brain scans for addiction

Up and Coming Evidence-Based Treatment Practices

This article was written by Robert Galvin, a Primary Counselor at The Discovery Institute

The disease concept of addiction is verbalized frequently and I believe is central to treatment. However, there usually is a watered-down interpretation given to most clients and their loved ones.

It is certainly understood that the brain is highly impacted by substance use and brain health disorders. The brain is central to everything in our lives. It is responsible for our thoughts, feelings and ultimately for our personality and behaviors.

This is a simple concept, yet do we utilize all our options to help our clients heal their brain?

I argue that we don’t. It stands to reason that how well a person’s brain functions correlates to their well-being and functioning in all aspects of life. Most current mainstream substance use and brain health treatment options emphasize medicinal psychiatric treatments, medication assisted treatment (MAT) and therapeutic interventions, all of which can be effective.  

In most substance use or mental health treatment facilities, there are typically no biological tests utilized to confirm a mental health diagnosis or functioning of the brain. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a way to view issues with brain functioning in our clients?

While mental health inventories or criteria are used to diagnose disorders, they don’t always paint the whole picture. It is also not uncommon for diagnosis to be incorrect. According to research reported by National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association (DMDA) approximately 69% of all first-time diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder are incorrect and more than one-third remained misdiagnosed for 10 years or more. This is certainly understandable as assessment and diagnosis in general is complex. A diagnosis in itself does not always explain the cause of the disorder. Clients can have a diagnosis for depression and there could be multiple reason such as grief, substance use, brain injury, chronic illness or pain, and other biological factors. Therefore, correct assessment is essential before implementing the correct intervention. This begs the question; how can we treat a disorder if we can’t always accurately identify the real cause? Imagine all the time and effort used to treat an incorrectly assessed problem, let alone the frustration and suffering a client will experience (i.e. bipolar diagnosis). 

I would like to encourage consumers, counselors, medical personnel, supervisors and anyone else involved with helping clients with substance use and brain health disorders to advocate for better evidenced based options. 

The trend toward finding solutions for treating individuals with substance use disorders has been proceeding in a seemingly urgent manner over the last few years in response to the opiate epidemic. Typically, over my 8-year career in substance use and mental health treatment, I have witnessed a consistent and sometimes considerable delay between the application of interventions and evidenced based research. The population suffering from substance use and brain health disorders all too often have poor outcomes as evidenced by recidivism rates and fatalities. Professionals and consumers have to contend with external influences which can cause significant barriers to treatment. One such barrier is limited funding and how it can all too often shorten the length of stay in treatment. However, we do have more control regarding the clinical interventions that we can implement to help our clients. There is a proven, but not often utilized intervention, that I believe could significantly change the trajectory of outcomes for our clients. I am speaking of the practices by Dr. Daniel Amen and SPECT scans. 

Dr. Amen is a well-known psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist who offers an alternative way to approach brain health. I believe so much in his research and interventions that I have enrolled for certification in brain health through his clinics.

Dr Amen introduced Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) scans as a means to visually display functioning of the brain. SPECT scans can tell us 3 things: areas of the brain that work well, areas that don’t work hard enough & areas of the brain that work too hard. 

He has been using SPECT scans for a least 4 decades and has developed simple strategies to heal the brain. His interventions are client centered treatments to help clients heal their brain and not only change their outcomes in recovery but also increase overall wellbeing. SPECT scans can be cost prohibitive among treatment facilities. However, professionals like myself can be certified in brain health. We would be able to accurately assess brain function issues without the use of SPECT scans at a significantly lower cost. The assessment process is very comprehensive and covers a variety of possible causes for brain health issues. The training also teaches client centered interventions that are realistic for clients to achieve. 

If you would like to learn more about Robert Galvin and his work at The Discovery Institute, please contact us today.

effects of drug addiction on family members/signs of drug use in teens

Teenage Attitude or Something Worse? Early Signs of Drug Use in Teens You Should Know

Studies confirm that teenagers are biologically wired for risky behavior. And while that may not come as a shock to some parents, it may help others understand why their teenage children make confounding life choices. 

But as much as any good parent would hate to find out that their teen has been using drugs, sometimes it’s difficult to even know. It’s crucial that you’re able to spot the signs of drug use in teens so that you know whether or not your child is lying or hiding it from you. 

Today, we’re going to go over some of these telltale signs so you know whether or not your child needs professional help. 

Changes in Teen’s Outward Appearance

There are many signs of drug abuse in a teenager that you can look for, but one of the easiest to spot is their appearance. If you need a place to start, then it could help to look at these outward signs. 

Poor Hygiene

“Kids are kids,” is something that gets tossed around a lot. And yes, children may have a tendency to play, get dirty, and not care so much about keeping up with good hygiene. 

With that being said, excessively poor hygiene might be a sign to look out for. 

Scratch Marks

If a teenager is using opiates, one sign to look for is excessive scratch marks or the constant act of scratching. Some opiates cause the body to release histamine, similar to an allergic reaction, which can cause scratching symptoms to manifest. 

Track Marks

Track marks are unhealed puncture wounds that may be one of the signs of teenage drug use. Some drugs are taken intravenously with needles and are usually found on the forearm.

Rather than puncture wounds, they may also bruise or scab over. 

Bloodshot Eyes

A child may have bloodshot eyes for a number of different reasons, but it’s still a good outward sign to look out for. Bloodshot eyes (which appear reddish), may be a sign of marijuana use. 

