Addiction Information and Statistics
There is a disease that affects more than 40 million Americans. I’m not talking about cancer or even the AID’s virus. I’m speaking about the disease of addiction. Sadly, only a small percentage of those afflicted by this disease end up seeking help or treatment. Addiction can be overcome, but it takes time and rehabilitation, usually within treatment centers. Throughout drug rehabs across the nation, specialists and skilled counselors, many of whom are recovering alcoholics and addicts themselves, are present to assist addicts in their recovery. It’s time for you to make the big decision to call one of our counselors and speak with them about our treatment options and our highly acclaimed counseling.
Is There a Cure for Addiction?
Can an addict learn to control their addictive behavior? What are the causes and can it be prevented? This is a complicated disease of the brain. So, the answer to these and other common questions is yes, no, and it depends on. An addict suffers from the compulsive need for a habit-forming substance or behavior.
Addiction is defined as the “persistent compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance or the practice of something that is psychologically habit-forming, a chronic disease of the brain that leads to individual biological, psychological, social, and spiritual dysfunction reflected by the pathological pursuit of the reward or relief in the form of a substance or behavior.” Because what motivates an addict is his/her drug or behavior, the only real prevention is abstinence. There exist these types to all kinds of different things. Because we don’t live in a perfect world, some are more harmful than others, but each bears its level of pursuance and degree of necessity for the addict.
The complexity of this disease and overcoming it and the devastating effects are the ultimate goals so many addicts are trying to reach. Let’s take a look at some of the different levels of abuse and how they affect the lives of the addict and their loved ones. Of the most likely things to become quickly addicted to are narcotic pain relievers in the form of opioids. Among the most commonly prescribed opioids are codeine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Methadone (often used to treat heroin addicts), Morphine, and Oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin). Doctors prescribe these medications to treat moderate to severe pain. Many people quickly become addicted to these drugs as they are often prescribed in around-the-clock dosages. This allows the body to get accustomed to the opiate very quickly. Those who are aware that they have an addictive personality probably should not take these medications.
Behavioral Addiction Information
There are also all types of behavioral addictions. Symptomatic behavioral dysfunctions are disorders that cause one to become addicted to the compulsive behavior, for instance, excessive gambling. Even if a compulsive gambler loses everything they have, they still can’t stop the impulse to gamble. Too often, this comes at the expense of the player losing his friends and family as a result. Other frequently observed behavioral problems include those having to do with sex and pornography, shopping, cutting oneself, and food. This often goes hand in hand as one part of what is known as a dual diagnosis, the other being some type of eating disorders. The eating disorder that a food addict will most likely suffer from is bulimia which causes one to overeat excessively and then force the expulsion of the food they consumed before digestion or “binging” and “purging” as it is more commonly referred.
The Deadly Effects of Eating Disorders
The effects of bulimia on the body are very harsh. It regularly transforms otherwise healthy women and girls into extremely unhealthy remnants of themselves very quickly. Body dysmorphic disorders such as these cause women and girls to believe that they are overweight or fat when in actuality they are not. They take the extreme measures they deem necessary to lose weight and therefore, appear more appealing to others. The obvious result of such extreme behaviors is the effect it has on the body, malnutrition, which causes the lowering of the body temperature resulting in dehydration. The body will then begin suffering from a drop in blood pressure possibly causing hypotension, respiratory infections, blindness, organ failure, and eventually death to those who do not seek treatment. Considering how many deaths are caused by bulimia each year, young women and girls should be careful how they choose to diet and lose weight.
Dual Diagnosis Information
A dual diagnosis is a typical result for those suffering from being addicted to alcohol and illegal street drugs. We must remember at all times that this is a nondiscriminatory disease that can affect anyone regardless of race or color. This can have an impact on a chronic user irrespective of ethnicity or creed, whether you are a man or a woman, husband, father, mother, or wife. It doesn’t care how old you are or how educated. Addiction could care less about your sexual orientation, whether you’re straight or gay. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, famous or unknown; it is a disease that affects the mind, body, and soul of an individual.
The Drugs of Abuse
Many addicts suffering from alcoholism also suffer from some form of mental illness, as well as the compounding of other drugs of abuse. In fact, so many cases of drug addiction began with a person who was a victim of abuse as a child and ended up on the street as a result. Many of our homeless people turn up in shelters consumed by drug users. Drug dealers prey on the misfortune of these individuals, and they soon become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Many of these users never get help with their problem. Do you know someone who needs help before it’s too late? Highly addictive and the most commonly abused street drugs are heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. They are too easily attainable, and their easy access makes controlling them tough for law enforcement, and incredibly complicated to treat once addicted. The success rate of treatment for substance abuse is sad, very small, but if a user wants to get help, treatment is available. The problem is that once an addict is hooked on amphetamines, heroin, or cocaine (specifically crack cocaine), it’s harder to stop using the drug. The body has already developed the physiological need for it, and without it, an addict will show signs of withdrawal or suffer physical pain. Most addicts find it more pleasant to keep using rather than go through the effects of withdrawal, and recovery becomes further out of reach for them. Addicts who are brave enough to enter into recovery are the lucky ones. They are given a second chance at life. Once a recovering addict gets through the early stages of recovery, they will eventually begin the slow process of healing.
