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Alcoholic and Drug Addict Reactions to Trouble

by James Heller 9. November 2009 13:29
Alcoholics and drug addicts take action when faced with trouble.  The only problem is in the solution they choose.  They choose to escape from trouble by drinking alcohol or using drugs.  The reason is that the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction is marked by the lack of a defense mechanism in the brain.

A basic example would be if you are walking down a hall at work, and a co-worker accidentally bumps into you.  In most cases a simple “excuse me” and “no problem” would end the innocent occurrence.  But alcoholics and addicts can only rarely just let it go without some time to dwell on why it happened.  They believe that something must have caused it.

That innocent bump in the hall can become an obsession in the mind of an alcoholic or drug addict, and turn into a belief that he is going to be fired.  This process of turning a mountain into a mole hill plagues them every day, and they believe it is normal.  This makes life appear to be an uphill battle, with everyone against them.

Alcohol and drugs temporarily ease the tension and bury the feelings of frustration.  But it all comes back as the effects wear off, and the need to defend against the mounting pain grows.  Drinking alcohol and using drugs as a defense becomes a habit through learned behavior, and is cherished as the only answer.

It is an important aspect of the disease to understand, while it may seem silly to some that believe alcoholics and drug addicts are weak.  And from a certain perspective it is a weakness.  The point is not to excuse the behavior of individuals with the disease.  It is simply to help those suffering from the disease to understand, and bring awareness to their loved ones.

The lack of a defense mechanism is one of many disease components.  Pace University has posted an article that includes it as part of a detailed look at alcoholism and drug addiction.  A portion of the article that relates to adolescent alcohol and drug abuse is below, followed by the link to the full version.

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Students give many different reasons why they may drink. Some students say they drink because of peer pressure and to be part of a crowd. Some use alcohol to avoid difficult situations that may arise at school and work and with family and friends. Others use alcohol to avoid uncomfortable feelings, like anxiety or sadness. Anyone who drinks runs the risk of developing an alcohol problem. A serious problem can develop quickly, especially among college students.

-- Source: http://www.pace.edu/page.cfm?doc_id=5117

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides addiction counseling during medical detoxification as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  We also provide teen alcohol and drug treatment services.  If you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Understanding Teen Prescription Drug Abuse

by James Heller 6. November 2009 13:22
There are several reasons that teens engage in prescription drug abuse.  The obvious one is peer pressure.  But while peer pressure has great influence where adolescent prescription drug abuse is concerned, it is less effective when parents take positive action.  Action starts with knowledge, and parents should know that boredom and a low-risk perception are also reasons for use.

We all know that the mind of a teen is in constant input mode and output is often abrupt and random.  They are always looking for something to do, consciously or sup-consciously.  So, for many, drug abuse is an escape from that turmoil.  If teens are encouraged to be involved in positive activities boredom has less time to set in.

Most teens will not turn to alcohol or drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin because they understand the risks that come from alcohol abuse and drug abuse.  But many of those same teens report in surveys that they see little or no risk in using prescription drugs recreationally.  Parents need to educate the youth of our society about the truth.

There is no guarantee that talking to your teens will prevent them from prescription drug abuse.  But if they don’t hear about the risks, they will only have peer pressure as input.  Remember that every little thing you say plants a seed that will grow with their experiences.  And most teens that see risks with alcohol and illegal drugs will make the risk connection in their minds.

Lassen County News posted an article about the teen prescription drug abuse problem in their California County.  The excerpt below offers tips for parents to identify when teens are using prescription drugs.  The full article link follows the excerpt.

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Signs parents should look for
Goodridge provided signs parents should look for to help determine if their child might be having a reaction to prescription drugs.

He said if a teen is awake when they are supposed to be sleeping or sleeping when they should be awake, that could be a side effect of a prescription drug.

If a teen comes home looking pale, clammy and has shallow breathing, parents need to call 911.

Opioids can depress breathing, but if a person has combined the drugs with medication such as Xanax, Avidan or alcohol, it can make the symptoms worse, Goodridge said.

Parents should also be watchful if their child is withdrawing from activities they normally enjoy, or if all at once the friends they hang out with have a sudden change in behavior, then Goodridge said parents need to start asking questions. The changes might not even be drug-related, but something is probably going on, he said.

-- Source: http://www.lassennews.com/News_Story.edi?sid=5894&mode=thread&order=0

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment with prescription drug detox as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  If you or a loved one has a problem with prescription drugs, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Understanding Alcoholism and Drug Addiction - Denial

by James Heller 29. October 2009 10:53
People have a hard time understanding why loved ones suffering from alcohol dependence or drug addiction wait so long to enter alcohol and drug treatment.  A major reason for this is denial of reality.  As bad as things look to the outsider, alcoholics and drug addicts just don’t see it.