Other drugs can cause other observable changes in your child’s eyes, though. For example, cocaine abuse and various hallucinogens like LSD may cause a user’s pupils to dilate. Heroin, on the other hand, may cause pupils to reduce in size. 

Changes in Teen’s Behavior

Just looking at your teen may tell a big part of the story, but you also need to pay attention to the way they act. Behavior changes can be a big indicator that your child could be secretly hiding an addiction from you. 

Failing Grade

Let’s be honest, school isn’t always easy for children. There could be a number of reasons why a student may be falling behind in the grades department. 

Still, failing grades and overall poor academics might tell you that something is taking away from their priorities and concentration at school. 

Avoiding Eye Contact

According to Mark Bouton, a former FBI agent, there are many ways to identify someone who’s lying. Avoiding eye contact is a sure sign that someone is hiding something from you. 

Now, why your child is hiding something or what it is exactly is another story. Sometimes, it helps to know that something is being hidden from you in the first place, though. 

Hostile Reactions

If your teenager reacts and lashes out in hostile ways, it might indicate that they are subconsciously being defensive. This could be another sign of teen drug abuse since they might be harboring a secret that affects them. 

Demands for Privacy 

It’s no secret that most teenagers want privacy. They are slowly growing into adults, and they desire that sense of independence. 

That being said, sudden and extreme demands for privacy might be a red flag to look out for. It could mean that they have something – physically or otherwise – that they are trying to hide, such as drug paraphernalia. 

Change of Friend Groups

People change and that might include changing friend groups. Sometimes, your interests change significantly enough that you may lose some friends and gain others. 

But a sudden change in your teenager’s social life is still a sign to look out for. Their new friend group may be for purposes other than just socializing. 

Significant Mood Swings

Does your teen go from extreme highs to extreme lows in seemingly no time at all? 

There could be many reasons for that, including psychological issues, but it might also be a reaction from prolonged drug use. Some drugs may cause significant mood swings, or the mood swings may be a sign of defensive behavior from harboring the secret addiction.

Other Indicators

Sometimes, you need to look beyond your teenage child’s appearance and behavior for indicators of drug use. It’s important to observe events happening around your house, too. 

Missing Medication

If you have your own prescribed medications and find that they are mysteriously missing, it could be a sign that your child is stealing them. Statistically, the use of opioids in highschoolers is actually down, but many still agree that they are easy to acquire. 

Masking Scents

Some drug use creates obvious smells, and your teen may use various things to mask that scent. This could include:

  • Cologne/perfume
  • Incense burners
  • Vaporizers
  • Scented candles

While these things individually may not indicate teen drug use, it’s still a useful behavior to take note of. 

Drug Accessories

While you may not catch your teen redhanded with drugs, there are still accessories to drug use that you may find. These include:

  • Needles
  • Ziploc bags
  • Aluminum foil
  • Balloons
  • Spoons 
  • Lighters
  • Aerosol cans
  • Rolling paper or cheap cigars

Again, some of these items on their own may not conclusively prove teen drug abuse, but they important clues. 

Look Out for Signs of Drug Use in Teens

No parent wants to find out that their child is using drugs or keeping dangerous secrets from them. But the reality is that some teenagers get away with drug abuse for a long time and may never be confronted about it. 

As a loving caregiver, you should pay attention as early as possible to the signs of drug use in teens that might tip you off to any potential problems. If you suspect that your child is abusing substances, feel free to contact us right away to discuss options for addiction rehabilitation. 

Resources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/teens-brains-are-wired-for-risky-behavior-study/
https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-tell-someones-lying-by-watching-their-face-2016-1
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/monitoring-future-survey-high-school-youth-trends
signs of prescription drug abuse

A Prescription for Disaster: 10 Tell-Tale Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Americans are taking more prescription drugs today than at any other point in the past. There are almost 5 billion prescriptions filled every year.

For the most part, this is a good thing. The majority of people take their prescriptions as prescribed to treat certain illnesses and conditions.

But there are a few downsides to the country’s infatuation with prescription drugs. One of them is that there are millions of people who are abusing prescription drugs and putting themselves at risk.

If you suspect someone in your life is doing this, look out for the signs of prescription drug abuse. If you spot any of them, get them the help they need to kick their addiction to prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Percocet, Xanax, Valium, or Adderall.

Here are 10 of the most common signs of prescription drug abuse.

1. Mood Swings

People who are hooked on prescription drugs tend to experience a series of drastic mood swings throughout the course of a day.

When they’re under the influence of their drug of choice, they’ll often appear to be very happy and satisfied with life. But as the drug wears off, they’ll sometimes slip into a state of depression and not be friendly to others.

It’s not out of the ordinary for a person to have mood swings every now and then. But if you notice someone is having them almost every single day, it’s time to investigate it further.

2. Constant Irritability

Those who abuse prescription drugs spend a ton of time trying to get their hands on them to fuel their addiction. And they can get very agitated when prescription drugs aren’t available.

People who are struggling to get the drugs they need will often:

  • Lash out at those around them
  • Blame others for their bad mood
  • Exhibit hostility towards anyone who tries to calm them down

If it feels like someone you know is on edge all the time, try to get to the bottom of why that is. Prescription drug abuse could be to blame.

3. Irregular Sleep Patterns

Using prescription drugs that haven’t been prescribed to you can wreak havoc on a person’s sleep patterns. People will sometimes struggle to fall asleep at night and then sleep all day to make up for it.

Some people will also skip sleeping altogether on certain days when they use high dosages of prescription drugs. The drugs will make it impossible for their bodies and minds to get the rest they need.

