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Substance Abuse vs Addiction

Substance Abuse vs Addiction

Substance Abuse vs Addiction

All too often, the phrase “substance abuse” is used interchangeably with the word “addiction.” Abuse and addiction take similar physical, psychological, and social tolls for those who are suffering. However, it is important to understand the difference between substance abuse vs addiction. Learning about each will help you identify if an individual is casually abusing drugs or alcohol or in serious need of assistance to break an addiction.

Recognizing Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and addiction are not actually the same thing. On the surface, substance abuse may not look like extreme or dangerous behavior. In fact, it may not stand out as abnormal at all. If drinking or recreational drug use has become normalized in your social circle, you could even be abusing substances without knowing it. 

Substance abuse involves using a substance, whether it be alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit “street” drugs, to a point that becomes a hazard to your health. This includes using medications in ways other than prescribed.

When Substance Use Starts to Affect Your LIfe

Substance abuse also includes using substances to a point where doing so starts to affect your ability to live your life as you had prior to using. This point can come far quicker than many people realize. As soon as you start using your substance of choice to cope with emotions, thoughts, stress, or living situations, you are abusing that particular substance. This is true even if you have not experienced any consequences yet as a result. 

For example, consider alcohol consumption. According to the USDA, a safe and moderate level of alcohol consumption is no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Someone who drinks more than this is abusing alcohol by definitions, even if their consumption does not appear excessive to others. It has been shown drinking past the recommended daily limit increases the risk alcohol will affect your health, put at risk for DUIs, and other undesirable outcomes. 

Most individuals who abuse substances but are not yet addicted, feel like they can stop whenever they want to. Some people abuse substances intermittently instead of regularly. This can mask the fact that there is a problem. Substance abuse is still a widespread issue causing problems in many people’s lives. The CDC notes that more than 10 percent of people over the age of 12 have used some type of illicit drug in the past month. While not everyone who abuses drugs will go on to develop an addiction, many will. 

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Substance Abuse vs Addiction

When Substance Abuse Becomes Addiction

Addiction is a more serious problem than substance abuse. While substance abuse can be situational, addiction is a pervasive problem affecting every aspect of a person’s life. Substance abuse is a negative behavior that a person chooses whereas addiction is a disease of the brain. Many people are able to stop abusing substances on their own, but recovering from addiction is a significantly more complex task usually requiring outside help. 

The main hallmark of addiction is physical dependency. After a person abuses drugs or alcohol for a long enough period, their brain starts to change physically, making it difficult for the person to feel normal without their substance of choice. Drug or alcohol use causes a rush of dopamine in the brain. Eventually, the brain acclimates to the euphoria and begins to demand more, building a tolerance and creating an addiction.

When an addicted person does not have drugs or alcohol in their system, the lack of dopamine beings to show ill effects. Addicted individuals will start to experience withdrawal symptoms like tremors, nausea, and hallucinations (withdrawal symptoms vary from substance to substance). Essentially the person loses their ability to function normally when not drunk or high. 

Is Addiction a Choice?

Substance abuse may be a choice, but addiction rarely is. One of the defining traits of addiction is the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol, despite the negative social or health consequences. To an addicted person, seeking out and using their substance of choice is the most important thing in life.

Addiction will cause users to lie, steal, and sneak around to use drugs or alcohol. It is not that they are inherently bad people. It is simply their illness has hijacked the decision-making parts of their brain, leading them to take actions unfathomable prior to developing an addiction. 

Addiction is widespread with more than 15 million adults in the United States addicted to alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Further, addictive behaviors cost the U.S. more than $740 billion every year in health care costs and lost productivity. The good news is addiction is treatable, although only about. Unfortunately, only about 10 percent of those addicted actually receive treatment. 

Are You Dealing With Substance Abuse or Addiction?

If you are wondering whether you or a loved has a problem with drugs or alcohol, the odds are likely that you may indeed have a problem. Whether or not the substance abuse has progressed to the level of addiction, it is important to seek help as soon as possible before the problem gets worse.

You or a loved one may be addicted to a substance if any of the following are true: 

  • You use drugs or alcohol alone.
  • You lie to friends or loved ones about your substance use.
  • You feel out of control and cannot stop drinking or using even when you want to.
  • You experience physical withdrawals when you cannot use your substance of choice.
  • Your drinking or drug use is affecting your relationships, job, or academic performance.

