Facts About Alcoholism

Alcohol is one of the highly abused drugs around the world. According to the National Institutes of Health in 2012, more than 7.2 percent of adults have an alcohol abuse disorder. It corresponds to around 27 million individuals worldwide. Here are some alcoholism facts which every individual need to know-

It leads to short-term health hazards.
Abusing alcohol for short-term harm alcohol can cause severe damage to health apart from diseases. The injuries include accidents, homicides, falls, alcohol poisoning, sexual assaults. Individuals under the influence of alcoholism have inhibited judgments and decisions that can lead to harmful results.

It can also lead to long-term health effects.
The individual develops the medical conditions of long-term health hazards after the intake of alcohol for a quite long period of time. The hazards involve high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, digestive problems, memory loss, etc.

It relates to sexual assault and domestic violence.
Studies show that alcohol abuse is associated with sexual assault and domestic violence. But it doesn’t mean that alcohol abuse can make an individual do all these but force the individual to involve in these actions under alcohol influence.

Alcohol has effects on the fetus.
Pregnant women, if abuse alcohol, then they tend to put not only themselves in danger but also cause a risk to the unborn child. Abusing alcohol during pregnancy can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome leading to certain deformities in the child such as hyperactivity, difficulty in vision and hearing, poor coordination, heart problems.

It also affects children in the family.
Children of alcoholic parents are seen to have a higher risk of experience alcohol-related mental health issues. Since the parent here is too much involved in the addictive behavior, children here are more likely to experience repeated neglect, behavioral problems, relationship problems, emotional instability and various other mental health problems.

Genetics is not the only factor responsible for alcoholism.
A family history of alcoholics does put the child at a higher risk for alcoholism but there are also certain other factors such as environmental factors. These include peer pressure, the setting, parenting style, etc along with the genetic seen to contributing to alcoholism.

Alcohol abuse has caused around 5.9 percentage of deaths worldwide.
Alcoholism is one of the lifestyle-related cause of deaths worldwide.
According to the global survey in the year 2014, abusing alcohol caused around 3.3 millions of deaths per year.

Many people think alcohol addiction or alcoholism is a choice of the individual and fail to focus on the fact that not they are affected by it, but also affecting their loved ones.

Alcoholism is a brain disorder and not the matter of character. The above facts are provided with a hope to make people understand the effects of this addictive disorder. If you or your loved one is addicted to alcohol, then help their recovery from their addiction behavior as soon as possible.

Top Benefits of Seeking Help of a Rehabilitation Centre

If you or your close one is suffering from any physical disability or stroke, you may go through certain mental complexities. You can go to either mental anxiety or depression too. It is the right time to consider visiting the rehabilitation centre to get the best help. The professionals not only help you reduce stress and tension, he helps you to stay physically active for long. These centres help the patients to come back to normal life again. Each one of these organizations offer the services as per what the patients’ needs. Not only who are having mental anxiety can visit such organization, the experts working there show the right path towards life to the people.

If you are willing to visit one such organization stay away from all worries and tension then you should first know the benefits of visiting the rehabilitation organizations.

1. You will get more confidence

Whether you are a patient has a disability of heart problem or you are having chronic conditions, this can put an impact on your self-esteem. The right type of counselor will help you to improve your self-confidence and esteem. He will help you to take the right path towards your success. He will also help you to make more physically active by working with your body movements.

2. You will become more active in work

When you are visiting the rehab, the professionals working there will make you feel more active than before. This is a good reason you will visit the rehab organizations. If you were active in the past and the health issues in the present times, affect your lifestyle. You can get back the same level of the energy when you pay a visit to these organizations.

3. You can learn new skills

When you are visiting such counseling centres, you can able to learn new skills. This will help you to meet your target and self you more self-dependent. While you are pursuing the therapy, you can practice more when you are at home. This is one of the greatest benefits of pursuing the therapy from the professionals.

4. You will get less pain

When you are going through health issues, you are facing a lot of pain. This can hamper you in several ways. When you are taking help from the professional, you will feel less pain in your body. All the problems start vanishing in a natural way.

These are some of the benefits of visiting the counselor to get a better future. You can search online to find the best rehab near you.

7 Chronic Illnesses Linked to Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and addiction are clearly associated with a number of negative health effects that can lead to a lifetime of illness or even death. While drug and alcohol rehab can help to reverse some of these negative effects and improve an individual’s overall health and well-being over time, substance abuse causes immense damage to the body’s vital organs.