This often causes them to turn to other prescription drugs designed to help them fall asleep. It can lead to them getting stuck in a vicious cycle with no way out.

4. Dramatic Weight Gain or Weight Loss

Do you know someone who has gained a lot of weight overnight or dropped 20 pounds in a matter of just a few weeks?

There could be a logical explanation for it. For all you know, stress (and stress eating) could be to blame for their weight gain. A new diet or a juice cleanse could be the culprit behind their weight loss.

But dramatic weight gain or weight loss could also be one of the signs of prescription drug abuse.

5. Money Troubles

A prescription drug habit can take a toll on more than just a person’s physical and mental well-being. It can also cost them a fortune, especially if they start needing to take higher dosages of drugs to achieve the same high.

If someone is struggling with prescription drug addiction, there’s a good chance that they’re going to have money troubles. Even if they’re able to hold down a job, they’re going to spend a good chunk of change every week on drugs.

Be wary if a friend or family member is always hitting you up and asking to borrow money. It could show that they’re battling some kind of addiction.

6. Stealing or Lying

Someone who is dealing with prescription drug addiction will do just about anything to get their next fix. That might include stealing prescription drugs from someone else or stealing things they can sell to get drug money.

It also might include lying about why they need to borrow money or denying that they’re using drugs. Keep your eyes (and ears!) out for these signs of prescription drug abuse.

7. Poor Decision-Making

Does it feel like a friend or family member has made a series of bad decisions in recent months?

They might just be going through a rough patch. But their bad decisions could also be a direct result of prescription drug use.

When someone is hooked on drugs, they use so much brain power focused on finding drugs that they don’t always think clearly. They’ll make poor decisions in every area of their life without even realizing that they’re doing it.

8. Memory Issues

There are lots of different prescription drugs that can cause a person’s memory to fade. From anti-anxiety medications like Xanax to narcotics like Vicodin, these prescriptions will make some people more forgetful.

If you know someone who suffers from unexplained memory issues, it might mean that they’re more than just absent-minded. They could be fighting a losing battle with prescription drug abuse.

9. Increased Alcohol Use

Studies have shown that those who abuse alcohol are more likely to abuse prescription drugs. But the reverse also seems to be true as many prescription drug abusers rely on alcohol.

Alcohol abuse is a problem in and of itself. But it can turn into an even worse situation when someone starts mixing prescription drugs and alcohol together.

10. Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person is addicted to prescription drugs, they won’t be able to function without them. They’ll experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t have the drugs in their systems.

These withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle pain
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Severe insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Tremors

Most people will require professional assistance to work their way through these symptoms. Checking them into a drug rehab facility will help them detox safely.

Watch for Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Is a friend or family member exhibiting any of these signs of prescription drug abuse? Work up the courage to ask them if they might have a problem.

Or, if you find yourself demonstrating any of these signs, be honest with yourself about what you’re going through. You can get help with your problem and stop using prescription drugs.

Contact us today to learn more about kicking a prescription drug habit once and for all.

Nurses Speak About Their Own Addiction

Rehab in New Jersey sees all kinds of people come through. Musicians, chefs, veterans, men, women, gay, straight, young, old; substance use disorder discriminates against no one. It truly is an equal opportunity illness that threatens sober living in New Jersey. We never think of people that are supposed to help people as part of the crowd that would face addiction, but recently nurses told their stories in The Star, a Canadian newspaper revealing that addiction can start in extremely unexpected ways.

Anne, 59 years old, recalls how she had a ruptured appendix that had been mostly manageable pain-wise, but one day at work 6 years after being treated, “I got this attack of pain and I just helped myself to opioids at work, thinking I could get through my shift. I knew I was doing something wrong, so ethically, it was really soul-destroying.” Revealing the guilt she harbored over the entire ordeal, “You rationalize and justify it, but once you take the drug, the drug sort of takes you…and I struggled off and on with that all my life.”

In Canada, an organization recently formed called the Nurses Health Program, which aims to identify nurses who are suffering from addiction while protecting their confidentiality. The aim is to encourage nurses to seek help “earlier than they otherwise would have” than they would under a more adversarial system, such as America’s lingering ‘War on Drugs’ policies, which essentially operates in such a way that criminalizes people with addiction. The organization, which operates through the College of Nurses of Ontario, says they have believe the nearly 60 of on average 144,000 per year reported as ‘incapacitated’ could be just the tip of the iceberg. 91% of those aren’t self reports, which puts major concern on the nature of how many might be dissuaded from seeking treatment.

In 2010, the University of Alberta’s Diane Kunyk held a survey of over 4,000 registered nurses and three percent reported they were addicted to drugs or alcohol and most had never reported to their employers they were struggling with a problem. Compounding the problem is that interviews revealed many nurses had very little understanding of addiction or even how to identify it, whether with themselves or with a patient.

“That makes it a lot harder for people to actually seek help because they don’t know what they’re going to be coming up against,” says Dr. Yelena Chorna, an addiction physician at the Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, a treatment center specifically for health-care professionals.

As understanding of addiction and the nature of addiction continues to disperse throughout the medical community as well as the general public, it’s only a matter of time before the entire punishment model is upended and turned into a medical condition which is focused on helping, rather than harming, people who are suffering from the illness.

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder, call the top rated drug rehab center in New Jersey, Discovery Institute, at 844-478-6563.