Seeking Help and Getting Sober

It is never too late to seek professional guidance when it comes to substance use. Substance abuse versus addiction is indeed an important question. However, most important is finding the help you or your loved needs.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with either substance abuse or addiction, let them know specially trained professionals are here to help, in addition to their friends, family, and the community they live in. Contact a professional at Desert Cove Recovery today for more information.

 

treating issues behind addiction

Facing and Treating the Issues Behind Addiction

Identifying the Issues Behind Addiction

Many treatment centers focus only on addiction when they try to help people break the habit and reclaim control of their lives. Because addiction is often the symptom of other problems, looking under the surface and treating those conditions is a vital part of the recovery process. Taking the right steps will not only help people overcome addiction, but it will also prevent them from falling into the same trap in the future.

When people come to us for support and guidance through this challenging period, we will learn about them and their needs so that we can craft an approach that will get the job done. With a dual diagnosis, we will find and treat the underlying issues, and you will be happy when you see the difference it can make. In addition to facing the issues behind addiction, you will also learn to take a holistic approach to recovery, allowing your body, mind and spirit to break the chains of addiction so that you can move forward with your life.

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Mental Illness and Addiction

Mental illness is a significant factor for many people who struggle with addiction and want to find a cure. Some people don’t even realize that they are using drugs or alcohol to treat depression, anxiety or other mental health problems.

While using substances can provide temporary relief, it can cause many more complications over the long run that you can’t afford to overlook if you value your well-being. The team at ABC Rehab will search for, find and treat the problems that remain out of view, and you will be on the right track before you know it. When you let us manage your addiction and the issues that contribute to it, you will enhance your odds of reaching your desired outcome.

The Connection Between Abuse and Addiction

When people use drugs or alcohol, they often do so to mask the pain of abuse. While some of them drink or take drugs to reduce the pain of ongoing abuse, others turn to substance use to forget about and ease the stress of past abuse. If you or someone you know can relate to that problem, we are here to give you a hand, offering support when you need it the most.

Trauma and Addiction

People don’t always have the same response to stressful events in life, and poor coping skills can make it all but impossible to overcome emotional trauma. Those who enlist our help will learn to accept the past and create a bright future.

Depending on your needs and goals, we can help you come to terms with what has happened so that it won’t hold you back from reaching your real potential. Removing the pain of past trauma will make it a lot easier for you to get and stay sober, and you will have confidence in your decision to work with our team. Learning to accept the past will dissolve your trauma and allow you to embrace any challenge you encounter along the way. Our goal is to give you the required strength and mental endurance to face your trauma in a way that will lead to your success.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

During the time we have spent helping people overcome addiction, we discovered that post-traumatic stress disorder is often to blame. When you have PTSD, anything can trigger it and start a flashback that will force you to relive one of the worst moments of your life, and many people see drugs or alcohol as the only way to escape from the pain.

Helping you overcome your addiction won’t do a lot of good if you still have PTSD because it can entice you to return to old habits. Treating your PTSD and addiction at the same time will skyrocket your odds of defeating addiction, and our team will guide you through each step.

Our Approach

If you would like to get the most from your effort and to work with a team that offers consistent results, learn how we approach addiction and its underlying issues. Arming yourself with that information will let you choose a path with peace of mind, and you will know what you can expect at each step.

You will have access to caring experts who will learn about your exact needs and help you create a strategy that will allow you to achieve long-term success. When you work with us, you will discover how to let God into your life so that he can give you the strength you never knew you had.

Getting Started

Are you done allowing addiction to control your life and dictate the choices you make each day? If so, you can reach out to Desert Cove Recovery right away, and we will do what it takes to get you moving on the right track as soon as possible. When we stand with you and help you treat issues that hide below the surface, you will see that defeating addiction is possible and that you can reach your goals if you use a proven approach and the right mindset.

We will answer your questions and address your concerns so that you will have confidence as you make your choice. The future of which you have been dreaming is right around the corner, and you don’t need to fight the battle alone.

someone addicted to drugs

Nearly Half of Americans Know Someone Addicted to Drugs

Knowing someone addicted to drugs is becoming more common. The results of a PEW Research Center survey found that 46 percent of American adults stated they knew of either a family member or a close friend who was

• Addicted to drugs; or
• Had been addicted previously.