There are a wide variety of drugs abused and each of those substances will have varying effects on the body. Although these drugs will also affect each individual differently, here are seven of the most common chronic illnesses that have been linked to substance abuse and addiction.

    1. Heart Disease
      Most substances, including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, steroids, and tobacco (among many others) can cause irreversible damage to the cardiovascular system. The veins, arteries, and heart are all affected by the use of drugs and alcohol and substance abuse often causes abnormal heart rate, collapsed veins, and infection of the vessels and heart valves. Cardiovascular disease and heart attack may also cause death if the excessive use of addictive substances is not properly addressed within a drug and alcohol rehab setting.
    1. Lung Disease
      Commonly abused drugs like tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, cocaine, prescription opiates, and ketamine are just a few of the substances that can cause respiratory problems when smoked. Individuals who abuse these substances over a long period of time may develop issues within the respiratory system, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, and lung cancer.
    1. Mental Disorders
      Mental illness and substance abuse often occur simultaneously. In many instances, individuals who suffer from addiction also have mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, or personality disorders. While mental disorders can be both a cause and an effect of drug use, both issues must be treated separately during drug rehab to adequately address all aspects of the substance abuse and/or addiction.
    1. HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C
      Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C are often caused by shared or contaminated needles, a weakened immune system, or unprotected sexual activity. These diseases are commonly linked to the abuse of heroin, cocaine, steroids, methamphetamine, and prescription opioids. Getting the proper substance abuse treatment at a rehab center can help prevent the spread of these infectious diseases.
    1. Cancer
      It’s a well-known fact that tobacco smoke causes cancer of the lungs, mouth, throat, larynx, stomach, bladder, pancreas, kidney, and cervix, but several other addictive substances have also been linked to cancer as well. Consistent use of substances such as alcohol, steroids, and synthetic drugs have also been linked to cancers of several major bodily organs, including the pancreas, stomach, breasts, and liver.
    1. Dermatosis
      Abuse of amphetamines such as Adderall can cause skin diseases such as dermatosis. Injecting illicit drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, and heroin can also cause skin and soft tissue infections. This typically happens when a person uses non-sterile needles, injects harmful oral bacteria into the body after cleaning needles with saliva, or injects a drug directly beneath the skin instead of into a vein (also known as skin popping).
  1. Addiction
    Long-term use of any addictive substance such as alcohol or illicit drugs may result in addiction, which is defined as a chronic illness. While there are many factors that play a role in the development of addiction, consistent use of drugs and alcohol modifies the way the brain’s neurons send, receive, and process information. As a result, overcoming addiction is more than just an issue of willpower. Addiction is a disease that must be treated with evidence-based clinical therapies and medical practices within a supportive environment such as a rehab center.

Substance abuse has been linked to various other chronic illnesses in addition to those listed above, but these are just a few of the most common illnesses faced by those who suffer from severe substance abuse disorders and addiction.

Nova Recovery Center, a residential drug and alcohol treatment center in Texas, understands recovery is a continuous process. Our continuum of care is specifically designed for the highest possible outcomes for long-term sobriety. Contacting Nova is the first step to changing lives.

New Texas Law Makes It Tougher for Parents to Reclaim Their Children If They Relapse

I can see it in his eyes

when he comes creeping in.

He’s been somewhere he promised me

he’d never go again…

… This is our lives he’s tearing apart.

It’s not a funny game.

It’s destroyed our family and killed our love.

Because he loves “Cocaine.”

  • Source: Melissa Scott, Because He Loves Cocaine

The lines from the poem ‘Because He Loves Cocaine’ portrays the emotions running through a child living with a parent addicted to the deadly drug. As rightly mentioned, drugs don’t just affect the people dependent, but destroy their families too. The impact of parental drug abuse is particularly huge on the children. Being in a developmental and impressionable age, these children are forced to bear the brunt in numerous ways, such as cognitive decline, poor performance at school, development of risky behaviors, etc. Many a time, they become susceptible to violence and aggression, leading to fatal injuries.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that approximately 12 percent of American children (over 8.3 million kids) cohabitated with at least one parent or guardian dependent on drugs or alcohol between 2002 and 2007. Drug abuse by parents is a serious offense; most authorities in the child protection and judiciary consider it as a form of neglecting parental duties.