 

The Isolation of Addiction

One of the commonalities of severe substance use disorders (SUDs) involves isolation. Often people who suffer from addiction struggle to connect with others. They may become isolated, spending more and more time alone. This combination of isolation and addiction can hinder an individual’s relationships with friends and family members. It can keep people from spending time with their parents, children, or spouse.

But, why exactly does isolation occur along with addiction? Why do people isolate themselves when they’re struggling with the effects of alcoholism or drug dependence? Maybe you have a loved one who is becoming distant and you suspect substance use is in the mix. If so, knowing more about the nature of addiction and how it affects those who suffer from it can help you tremendously.

Why Do Isolation and Addiction Co-Occur?

Individuals may choose to be isolated in order to hide their substance use and the effects of being intoxicated. Addiction has a way of making people feel ashamed. It often causes individuals to feel guilty or afraid. This may cause them to isolate themselves from friends and family more and more frequently. 

Others may find themselves pushing away the people who do know about their addiction to avoid hurting those individuals or making them upset. Some people might have always preferred to be less social. So substance use in isolation may seem as normal to them as when they watch a movie alone on an uneventful Friday night.

Often times, it can be a mixture of all these circumstances and more. The causes of isolation in situations that involve addiction will vary from person to person. After all, no two people are alike. Likewise, no single case of substance dependence is exactly like any other.

Many behaviors that are associated with addiction may also involve other factors, even down to a person’s normal behavior before developing substance use disorders. For some people, trauma may lead to “self-medication” which manifests into a disorder because the trauma was never addressed. Others may experience trauma after realizing they are addicted to some substance, such as cocaine or alcohol.

More About Isolation and Addiction

Isolating oneself when using drugs or alcohol can be internalized. Keeping a secret from one’s closest family members can emotionally isolate the individual from someone they respect and trust even if the relationship itself continues daily, with conversation and even laughter.

This can also spill over into a person’s workplace. Many jobs don’t exactly offer an exceptional social atmosphere as it is, with co-workers often having to smile at each other publicly while knowing that it will have to become cutthroat if the company is downsizing or offering up a promotion where space is limited.

Some workplaces can be extremely stressful, causing individuals to become overwhelmed with worry, fear, and utter discomfort. Many people turn to substance use in order to escape from the effects of stress. But, this may lead them to distance themselves from coworkers in order to hide their substance dependence. 

Homelife can also be difficult and challenging. Obstacles can arise in relationships and financial burdens can take over a person’s life. This may drive individuals to isolation and substance misuse. 

A user may find themselves getting up every single morning and spending time just figuring out how to hide this aspect of their lives which, for whatever reason, is slowly spiraling out of control. 

Is My Loved One Suffering From Addiction? Recognizing the Signs

One of the most common stories of those surviving someone who passed away due to addiction will state that they had no clue that there was a problem. A person who shuts off from the world shuts out possible help. We live in a country that obsesses over individuality, rugged individualism, and self-motivation. But, when a chronic illness like addiction is involved, it almost always ends in tragedy.

This is why it is so important for individuals to better understand addiction. If you have noticed that someone you know is becoming more and more isolated, perhaps it’s more than loneliness or  “a phase”. This isolation may be a sign of addiction in your friend or family member’s life.

If you’re not sure that a substance use disorder is present, you might consider checking for the following signs:

  • Secrecy
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Moodiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Changes in personality
  • Frequent disorientation
  • Carelessness or recklessness
  • Unusual/abnormal body odors
  • Unkempt or untidy appearance
  • Trouble keeping up with schoolwork
  • Difficulty managing responsibilities at home
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Tardiness at work; other problems on the job
  • Sudden changes in weight (weight loss or gain)
  • Defensiveness when addressed about substance use
  • Needles, pill bottles, alcohol bottles, and other paraphernalia 
  • Physical signs of substance use: dilated pupils or small pupils, bloodshot eyes, burn marks, track marks, lack of physical coordination, etc.

If you’ve noticed any of these signs in a loved one’s life, it is likely that he or she is suffering from addiction. If this is, in fact, the case, then it’s absolutely necessary to make sure the individual gets help. 

How Can I Help My Loved One Overcome Addiction?

It is common for people to be unsure about how to help individuals who are suffering from substance dependence. So, if you’re not certain about what you should do, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are multiple things you can do to help your loved one who is struggling with alcoholism or drug misuse.

But, first, it is helpful to know what not to do when someone you know is suffering from addiction. If you know individuals who are struggling with alcohol or drug misuse, you must avoid enabling them. This is one of the most important things to remember. To enable an individual means to make it easier for him or her to continue unhealthy behavior.

It’s very likely that you don’t intend to enable your suffering loved one. Undoubtedly, you want to help the individual. But, it’s important to recognize even the most subtle ways in which you might enable the person’s addiction. 

Signs of enabling addiction include:

  • Giving the person money
  • Lying or “covering” for the individual
  • Taking on the person’s responsibilities
  • Losing or neglecting personal boundaries despite discomfort
  • Putting the needs of the struggling individual before your own needs
  • Codependency: i.e. holding on to the relationship for fear of being alone

It can be especially difficult to avoid enabling a person who is very close to you. If you’re married to the individual or the person is a close friend or sibling, you may struggle to hold him or her accountable. But, if there are any behaviors in your life that may make it easier for the person to continue using, it’s best to recognize and avoid these behaviors. 

To help your loved one, you may need to do things that are challenging. But, the results will be positive, both for the individual and for you.