There are no major differences in the numbers when sorted by race: white (46 percent), black (52 percent), Hispanic (50 percent) or gender (men and women are equally divided at 46 percent).

Substance Use Disorder

Researchers looked at federal government data to compile their findings. In 2016, approximately 7.4 million Americans (2.7 percent of the population) over the age of 12 met the criteria for illicit “drug use disorder” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA).

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) doesn’t use terms like substance abuse and substance dependence to describe those who have issues with chemicals. Instead, it uses the term “substance use disorder.” The severity of the disorder is classified as being mild, moderate or severe based on the number of diagnostic criteria that each client meets.

Definition of Substance Use Disorder – A substance use disorder occurs when the repeated use of drugs or alcohol leads to a “significant impairment.” – a health issue, disability or a failure to meet responsibilities at home, work or school. The diagnosis of substance abuse disorder is made based on evidence of issues in a person’s social life, risky use, lack of control, as well as pharmacological criteria.

Substance use disorders include the following:

Alcohol Use Disorder
• Opioid Use Disorder
• Cannabis Use Disorder
• Stimulant Use Disorder
• Hallucinogen Use Disorder
• Tobacco Use Disorder

Substance Use Statistics

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2016), 20.1 million people in the US over the age of 12 had a substance use disorder. Approximately 15.1 million had an alcohol use disorder and 2.1 million had an opioid use disorder.

The survey was a self-reporting one for participating households. The true figures may well be much higher. There is also an unmarked void for the tens of millions of Americans who take other kinds of prescription drugs and are dependent on them, whether they are needed or not. The opioid epidemic has shed light on the over-prescribing issue our nation faces, but the problem is by no means limited to painkillers.

Getting Help for a Drug or Alcohol Problem

One of the first things to do in order to help someone recover from a drug or alcohol problem is to locate an effective treatment program. Desert Cove Recovery is here to assist you by helping to answer your questions and learn more about the rehabilitation and recovery process.

Contact us today to speak with a treatment specialist who can help.

high sugar diet and opioid addiction

Research Indicates Link Between High Sugar Diet and Opioid Addiction

New research from the laboratory of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Guelph has suggested a possible link between diet and risk of opioid addiction. Specifically, children and adults may be more vulnerable to opioid addiction when high amounts of refined sugars are consumed.

There has been a lot of press recently about the current opioid crisis — and for good reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that provisional counts for the number of deaths has increased by 21 percent in the period 2015-2016. Drug overdoses are now claiming lives at double the rate of motor vehicle accidents and firearms combined.

Sugar Activates Reward Centers in Brain

Research studies have revealed that refined sugar activates the reward centers in the brain in the same manner as addictive drugs. Opioid abuse has also been linked to poor diet, including a preference for foods that are high in sugar. Based on this link, researchers had questions about whether there was a connection between a diet with an excessive amount of refined sugar and an increased susceptibility to opioid addiction.

How Research Was Conducted

The research team looked at whether an unlimited level of access to high fructose corn syrup changed laboratory rats’ behavior and responses to oxycodone, a semi-synthetic opioid. High fructose corn syrup, a commonly used food additive in North American processed foods and soft drinks, was selected for this study.

In one study conducted by doctoral student Meenu Minhas, the rats were given unrestricted access to drinking water sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. The sweetened water was removed after about a month. After a few days where the rats didn’t have access to any sweetened water, researchers evaluated the rats’ response to oxycodone.

The researchers found that when the rats consumed high levels of corn syrup, they may experience less rewards from the oxycodone. As a result, the rats may be looking to take higher amounts of the drug.

High Sugar Diet May Contribute to Opioid Addiction

The results indicate that a diet high in sugar may dampen the pleasure that someone may get from taking drugs such as Percocet, Percodan, and OxyContin at lower doses. Since these sedative drugs normally make a user feel more relaxed shortly after being ingested, someone who isn’t getting these results is likely to take a larger dose to get the desired results.

Higher doses of sedatives and painkillers can be dangerous. At high levels, they can interfere with central nervous functioning and slow down breathing, leading to coma or respiratory arrest. When combined with alcohol, their effects multiply since alcohol is also a depressant drug.

This research is another good reason to eat a balanced diet, including lean meats, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. There is a place for sweets, but in moderation.