Since the entire journey from addiction to recovery can be extremely challenging, it becomes difficult for children to hold on to their parents addicted to drugs. Such children become emotionally vulnerable and run the risk of emulating their parents. Given the dangers of growing up with parents suffering from substance use disorders (SUD), various laws and measures have been promulgated by federal and state governments to ensure their safety and well-being. Irrespective of the state, authorities can use parental drug abuse as a qualifier for child abuse.

House Bill 85, the child protective law

One of the child protective laws of Texas, House Bill 85, is tough on parents who relapse during rehabilitation. The court in this case can apply for the termination of their rights toward their children. Though seen as an effective step against parental drug abuse, many people who have gone through the pain of separation of their children have cast serious doubts over the outcome.

Such a punitive measure can inflict major repercussions on both – the parent suffering from SUD and the child. The separation from their parents could be a harrowing experience for the children and vice versa. The trauma could affect their bearing in later life. Since children and adolescents are attached to their parents, taking them away to foster care could hamper their growth and development.

Studies have highlighted developmental issues in children growing up in such a surrounding, like mental health problems. Rather than being a healing process, it can turn out to be a distressing experience. In the absence of a stable environment and attachment as provided by parents, they witness problems in the short- and long-term development of the brain.

Moreover, parents who are estranged from their children are less likely to be motivated for recovery. As losing a child can be a big blow for any parent, they are more likely to fall back to their old ways again. Many people have mentioned the role of families in their recovery. Despite relapsing once or twice during the treatment, they were able to achieve sobriety due to the sheer love of their children. The goal of reuniting with their children and other loved ones helped them in overcoming addiction.

Happiness is in having a caring family

Regardless of the circumstances, any form of substance abuse does not arise because of the fault of an individual. It is a chronic illness of the brain that can be treated with the right intervention. It is common for an individual to suffer a relapse during rehabilitation, as the withdrawal pangs can become too severe for him or her. Moreover, detoxification and rehabilitation are complex processes that require time. Therefore, drug abuse cannot be addressed in one go.

Addiction usually starts with occasional use that soon turns into a serious habit. As an individual becomes dependent on any drug, the brain’s reward system changes, resulting in more frequent cravings, leading to negative impact on his or her ability to function at home or work. Drug addiction should be treated at the earliest through treatment programs that include pharmacological and psychological interventions.

Live Your Life With Love Instead Of Killing Yourself With Drugs

“Hey buddy. I am bored. Let’s smoke up some stuff ” – a very common thing to hear these days among youth of our country. Some say that it’s their ‘Swag’, some say that they feel like heaven after doing drugs, and others say that it just makes them feel relaxed. There are lot of reasons people give, so that they can justify their drug abuse. Whatever the reason may be, the root cause remains the same- Lack of Love. Now this love can be Self-Love, or lack of attention from parents and other caregivers. But people choose to do drugs, they are not compelled to use them.

People say that they feel “Light” after doing drugs, but the core reality is that it is a deep pit of darkness. It just drags you to its web and you get stuck there because you do not have a strong will power! All those who do drugs are emotionally weak people. And unlike what they think,they are not any higher in status, coolness or class or intelligence. Rather they are just like a rat trying to escape from the difficult situations of life. Sorry to put it that way, but we feel sorry for all those who choose drugs to find some refuge. That is not at all a good life; it is simply being dead with a living physical body. Most of the experiences you get while you are on the ‘so called’ Trip of Life, you actually cannot feel them after the effect of your drug is over. It would be the real enjoyable trip only if you can experience the same elation of emotions without any psychoactive substance.

Ancient scriptures say that getting imbibed upon any kind of drug is a sin. Because you lose your human sense and your animal urges become more powerful, which lead you into unhealthy ways of life- like gluttony, and getting dependent only upon bodily pleasures for fun. It makes you forget that you are a human and you need to walk by certain morals and principles of life. Most of the criminal records say that rapes, murders, robbery, theft are all done under the influence of narcotic substances. There have been many cases where people died while they were trying to get high, without the awareness of the amount they had already consumed due to their body tolerance for drugs and hence ended up overdosing!

There is definitely a need to see how beautiful life is! People need to get over with all their fears. They need to be bold enough to accept themselves the way they are and if they feel that there is a need to change, then they must take a step with courage to make it happen without drugs!