Intervention: A Way to Help Your Loved One

The main goal of intervention is to help your loved one find their way to freedom from drug or alcohol dependence. It’s important for the struggling individual to get help for addiction in order to overcome the disorder. So, you may find yourself in a position where you need to encourage the person to get professional help. 

Your initial thought may be to address the individual about his or her substance use. Perhaps, you may see the individual drinking more than usual. Or you may notice physical signs of drug use. Maybe the individual is becoming distant from friends and family. It’s likely that you’ll want to mention these things and ask your loved one if they’re struggling with addiction. In some instances, conversations like this can lead to a solution. However, this might not always be the case.

It may be difficult to speak to your loved one about his or her struggle with addiction. If you suspect that the individual is dealing with substance dependence, you may need to intervene. But, it’s likely that the person will become defensive. This is fairly common when substance dependence is involved. Still, it can be hard to talk to your family member or friend because of this defensiveness. So, you might need to seek professional assistance.

To help your loved one, you may need to hold an intervention. An intervention is a meeting that involves the individual struggling with addiction and his or her loved ones.  Typically, the family members or friends who recognize the presence of addiction will join together to speak with the person who is suffering from substance dependence. But, it’s important to understand the best way to go about holding an intervention. Failing to do so may result in an ineffective attempt to help your loved one overcome addiction.

What Else Can I Do For Someone Who Is Suffering From Addiction?

Help your loved one by learning more about addiction. It may be hard for you to understand some of the individual’s behaviors and words. Sometimes, addiction can cause people to do hurtful things. However, it’s important to remember that your loved one is suffering from a disease that they cannot control. The more you learn about substance dependence and how it is affecting your friend or family member, the better.

You can also help the individual by encouraging him or her to get treatment. You can even have a treatment facility lined up when you hold the intervention. This will enable you to immediately take your loved one to get help once he or she finally decides to do so. 

Another thing to remember is that helping yourself is one way to ultimately help the struggling individual. You might consider family counseling. Therapy can help you to find peace and closure. It can also give you the tools and resources you need in order to continue helping your loved one.

Finally, providing support is one of the best things you can do for your friend or family member. You can support the individual throughout his or her struggle with addiction. Then, you can continue to support the person as they begin treatment. This support can continue throughout recovery. It will mean more to the individual than you may realize. Since isolation and addiction often go hand in hand, your loved one may feel alone, even in treatment. Being there for the struggling individual will extend more love and genuine care than anything else.

Ending Isolation and Addiction: Getting Treatment for Substance Dependence

If someone in your life is suffering from the isolation of addiction, you can help! Your support and love along with professional treatment will help to bring healing to the person’s life. So, now is the time to begin the journey to freedom from substance use disorder. Contact us here at Discovery Institute to speak with specialists in the best New Jersey treatment center. Let us walk with you and your loved one today!

The Effects of Meth on the Body

Methamphetamines are among the most dangerous and most addictive illegal drugs available. Because it is cheap to make — and therefore cheap to buy — it has become a raging menace in low income parts of the U.S.
Crystal meth — the name for the synthetically produced street version of the drug — is a highly addictive stimulant. Users say smoking (or sometimes snorting or injecting) meth makes them feel euphoric. Some users enjoy the high energy the drug gives them.
Many casual users find themselves quickly addicted because of the euphoric rush. The drug and the high last for as long as 12 hours after smoking — making it almost predatory on low income populations. Like many drugs, consistent use requires higher and higher doses to feel high — which leads to higher rates of addiction and long term use. There are serious long term effects of meth on the body.

Effects of Meth on the Body

Short terms effects of meth use can include major anxiety, sleeplessness, and paranoia. It’s quite common for meth users to stay awake for days at a time. The lack of sleep can exacerbate effects of the drug. Meth users often because extremely paranoid. Some may even have psychotic episodes or breaks in which they hallucinate. An urban legend with some truth is that meth makes you feel like bugs (or something) is crawling on your skin. Meth actually can cause this skin crawl phenomenon in many users.
The positive effects — and the reason so many become dependent — include euphoria and stimulation. Many users enjoy that meth gives them focus and energy to accomplish things. That sense of accomplishment can help fuel a mental and emotional addiction, on top of the physically addictive components.
In the longer term, using meth can have even worse effects on the body. Chronic, long term meth users appearance can drastically change. Users often lose large amounts of weight due to the fact that meth is a stimulant and appetite suppressant. Meth has been known to make users lose their teeth, coining the term “meth mouth” in many circles.
In additional to aging quicker and sagging skin, using this drug can cause users to develop meth sores. Because their body is in under such stress from the drug, lack of sleep, and not eating, it can’t properly heal itself. Combine that with the anxious picking habit many meth users develop and it’s a perfect recipe for meth scars.

Treatment Options

If you or a loved one are struggling with meth addiction, seek professional help immediately. Meth is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, so most people need medical attention and therapy to become sober.
Meth withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable and intense. To help kick the habit, please contact our NJ rehab center and we can help the user treat the meth addiction and return to a life free from addiction.

Signs of Heroin Use

Heroin abuse rates have greatly increased in recent years to the point where it is now an epidemic. Nearly 13,000 people died of heroin overdoses in 2015, and millions of people over the age of 12 continue to report using the drug at least once. Black tar heroin has proven to be particularly dangerous thanks to the belief that the “unrefined” form of the drug isn’t as potent as its white powdery form, which makes an accidental overdose more likely.

