receiving treatment. Traditional treatment centers are becoming much better at identifying individuals who are suffering from two or more conditions. And if dual diagnosis treatment isn’t available, such facilities are fortunately opening on a regular basis.

After completing programs offered at dual diagnosis treatment centers, individuals will effectively be able to manage both disorders. If you suspect someone you care about may be struggling with suicide and opioid addiction, let them know not only their friends and family are there for them, but specially trained experts. The community supporting those breaking opioid addiction is growing and help is no further than a phone call away.

Number of Pregnant Opioid Addicts Surged Over Last 15 Years

The results from a new report released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shed light on the continued effects of the opioid epidemic on a specific portion of the population: pregnant women. The researchers found that the number of women living with opioid use disorder at the time they went into labor and delivered their babies “more than quadrupled” during the 15-year period between 1999-2014.

Opioid Addiction Leads to Other Health Issues

Opioid addiction is responsible for a number of health problems. It can take a toll on a user’s physical and mental health, as well as her personal relationships. According to statistics collected by the CDC, opioids (which include prescription pain medications and illicit drugs such as heroin) were responsible for taking the lives of more than 42,000 people in 2016, a record level for fatalities.

Opioid use at addiction levels during pregnancy has been linked to several negative health consequences for mothers and babies. The drug use can lead to preterm birth, stillbirth and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a term describing a group of conditions caused when a fetus goes through withdrawal from certain drugs before birth.

National Database Analyzed

Researchers analyzed a national database collected on women from 28 states and discovered the rate of opioid use disorder jumped from 1.5/1000 delivery hospitalizations in 1999 to 6.5/1000 delivery hospitalizations in 2014. The rate increased by 0.39 cases per 1,000 during each year of the study.

Some geographical differences were noted during the study. The average annual increases were highest in West Virginia, Vermont, New Mexico and Maine. They were lowest in Hawaii and California.

Wanda Barfield, MD, Rear Admiral, US Public Health Service (USPHS), and the Director of the Division of Reproductive Health, explained that even in states with the smallest increases year over year, more pregnant women with opioid use disorder are being seen in labor and delivery.

Strategies for Dealing with Opioid Addiction in Pregnancy

The report included strategies for states to take on the issue of opioid addiction in pregnancy.

• Ensure opioid prescribing is in line with the CDC’s current guidelines
• Intensify prescription drug monitoring programs.
• Institute a policy of substance use screening at the first prenatal visit.
• Make certain that pregnant women with opioid use disorder have access to MAT (medication assisted therapy) and other addiction treatment services.
• Provide mothers with opioid use disorder with postpartum care that includes substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, relapse prevention and family planning services.

stigma of addiction, scottsdale treatment center

We’re Starting to See a Reduction in the Stigma of Addiction, But We Still Have a Lot to Work For

We’re Starting to See a Reduction in the Stigma of Addiction, But We Still Have a Lot to Work For

The stigma of addiction brings a heavy burden to people who are suffering with the problem. These people often feel “marked” with defects that keep them from living sober lives. This can lead to feelings of shame and helplessness. Luckily, there has been a reduction in the negative imagery that goes along with this condition.

How Has This Stigma of Addiction Been Reduced?

This country is experiencing an enormous rise in its drug addiction rates. However, more and more people are speaking out and sharing their stories. Even celebrities in Hollywood have come forward to shine a new light on recovering from addiction. Along with being outspoken in interviews, Demi Lovato speaks through her music. She released a song that discusses her struggles with sobriety. She explains that the road to recovery is not easy for anyone and that there is no shame in the battle.

Recently, Lovato suffered a setback. She was admitted to the hospital after an apparent overdose. Instead of negative comments and statements from the public, there has been an outpouring of support and positive energy. Thanks to social media, her relapse has given people from all walks of life the courage to speak about their similar problems and to offer sympathy to the suffering music star and to others who are in the same position. Lovato has shown that celebrities are human and have the same flaws as other people. It is a great opportunity to knock down some walls and to fight the stigma that is attached to addiction.

Music has allowed Lovato to use lyrics as an outlet to explain the bumps on her journey and to apologize for her mistakes. She wrote in detail about her failures ad this has built trust with her fans. It has allowed other drug users to understand that relapse happens and that it is possible to get back on the right path and to avoid the negativity that often surrounds the shame of addiction. As more and more people offer support, the stigma should continue to decline.

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Why Stigma Should Not Be an Issue

Is there a stigma related to cancer? Is there a stigma linked to having a heart attack? Like these physical ailments, addiction is a disease. It strikes people of all races and classes. Since no other health condition brings a negative stigma, drug addiction should not be the exception.

According to the American Medical Association, addiction is a disease that changes the way a person’s brain functions. Many drugs encourage the brain to release chemicals that bring feelings of pleasure. With continued use, these chemicals change the brain’s systems. This means that an individual will crave the substance. Brain changes can last long after an individual stops using, which leaves the person vulnerable to triggers that often lead to relapse. In many cases, a strong individual with the will to stop using is still left open to fall off a sober path.