A rehabilitation center is considered to be a stigma these days. Yes, addiction is a filthy disease, but it is very important to get over it. Get yourself admitted in a good and a recognized rehabilitation center. What after all would be better? To see yourself or your loved ones destroy their life with drugs or to gain control over life with full confidence and live a sober healthy life!

Drugs are very dangerous for health- Both Mental and Physical Health. You lose the sense of discretion, you can’t make decisions anymore, you lose on your creativity slowly and over that, you miss out the most beautiful moments of life-with yourself, your family and your friends. If your loved ones are smoking weed and hash or loving the ‘Trip’ of LSD and saying that they are enjoying a great night life, they are already lying in their dark grave. They are far away from the beauty of life, because they have no realization of who they are, and what life actually is about. They have no purpose in life. They have no control of their life. It is drugs that control them.

If you do not want to be a person who would burn the whole world around just to light a cigarette and then dry up his own tears in the smoke that destroyed everything, if you want to find a real and a beautiful life, STOP DOING DRUGS!

Shafa Home in Rithala, New Delhi, is the largest and the only rehabilitation center in the country which is AFTC recognized. Therapeutic Community is applied to treat addiction with a focus on 4 phases: Medical, Psychological, Social and Spiritual. It is an unconventional treatment course where the addicts are taught to be responsible and understand their own selves as a living and loving being. They have represented India and Therapeutic Community’s use for treatment of drug addiction, in International Conference in the International Society.

Fear: A Friend Or A Foe For An Addict?

I remember that there were moral value classes in my school and it was decided that we would be taught Bhagwad Geeta to instill certain ethics in us, which would be beneficial in the long run. I would like to share the same here before we come to the main point. So there was a time when Lord Krishna told Arjun, who was supposed to fight for his territory, that he would be killed by his fears before he would even start fighting the war! So he was asked to gather all his strength and fight with full might- first with his fear and then with the opponent army.

The reason I have brought this point here is that fear indeed is the biggest enemy of human beings and most of the times we lose our life’s battles because of that. Now you must be thinking, how is it related to addiction?

Let us start connecting it with a few examples related to an addict’s life.

1. Sam is a weed addict, who has planned a trip to Goa. He plans to be there for 3 days and collects his substance according a week before he leaves. He scores 3 grams more than what he generally scores. Why?

2. Mike is a heroin addict. He is left with money just enough to reach college. He knows that he would not be given his pocket money before the new month starts. There are still 2 days left for that. He chases all his left stuff in one go, due to anxiety. Why?

3. There is an order from the court- No more cigarettes to be sold. Matt collects 100 boxes from different shops. Why?

Answer to all the questions remains the same and that is FEAR. Sam is scared, what if his weed gets over before his trip ends. Mike is scared, how would he sustain those two days and what if he does not get the money to buy more? Matt is scared, what if he won’t get his next stick of cigarette?

There are various fears that an addict holds. It is not just related to his substance, but various situations that he encounters in his life. And these fears might even display paradoxes like existence of fear of change and fear of constancy or no change! Fear of others and before that fear of oneself! Fear of non conformity in peer group and fear of relapse at the same time! So we can say that fear indeed is a powerful motivator. It can make any human do anything, rather it brings people in a Do Or Die situation.

Power to Make Your Fears Come True Can Be Used As The Power To Make Positive Assertions Come True Too

I have often heard this from people “Whatever you fear, it would definitely come true. But if you think of something positive, it might not come to pass.” It is a myth. It is all in your mind. If you have the energy to get your fears manifested into reality, then you can utilize the same amount of energy in getting positive things created.

Connecting it with addicts, they always have this fear that their trepidations are going to strike them hard in reality. They want to escape them.

We all work as per our convenience. So when an addict wants to take his substance, he would think of various alibis. He would speak about his bad experiences in life. But what about the ‘Bad Trips’ of drugs that he had? Would he ever say that I don’t want to do drugs anymore because I vomited and lost my senses after I took it? But yes, he would definitely say that I don’t want to feel happy without drugs, because if I do, I will lose my reason of happiness!

School of thought of Humanistic Existentialism says that we all have a purpose to live. There is nothing that humans do without a reason. Addicts consider all the negative reasons to live. They choose to keep themselves scared of happiness and joy without drugs.

What Needs To Be Actually Done Instead Of Fearing Situations

Recognition of Thoughts- reckon what exactly your thoughts and feelings are.