Recovering from a Life of Addiction
Depending on their drug of choice, many addicts not only have to recover from the initial after- effects of not using their drug of choice, but they now are experiencing a broad range of other related health problems caused by so many years of using. Many addicts contract STD’s, hepatitis, or severe heart problems because of their prolonged drug use. Prolonged use of these drugs has even caused many addicts to have a heart attack or stroke, and yet they continued to use. Most don’t even realize the extent of the damage they have done to their bodies until they get clean. Addicts who used these types of abusive drugs become malnourished from not eating enough. They develop tooth decay and skin irritations due to the compulsive digging and scratching of the skin. They have done permanent damage to their bodies that have changed the way they look and feel about themselves. Through the process of recovery, this can be dealt with, and addicts can begin to feel like themselves again. Acceptance plays a big part in understanding the changes that have taken place in the body of the user. An addict must resign themselves to the fact that they may never look the way they once did. It is exceptionally difficult for addicts to come to terms with this.
Facts and Information About Addiction
Often, other roadblocks to recovery for an addict that is tough to accept are those horrible things the addict may have done. Many can’t forgive themselves once their conscience is restored through the process of addiction recovery. They feel if they can’t forgive themselves, how can anyone else possibly forgive them for their wrongdoings? These feelings of inadequacy often lead addicts to relapse, go right back to “getting high.” It is important for an addict to understand that the whole process of recovery takes time. After all, it didn’t develop overnight, and it took prolonged use of the drugs they were using to enter into the disease. Just the same, recovery doesn’t happen overnight either. Patience is necessary to recover fully.
The answers to questions about this problem about how or why are not always black and white. What areas of treatment and counseling that works for one addict may not necessarily work for another. Alcoholism is by far the most common problem in this country. It affects over 20 million people in the United States alone. Over 60% of alcoholics have a history of alcoholism in their family. Unfortunately, 90% of recorded child abuse cases are the result of alcoholism. Believe it or not, alcohol is the most difficult problem to kick. Addiction affects the body in the most detrimental of ways, and it is the only actual “drug” that if stopped “cold turkey” can sometimes cause the death of an alcoholic. This can happen unfortunately due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms and how chemically dependent the alcoholic is of alcohol. Because often taking another drink is less painful to an alcoholic than not taking one, it makes it harder for an alcoholic to quit on their own without assistance and support. It takes carefully monitored medical treatment in a qualified alcohol addiction treatment facility to aid the extremely dependent alcoholic to stop drinking successfully. Otherwise, a severe alcoholic can develop hallucinations or go into convulsions or even have a seizure. These are very dangerous symptoms associated with what is called delirium tremens, or DT’s as they are often referred to.
While an extremely dependent alcoholic is braving the process of quitting drinking, they must be under the monitored care of those qualified to treat the other various health problems associated with alcoholism. There is one disease that is a direct result of excessive alcohol abuse, and that is cirrhosis of the liver. To catch it in time could prove to be fruitful as the liver does have the capability to regenerate proper function; however, other significant problems can occur along with it. Alcohol abuse doesn’t just compromise the liver, it can also affect the function of the kidneys, digestive health, cause jaundice or anemia. Diabetes can further complicate the health of an alcoholic. A recovering alcoholic is strongly advised to eat well and regularly and above all else, continue not to drink.
Are You Ready to Take the Steps Towards Recovery?
Regardless of all the health risks, an addict won’t stop using until they are willing. Often, they won’t even seek the aid of a treatment center or clinic unless otherwise ordered by the court. Many are habitual offenders who have exhausted every other means of trying to get clean. Whether forced to or not, an addict can’t kick the habit of drug and alcohol abuse alone. National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Hotlines and Information Centers are set up all over the country. Our helpline operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for those who need advice about the dangers of alcoholism and substance abuse and the adverse effects that it has on the addict and their families. Help is out there waiting to be given to anyone wishing to stop using. There are numerous services also available to those who are dealing with this problem in the family that is just a phone call away. It’s time for you to get help before it’s too late. We are here to offer you help in your search for the addiction cure, and we will also provide assistance in your loved ones’ intervention.