One of the biggest problems with heroin is that it can be difficult to recognize the signs of heroin use since it shares many of the same symptoms as addictions to other opiates. If you’re concerned that someone you know is using heroin, look for some of these signs:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Constricted pupils
  • Periods of hyperactivity followed by extreme drowsiness
  • Disorientation
  • A droopy and fatigued appearance, as if their arms are heavy

You might see some other signs of heroin use that are similar to addictions to other drugs such as slurred and garbled speech, hostility towards loved ones, poor hygiene, weight loss, and a sudden lack of interest in hobbies or their personal goals.

If someone is using heroin intravenously – that is, they use a syringe to inject the drug into their veins – you might also see needle marks on their arms or elsewhere on their body. They may even start to wear long-sleeved shirts more often to hide these marks.

It should also be noted that these symptoms aren’t only emblematic of heroin addiction. That being said, even if it is not heroin addiction, those signs are still highly indicative of drug abuse and treatment should still be sought out.

Heroin Withdrawal

In addition to knowing the signs of heroin use, you also need to be on the lookout for symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Some of these include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Intense cramps in the limbs
  • Insomnia
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea

Withdrawal from heavy long-term heroin use is very serious and can even be fatal in some cases. This is why it is so important that you seek medical attention for anybody who may be going through withdrawal. Heroin addiction is generally not something that someone can overcome on their own.

Seeking Help

Heroin is clearly one of the most dangerous street drugs out there and that is why it has developed the reputation it has, even among people who know next to nothing about drugs or addiction. Even though it can be difficult to determine that someone is using heroin as opposed to other drugs, it is imperative that you gently confront a loved one who may be addicted and encourage them to seek help.

If you or a loved one is abusing heroin or any other drugs or alcohol, know that there is help available to you. We at Discovery Institute specialize in heroin detox, treatment, cognitive therapy, and other addiction support services. To learn more about the programs that we offer or to seek help for yourself or a loved one, contact us today at 844-478-6563.

Artie Lange, A Portrait of Addiction

Artie Lange first appeared in comedy clubs starting in 1987, bringing joy and laughter audiences in New York and later the world with his unique style of humor. Going professional in 1990, he soon found himself in Las Angeles just five years later, cast as performer on the first season of the long-running sketch comedy show, Mad TV. Finding success in such a short period of time within an industry as difficult as show business is like hitting the lottery. For most people, it would be like being hired at multinational, multi-billion dollar company and within a year or two becoming the manager of an entire facility they operate. A promotion trajectory that is rare and comes with it an enormous amount of stress.

Whether his father’s death shortly to his first gig as a comedian or his incredibly quick success contributed to his drug use is his business, but that kind of stress cannot be ignored. By only the second season of Mad TV, he had left the show to enter rehab, one of the first of many visits to come.

His next career moves were only more prestigious with in the cut-throat comedy profession, returning to television with veteran comic Norm MacDonald on his television show The Norm Show and was hand-picked by Norm to co-star with him in the film Dirty Deeds. He was also hired as co-host of the Howard Stern show which became, tragically, a public documentary in real time on Artie’s addictions to cocaine and alcohol.

His successes were constantly being tested by his substance use disorder, to which the Howard Stern Show, a daily radio talk show hosted by shock-jockey Howard Stern, would at first simply ‘cover’ for Artie when he failed to appear when scheduled. Often times, he would show up and simply take a nap on the studio couch, either from suffering withdrawals attempting to quit using or suffering from a comedown from a previous binge.

After multiple incidents, host Howard Stern began divulging Artie’s behavior and problems with substance abuse, sometimes becoming angry at someone he respects and would often say considered a friend. Between 2001 and 2008, Artie attended rehab multiple times, getting sober and becoming visibly healthy but then would slip back into his drug use, each time becoming further and further debilitated by his body’s long term physiology change as addictions often disrupt the brain’s normal dopamine levels which contribute to both behavior patterns as well as sensations of pleasure. Often times, depression accompanies long term drug use as dopamine receptors require more than normal releases in order for a person to feel, well, normal.

To this day, Artie shows that addiction is a life long, chronic disease which many people find difficult to grasp looking in on from the outside. One of the most notorious side effects of extended cocaine usage is a collapsed septum, which recently Artie revealed had happened to him. After revealing his new profile, many of his colleagues and friends urged him to once again enter rehab.

Discovery InstituteHis is a story that shows addiction can happen to anyone, no matter how good of a life they lead, whether they are a terrible person or not, and that addiction is not something that a person can get treated like a broken leg; just a few months and everything is fine. It’s a chronic illness that requires attention every day to maintain a healthy and happy life. Drug rehab centers in NJ like Discovery Institute (844-478-6563) can help you or someone you love who is suffering from substance use disorder rediscover sober living in NJ. Discovery also offers detox programs as well.

Warning Signs That Your Loved One Is Addicted To Alcohol

You have possibly heard of these terms like alcoholism, alcohol addiction, alcohol dependence, and alcohol abuse. Maybe you even know that one in eight American adults, or 12% of the U.S. population, is addicted to alcohol. But how can you tell if someone is a binge drinker or simply a social drinker who occasionally drinks above recommended limits? Well, determining whether or not a person has a drinking problem is not easy, especially if you are not an expert. However, there are obvious warning signs that can tell your loved one is addicted to alcohol. Here are some of them.

 

Their Entire Social Life Revolves Around Alcohol

Do they only attend events where alcohol is allowed or available? Do their friend groups only consist of heavy drinkers? Do they avoid people who don’t drink? Well, these are common signs that your loved one has alcohol problems developing or waiting to develop.