Gain Control Over Them- after you know accept your thoughts and feelings, you control them. It is your mind, so do not let it control you, but you control it.

Reason Them Out- since there would be various thoughts at a time, so you need to reason out with your understanding what their implication on your life could be or has been.

Look at the Practicality of Solutions Your Mind Gives- once you have seen what repercussions you have faced because of your actions, you must introspect with consequential thinking and give your thoughts a reality check to see the possibility of putting them down into practice.

In case of a Positive Response from the Mind, Get it into Reality- finally, if you think that there is something positive that you can practice, you must just do it.

We know that it is not that easy to change that fearful streak. But you have perfected your fear through constant practice, you can perfect confidence and taking the right decisions through practice too. You or your loved ones need rehabilitation if you think that there are too many fears bothering your or their mind and you or they are unable to quit using any psychoactive substance.

Try it at least. And see how well it works. You know, there is always light at the tunnel end.

The Role Of The Brain In Addiction

Technology has its mighty hand over every field in the world now. And since the base of technology is science, so how could medical sector not undergo changes! Neuroscience has always been an area of immense complexities and curiosities. Advances in this sector has allowed doctors to dig deeper into the brain and even study minutest of changes that happen due to substance intake.

When we talk about addiction as a brain disease, the reward system of the brain plays a very important role.

Physiologically, limbic system is the brain’s reward system. Mesolimbic and mesocortical pathways (Mid-brain) have our cognitive control and functions which would be both reward related and aversion related. Reward related functions are always stronger and more motivating than aversion, hence drug abuse behavior is stronger in addicts. The reward system connects certain structures in such a way that they generate the feeling of pleasure for certain behaviors or stimulus given to the body. In day-to-day life, it is activated by healthy, life-sustaining activities like eating and socializing. But ‘Drug Abuse’ is another behavior that generates euphoria, which is enjoyed by the mind. And human nature is to repeat those actions that give us some definite satisfaction. The limbic system does more than just giving a reward response. For any behavior to be reinforced, it has to be first registered as pleasant to the mind and body. Limbic system in the brain recognizes our positive and negative emotions, which very well explains, how our body and mind get dependent on any psychoactive mood altering substance.

However, with recent developments, neurobiology has been able to study how addiction is related to the brain. Researchers and scientists studied the brain’s reaction to different substances and discovered that drug abuse actually alters the chemical makeup of the brain, which is what causes addiction and they named it as a ‘Brain Disease.’

Since the brain is placed as the epicenter of human activity, it is the initiation point of every phenomenon that occurs. Whatever we feel, experience or think, all is first registered by the brain and within lesser than nanoseconds, it commands us to act. It communicates through neurons, neurotransmitters, receptors and transporters. Yes, it is very complicated and sounds mystical too (specially to people like me who have not studied biology after high school)

How do Drugs Affect the Brain?
Psychoactive substances interrupt with the communication systems of the brain. They interfere with the way a message is transmitted and sent to its defined destination. No matter how much people say that cannabis would not be called a drug, it is a plant, but the reality remains unchanged, which is, that everything has certain chemical composition. For example, Heroin and Marijuana’s chemical structure are like copies of a natural neurotransmitter. Amphetamines mimic catecholamine neurotransmitters, causing general physiological changes which prepare the body for physical activity and fight-or-flight response. So, the moment the body is intoxicated with a drug containing amphetamines or its derivatives, it starts reacting in unnatural ways by raising blood pressure, increased alertness resulting in sleeplessness, blood glucose levels. They can easily activate neurons, giving various directions to the body to react in a different way, than would a natural neurotransmitter would! Cocaine can make a person delirious, because it releases natural neurotransmitters in bulk and blocks the natural recycling process of neurotransmitters by the brain. Amphetamine causes drug tolerance very quickly and rapidly too.

Chronic addictive drug use causes alterations in the process by which information from a gene is used to synthesize a gene product- RNA or Protein. Nigrostriatal Pathway is a dopaminergic pathway that plays an extensive and unavoidable role in addiction. It comprises of Transcription Factor, which is a protein that controls what all information has to go from the DNA to the messenger RNA. Psychoactive substances block, many of the neural and behavioral alterations that are to be taken to the RNA. Altered dopamine transmission is the first thing that comes to notice in cases of drug abuse.