Although seeking treatment is a smart way to gain sobriety, it is not a guarantee that the problems are over. Understanding the struggles of a user makes it clear that a negative stigma should not be placed on an individual who is trying to get clean.

How Stigma Prolongs the Problem

Many times, a user who experiences a negative stigma about his or her drug habits have a decreased likelihood of seeking treatment. Even when he or she admits that there is a problem, they may be afraid to come forward and to ask for help. It is essential to uncover a trusted medical professional so that a patient can receive solid advice and treatment. Researching a respected rehab facility is vital as well.

Our Scottsdale treatment center is filled with a compassionate staff. We understand the struggles and realities that addiction brings to an individual’s life. We are not afraid to help patients through the withdrawal process and to assist them on the road to recovery. We never judge or criticize, which means that the environment at our facility is nurturing and relaxing. Patients can feel safe, concentrate on the root of their problems, and learn how to avoid triggers that may cause relapses.

Thankfully, the stigma of drug addiction is becoming less damaging. However, we still have a long way to go. Society is starting to realize that addiction can affect anyone and relapse is not a sign of weakness. As in the case of Demi Lovato, it is important to support people with problems, especially when they decide to get help. To get started on a sober path, call our Scottsdale treatment center today.

Xanax Abuse Rates Rising

With all eyes on the opioid problem in America, many people are missing the fact that millions of people are also abusing other prescriptions, such as Xanax. These anti-anxiety drugs have a very high potential for abuse and addiction and there is evidence that it is becoming even more prevalent.

Xanax Seen as Safer than Other Drugs

Addiction specialists are expecting a continued increase in the number of teens and young adults addicted to Xanax and other sedatives belonging to a class of anti-anxiety drugs called benzodiazepines (“benzos”). A number of young people feel that Xanax is safer and more readily available than other drugs, but it is certainly just as dangerous. The drug is abused by itself and also commonly taken with other substances, such as painkillers or alcohol.

Like most other substances, people can develop a tolerance over time, requiring more of it to achieve the same effect. This can lead people who have legitimate prescriptions for the drug to eventually become dependent and sometimes even farther down the path toward addiction.

Often, teens are finding the pills in their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets, not realizing they can be just as dangerous as opioids or illicit drugs. The risk to health and life increases when Xanax is taken with other drugs and/or alcohol.

Risk of Addiction Higher with Younger Start

When Xanax use starts early in life, the risk of addiction increases. A recent US Surgeon General’s report on drugs and indicated that close to 70 percent of young people who experiment with an illicit drug before the age of 13 will become addicted within the next seven years. Waiting to try illicit drugs until after the age of 17 lowers the risk of addiction to 27 percent.

Addiction professionals are seeing a significant increase in the number of teens and young adults who are addicted to Xanax. Many of them are taking high doses of the drug on a daily basis, sometimes in combination with opioids and alcohol.

Sharon Levy, the director of adolescent addiction treatment at Boston Children’s Hospital, explained that hospitals see trends first. She stated that benzo use among adolescents has “skyrocketed” and that more young people are being admitted to hospitals for withdrawals due to the possibility of dangerous seizures. At the same time, fewer teens are seeking help for prescription opioid addiction.

Dentists Offer Option to Opioids for Pain Relief and Fighting Addiction

The opioid epidemic continues to rage through North America, and experts in East Tennessee are looking into the source of the problem. Many of them have determined that it can start with a trip to the dentist’s office.

Dr. Turner Emery, an oral surgeon on Knoxville, explained that doctors have been blamed for a lot of patients getting started on opioids. However, dentists also prescribe this class of medications to their patients, who are also put at risk for addiction.

Exparel Given at Time of Surgery

Dr. Emery is using a medication in his practice called Exparel to reduce risk of opioid addiction. It numbs the area around teeth that have been extracted for up to four days after oral surgery has been performed. When Exparel is used, a dental surgery patient may not need prescription pain medication at all.

The peak time for a dental patient to experience pain following wisdom teeth removal is on the second and third day following surgery, Dr. Emery explains. He has had a couple of patients who have had to take one or two doses of a narcotic, but most patients have been able to relieve their pain wth over the counter (OTC) medicines.

The medication is given by injection in each molar. Patients report that it reduces the need for narcotic pain medication and doesn’t make them feel drowsy during the first few days following their procedure.

First Exposure to Narcotics After Dental Surgery

A number of adolescents are first exposed to opioids following dental surgery. They may also be prescribed these strong pain medications following a sport injury. If a young person is prescribed more medicine than they need for the initial health condition, there is a concern that the opioid pain reliever may end up in someone else’s hands. The young person may continue taking the narcotic after the initial need for the strong pain medication has ended.

Medication Effective for Pain Relief

Exparel isn’t covered by all health insurance companies. The medication costs approximately $200.00, which can be a prohibitive factor for some patients and their families. Dr. Emery states that the medication works “really, really well” and that he has had good results with it.