 

They Drink To Feel Better Or Relax

Most alcohol addicts use alcohol for emotional reasons. Whether it is depression, stress, or anxiety, using alcohol as an emotional crutch is a very dangerous habit. The “relief” alcohol provides is only temporary and ordinarily does more harm than good. If your loved one drinks more when they’ve had a stressful day or drinks to feel better or relaxed, these are warning signs of alcoholism. You need to take him or her to alcohol rehab NJ for treatment.

 

They Don’t Seem Intoxicated

Try to drink along with your loved one or observe them as they drink their substance of choice. If they can drink for hours and not exhibit any signs of being intoxicated, this is a tell-tale sign that they are heavy drinkers. You need to help them before it gets worse.

 

They Blackout Regularly

Does your loved one drink so much that they have no memory of what they did or what had happened? This is another big sign that they are addicted to alcohol or developing an alcohol problem. Ask them what is driving them to drink excessively. The answers you get will enable you to come up with a strategy to help them fight their addiction. You may also seek help from alcohol rehab NJ.

 

Neglecting Their Responsibilities

If your loved one is having a problem with school, home, or office responsibilities because of their drinking habit, they have alcohol problems. Neglecting responsibilities is a clear sign that alcohol has evolved from an occasional indulgence to a substance that seriously impacts their day-to-day life.

 

Their Drinking Habit Is Hurting Relationships

This is closely related to the previous point, but it is in many ways more important. If your loved one’s drinking problem is causing relationship problems with significant other, close friends, or family, this is a sign that alcohol is more important to them than the people in their life. This sign shows they are heavy drinkers or are going beyond the problem-drinker stage.

If identify at least two of the signs highlighted above, your loved one may have alcohol use disorder. You need to seek help through alcohol rehab immediately – get in touch with us today.

Understanding the Role of Marijuana and LSD in Heavy Drug Addiction

According to many drug users interviewed in NJ detox centers, the slip into the world of illicit drugs began with marijuana. Marijuana has long been considered a gateway drug by every rehab in NJ because it is a drug that, of itself, does not produce fatal toxicity. However, as tolerance builds up to the THC in marijuana, users can become listless and susceptible to dealers who want to hook them on harder drugs.

Marijuana is also easy to lace with everything from formaldehyde to heroin. Drugs like PCP, in particular, are often combined with marijuana to enhance the experience. In fact, many heavy drug users consider marijuana a staple that can be combined to lessen the side-effects and enhance the experience of any other substance. As people get lazy and burnt out with marijuana, stimulants like LSD and cocaine seem like a bare necessity to revive them from the haze.

The Long-Term Dependency on Marijuana after LSD Use

Once users take LSD, they can feel an ongoing sense of anxiety and intensity from the residual effect of the potent drug. This is because LSD is usually not processed and cleaned into a pure state. The residual components and water-soluble crystals of LSD can accumulate in spinal fluid and emit small amounts of the drug. When you consider that a 12-hour dose of LSD can fit on the head of a pin, it is not surprising that this potent hallucinogenic drug can have lasting effects if retained residually in the body. It can also develop synaptic paths that trigger states of hyperconsciousness that other people don’t normally develop. Being hyperconscious is not always a good thing because it can make people afraid of little things in an intense manner by triggering the fight or flight mechanism.

The fight or flight mechanism is also known as the amygdala hijack because it stimulates this part of the brain and causes people to experience irrational fears. This can lead to paranoia and social anxiety even if experienced in a finite degree. For this reason, people who have taken LSD can find it hard to cope without marijuana. It is only when other difficulties with the socio-economic or degenerating health of the drug lifestyle become overwhelming that they can quit. Nevertheless, they may have problems concentrating and social anxiety that is hard to control. The CBD in marijuana helps to calm the nerves because it stimulates the natural CBD receptors that your brain uses to quiet down such hyperactive thought processes.

The popularity of LSD over the last few decades in the USA (from the ’60s generation and classic rock music) introduced this drug to millions of people. It is not surprising that marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes and decriminalized in many states. Nevertheless, for former heavy drug users, it is best to avoid even legal marijuana because they may eventually become tired of it and crave another, harder, substance. The best alternative to marijuana is for former users to find other relaxation methods that will help them escape the long-term anxiety that LSD use can generate. Those who are currently facing substance abuse issues should contact Discovery right away to learn more about fighting the addiction the right way.

Underestimating Meth is Definitely a Mistake

The opioid epidemic is the loud man on campus, but it doesn’t mean he is the biggest bully on campus. National Public Radio, or NPR, recently did a story on a small town in the United States that is finding that an old foe is rising again. In small towns and big cities across New Jersey and the United States, meth is taking its toll on communities and individual lives, but it is not for the first time in New Jersey, and it is not for the first time for the small middle of America town that the NPR story profiled.

Meth use dipped early this decade after lawmakers cut access to key ingredients — such as the over-the-counter decongestant pseudoephedrine. Siebert says it was about the same time that opioids took hold in the region. “Now that they’re hammering down on the opiates,” Siebert says, “guess what’s happening? Now the meth is coming back in”

It would be easy to think that the fact that no one is talking about meth means that less people are using it. Or maybe, that less talk about meth would make people use it less, would make it trend less – “out of sight out of mind” –  but according to experts, meth is starting to make a comeback and it is likely just the beginning of a fierce power play. In fact, meth usage has skyrocketed to be at an all time high in the nation. But why is this intoxicant coming back now? Experts have said that meth is less expensive, and more available than it ever has been. It is also more potent than it has been in the past. More for less is a hard bargain for an addict to pass up. The next question then is why is it cheaper and readily available? What has changed?