These have been many studies extensively done by medical science researchers on addiction. There is a wide range of chemicals that people use to reach a euphoric state. But the gist of it all is, that they play with the normal functioning of brain by altering the natural chemicals that ought to be there.

How Does the Reward System Work?
Whenever a person happens to do something that takes him to a different state of mind for a while, like reaching the oomph point in a sexually pleasurable activity, treating the taste buds with a new and a very different flavor or winning an excessive amount of money or any other valuable resource that he could use to be really rich, the brain takes it all in the same way. It activates the same gland and releases the same chemical Dopamine, which functions as a neurotransmitter, in all scenarios that seem to be pleasurable or exciting. Similarly, whenever the body receives an antibody that becomes too exciting for it like any drug, chemical or alcohol, the body releases certain amount of dopamine or cuts down its level. It is a problematic scenario is there is too much or too little of dopamine released by the brain. Drugs are addictive because they release up-to 10 times more dopamine than a natural neurotransmitter can! But when the body gets tolerant to the same drug and its amount, it can even cut down its normal release of dopamine!

The brain commands the body to engage more and more into activities that gives it pleasure. That is how drug addiction is a problem.

Physical and Psychological Effects of Heroin Abuse

Every day, at least 115 people die from an opioid overdose in the United States of America and around 4-6 percent people dependent on opioids switch to heroin, abused as a cheaper substitute to the prescription drugs. It is an illegal opioid prepared from poppy plant and listed as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). People with dried out prescriptions of painkillers resort to heroin, which is cheaper and easily available. It is smoked, snorted or injected for its euphoric effects.

According to the United Nations, the number of heroin users in the U.S. is the highest in last 20 years. Many drug dealers mix it with fentanyl and other fatal drugs to reduce the cost and increase the potency. Gullible users buy it thinking it’s pure heroin and end up suffering from deadly consequences. Sold in a number of forms, such as solid black chunks, white or brown powder or sticky black substance, heroin is fast in delivering its potent effects. It blocks the brain’s ability to perceive pain by depressing the central nervous system.

As it imitates the brain’s natural process of seeking pleasure, its preliminary experience can lead to tolerance, which slowly transitions to dependence and addiction. With time, more and more quantity of the drug is required to produce the same effects. Eventually, all that users care about is drug acquisition by any means. They isolate themselves from social obligations and personal responsibilities, and prefer to stay alone.

Heroin causes changes in white and gray matter of brain

Recurrent exposure to heroin is not only habit forming; it also starts affecting the white and gray matter of the brain, which in turn, starts affecting the hormonal and neuronal functions of the body. These changes cannot be undone easily. According to the researchers, exposure to heroin might result in the disruption of the brain’s white matter, which connects different regions of the brain with each other and facilitates the transmission of chemical and electrical signals. In the same manner, gray matter located in the regions controlling muscle movements and emotions, hearing, speech, sight, behavior and decision making is also affected by recurrent drug use.

It leads to a disruption in the gray matter volume in the frontal cortex region. This is the area where complicated thinking takes place and information is processed for recollecting and understanding. The disruption in white and gray matter regions of the brain can lead to long-term incongruences in the hormonal and neuronal systems and with repeated intake, the ability to react to stressful situations, make decisions and control behavior decreases.

In addition to short-term physical symptoms, heroin abuse can also lead to long-term health consequences, like increased risk of HIV and other infections due to shared needles, mental health issues like depression and paranoia, reproductive issues like irregular menstrual cycle, and damage to nose tissues due to snorting. Heroin abuse can also lead to troubled relationships, financial problems, legal battles, unemployment and homelessness. Some of the behavioral signs indicating heroin abuse and addiction could be stealing or borrowing money, and hostile or deceptive behavior.

When used in excess and for a longer period, the risk of overdose increases. Some of the overdose effects are depressed heart rate, slowed breathing (condition known as respiratory depression), coma and even death. When the user tries to abruptly stop drug use, it can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms manifested in the form of muscle and bone pain, nausea, agitation, insomnia, and vomiting, drug cravings, cold sweat, diarrhea and fever.

Treatment for drug abuse and mental issues

As heroin withdrawal can be enormously painful, it is sensible to seek treatment under the supervision of a medical professional at a rehab center. Chronic use of any drug requires care from trained and experienced specialists who can diagnose the underlying problem and administer the right recovery plan. The treatment may include detox, medication and behavioral therapies. When a drug user also suffers from a mental illness, it’s called co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. Both the conditions need to be treated simultaneously for complete recovery. Leaving one undiagnosed or untreated can worsen both the problems.