Denial should not be compared to a blindfold.  It’s more like blinders on a racehorse.  Alcoholics and drug addicts are well aware of the problems they face in life.  But they are incapable of accepting the consequences they suffer because alcohol and drugs are an important part of their lives.  As far as they are concerned, alcohol or drugs are a solution and far from a problem.

It comes from a belief that absent their calming substance things would be much worse, not better.  When a thought that problems stem from alcohol or drugs begin to enter their minds, it is quickly dismissed as preposterous.  There is a tunnel vision that temporarily pushes these thoughts out of sight along with all of the problems that need to be solved.

Even deeper in their psyche is an incapability to deal with emotions.  Denial protects alcoholics and addicts from feelings.  When they are confronted by a loved one, they will run to the comfort of alcohol or drugs to “clear their heads”.  The escape from emotions is a comfort.  In fact, it is usually the only comfort they have.  

This cycle is never-ending because alcohol and drugs are both the solution and problem for the alcoholic and addict.  But the solution illusion always wins in their minds.  Thus, they will not seek alcohol and drug treatment until problems are insurmountable or the family calls for an intervention.

Sadly, it takes a shock to the system to drag the alcoholic and drug addict into reality.  Once denial is shattered they may feel lost, so care must be taken to avoid provoking them back to denial.  The best bet is to be firm with the shock, but have loving arms to catch them when they fall.  Then immediately contact an alcohol and drug treatment center.

Drug-addiction.com, an informative website, posted an article a few years back that offers a glimpse at the problem of denial with the disease.  The portion excerpted below shows pertinent statistics, and the full article offers some additional insight.

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According to the results of the survey, of the 5.0 million people who needed but did not receive treatment in 2001, an estimated 377,000 reported that they felt they needed treatment for their drug problem. This includes an estimated 101,000 who reported that they made an effort but were unable to get treatment and 276,000 who reported making no effort to get treatment.

"We have a large and growing denial gap when it comes to drug abuse and dependency in this country," said John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "We have a responsibility--as family members, employers, physicians, educators, religious leaders, neighbors, colleagues, and friends--to reach out to help these people. We must find ways to lead them back to drug free lives. And the earlier we reach them, the greater will be our likelihood of success."

-- Source: http://www.drug-addiction.com/drugs_and_denial.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles can help with intervention as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcoholism or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Understanding Cocaine Addiction from the Vaccine

by James Heller 9. October 2009 11:57
People who don’t suffer from drug addiction, and most who do, do not understand the process of this disease.  Even if they are curious, it seems like a daunting task to even begin learning about how the addicted brain works.  So it is fortunate that the potential cocaine vaccine is in the news because the information is currently widely available.

Many individuals are content with the knowledge that drug addiction is a physical and psychological disease that operates on obsessions and cravings, if that much.  When the disease hits home, though, that information just doesn’t seem enough.  By then their attention is focused on the visible problem rather than the processes that make it happen.

As interest grows among the general public, more will be written and reported about the cocaine vaccine.  Each new article reveals a piece of the puzzle that makes up the processes of the addicted brain.  This is important for those seeking understanding because the research is bringing many facts to light about the underlying disease of addiction in an easy-to-read manner.  

A basic understanding of the normal brain processes may be necessary in reading some articles.  But most articles on the subject are taking that fact into account and giving brief explanations.  So just starting to read articles about the cocaine vaccine should yield better understanding of the disease of addiction.

An article has been posted on Sciencedaily.com about computer models of cocaine addicts’ brains.  A portion is copied below.  It is a good example of an article that may seem complex, but is understandable and can encourage further reading.

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Glutamate is the major chemical released in the synaptic connections in the brain; the right amount present determines the activity of those connections. Using the computational model, MU researchers found that in an addict’s brain excessive glutamate produced in the pleasure center makes the brain’s mechanisms unable to regulate themselves and creates permanent damage, making cocaine addiction a disease that is more than just a behavioral change.

“Our model showed that the glutamate transporters, a protein present around these connections that remove glutamate, are almost 40 percent less functional after chronic cocaine usage,” Mohan said. “This damage is long lasting, and there is no way for the brain to regulate itself. Thus, the brain structure in this context actually changes in cocaine addicts.”

-- Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090922160104.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides addiction education and medication assisted treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.