No longer chiefly made by “cooks” in makeshift labs in the U.S., methamphetamine is now the domain of Mexican drug cartels that are mass-producing high-quality quantities of the drug and pushing it into markets where it was previously unknown. But even in rural communities ravaged by decades of experience with the drug, meth is on the upswing thanks to its relatively low price, availability and a shortage of treatment options.

(https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/10/25/656192849/methamphetamine-roils-rural-towns-again-across-the-u-s)

 

Discovery InstituteThese are Signs & Symptoms Someone May Exhibit When Using Meth

  • Meth use often results in sudden and drastic weight loss. Though meth users lose weight, it is rarely due to a shift in dietary choices or a difference in the way the addict exercises. Meth makes users lose their urge to eat. Their appetite vanishes and their adrenaline rages. This lack of sustenance can result in muscles atrophying, malnutrition, and dysfunction of the neural functions. Weight loss, though, can actually be a motivating factor for some users, to continue taking the drug. This is the result of a society that puts physical appearance above physical wellbeing.
  • Meth addicts may begin to get tremors after they use the drug. A person’s muscles rely on certain nutrients to work properly – certain electrolytes that we lose while we sweat, when we urinate or lose body fluids in other ways. Electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and others are necessary for proper musculoskeletal function. Tremors also may occur as a result of meth related deterioration in the person’s nervous system.
  • The meth user may have compromised reflexes, also due to the person’s compromised nervous system.
  • Insomnia, abnormal sleep habits, and overwhelming fatigue can be caused by meth usage. Lack of sleep is one of the variables in a person’s life that can take an addict even deeper into the addiction rabbit hole than they already are. Exhaustion can itself cause devastating symptoms when it is severe. Meth addicts sometimes stay awake for days and often this aids in a dissent into a psychotic state often also facilitated by the binging of the drug.
  • Dehydration in meth users can result in split lips, skin irritation, low immune system functions among others. With dehydration, the nervous system can suffer dramatically.

 

Treatment For Sufferers of Meth Addiction at Top Rated Drug Rehab Centers in New Jersey

Though meth is an intense substance to become chemically dependent on, there is help for someone suffering. For someone who suffers from addiction to meth NJ detox centers have excellent treatment options available. Drug detox and rehab programs through Discovery Institute offer medical detox designed to be sure that the patient is medically stable as well as safe and supported while they go through the difficult experience of withdrawal Discovery Institute also offers individualized rehab programs. Rehab is designed to teach the patient the necessary skills to succeed at sober living in NJ.

To finally break free from the intense hold that meth can have on your life, whether you or a loved one is addicted to the substance, contact us at your earliest convenience. We’re ready to talk whenever you are.

Sedatives, A Lesser Known Prescription Addiction

Everyone in New Jersey these days knows that opioid prescription develops, more often than not, from a seemingly innocuous doctor’s prescription that has been given to someone for pain. That prescription often leads people to using heroin, or fentanyl which are strikingly deadly in nature and therefore monopolizing the drug related headlines these days and consequently the public’s knowledge of prescription addiction.  Sedatives, however, are also a prominent form of medication prescribed in New Jersey that can lead to a strong addiction when taken consistently for long periods of time or when taken outside of a doctor’s orders. The first exposure to sedatives can come by way of treatment for insomnia or anxiety disorders, but can lead to a chemical dependency that makes a person’s body dysfunctional when the drug is not used.

 

What Drugs are Sedative Hypnotics?

Sedatives slow down the central nervous system in order to slow down the body’s performance. They depress respiratory functions as well as cardiac function, for instance. These medications are prescribed for when someone has a hard time sleeping or for people who suffer from chronic anxiety disorders. They are meant to help a body’s systems relax and to stave off panic or anxiety. Some people take sedatives like Xanax for years and according to prescription guidelines, but if they begin to feel uncomfortable or “off” without the drug, there is a solid chance that an addiction is forming that must be treated at a New Jersey detox.

 

Commonly Prescribed Sedative Medications

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Librium
  • Klonopin
  • Phenobarbital
  • Ativan
  • Lunesta

 

Discovery InstituteSigns and Symptoms of Sedative Abuse

  • Slurred speech
  • Altered personality
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Confusion
  • Loss of cognitive ability
  • Lack of good judgment
  • Inability to focus on specific tasks

What is It Like To Withdrawal From Sedatives?

Some of the withdrawal symptoms are as follows:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle ache
  • Cardiac complications
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Numb extremities
  • Diarrhea
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Excessive sweating
  • Jaw tension

Everyone struggling with a substance addiction to a sedative will experience withdrawal symptoms differently, depending on many different variables, including but not limited to the person’s physical health, the amount of the drug they were giving themselves, how frequently they were using, or dual diagnosis, or co-occurring mental health disorder.

 

Treatment for Sedative Addiction at Detox Centers in NJ

Discovery Institute of New Jersey offers sedative addiction treatment like detox programs and rehab. New Jersey citizens are finding more so than ever that excellent treatment is available to them. At Discovery Institute someone who struggles with an addiction to a sedative like Xanax can go through withdrawal symptoms with a medical staff at their side and know that there are qualified therapists there to help them work through their psychological addiction as well as their physical symptoms. Being in a facility for detoxification, with people who you know you can trust will help you through the difficult process and the hard work recovery.

 

Call Discovery Institute today if you have questions about sedative addiction.