Role of Family in Addiction Recovery

We all are aware of the life and living cycle of a human being. Between birth and death, there is a lot that happens which shapes our identity. There are certain traits which are inbuilt or inherited and then there are some characters that we build as we go through certain states and situations, which add-on to our identity at various points of time. Now my question here is- What do you identify your first identity as?

Birth; your name given by your family; schooling on the basis of parents’ name; college on the basis of your parents’ name and your marks; your resume requires’ your family details; your bio-data for marriage needs your family details. So everywhere, the family stands first, which makes it your first identity.

The reason I am quoting this point is that family has its role everywhere. Even in addiction, it has its unequivocal involvement. Addiction is known as a Family Disease. It cannot be denied that family has its significant role to play in enabling addiction and ending it as well.

Once an addict has been treated and has started his journey of recovery, your role as family does not just end there. Rather it is just the beginning and you have to make sure that your loved one takes it to a long way. Without your knowledge and support, it is not going to be possible. There are certain definite steps that you as a family need to take, so that your whole family can enjoy a sober and happy recovery life.

Be Alert and On the Watch

Do not commit the same mistakes again. Having your emotions attached with someone might not be something that you can control, but a sure measure that can be taken is to keep them under your control.

You should not get over-emotional whenever your recovering addict is trying to get you in his trap. You must keep in mind, all the things he did previously. If there is an excess of any behavior, which you think, was previously used, to go for using substance, you must immediately get aware of it and take a tough step. You will have to let go your gullible nature and be more sagacious.

Be alert about his routine and daily activities. Trust him in what he is doing, but not so blindly that he would take you for a ride. Know that he is not supposed to take you for granted. Have all your questions answered about any kind of deviations that you see or hear of in a clear manner.

Always discuss whatever move he wants to make and then considering its practicality and profitability, you can decide to finance or support it. But do not get too much defensive and doubtful about his capability. That is a tough job, right?

Do Not Leave Him Free

‘Empty mind is devil’s workshop’. You must have been hearing this since your childhood. So when you leave him without any work or engagement in the family, he would drag himself to drugs/alcohol and maybe utilize his pent-up energy in using it in newer ways. Understand the line of his privacy and his alibis to use drugs in private, hiding from you. Show your full involvement in his talks and tasks. Make sure that he does not take anything casually. If he loses his sincerity and starts frittering away time, he would lose his awareness, which might turn out to be a reason for relapse. In treatment, they are taught many unwritten philosophies, such as No Free Meals and Being Aware Is Being Alive. They must practice them and for practicing them you need to be their role models too. Also, make sure that his circadian rhythm does not change, i.e. his sleep cycle and even eating habits remain healthy.

Be Emotionally Available

Always be emotionally available to him. There are times when we all feel low. Apparently, those who become addicts, their coping mechanism is automated towards drugs and alcohol or self harm only. So, whenever you see that your loved one is getting sad and negative about life, or has chosen the silent corner for himself for a persistent time period, you need to intervene. Cook for him and ask him to help, play good music, go out for a nice lunch or dinner, refresh some childhood memories. There are many things to do together. Treatment does not get over with the addict getting out of the rehabilitation center. Don’t take him lightly ever. He needs the feeling of love and belonging, more than anybody else needs. And at the same time, don’t commit this mistake of asking him to consume a little bit of alcohol or smoke once a while at social gatherings, thinking that might uplift his mood and you are keeping an eye on him, so he won’t go out of control. An addict can never settle at peanuts. He would get back to the same intensity again.

Don’t be Scared

Do not ignore his anger and over that, do not be scared of it. Don’t be scared of the self harm threats he would be driveling before you. If he is losing his calm over petty matters and snapping at everything you say, beware then. For it indicates that he is again going to use his substance. If you become submissive, which is what he wants, you will lose this battle with addiction. You have to practice Tough Love. Forget about what he used to do earlier when his wishes were not fulfilled. You do not have to be his Jinn again. He knows when to rub the lamp, but you need to decide whether your emotions have to come out or not, even if he is trying to be forceful. The moment you give-in and hand over your emotional control to him, he would relapse. No anger, no threats of self harm, no abuses shall work on you. You need to be stronger than him. Not all the time do you have to be pleasant with him and specially for his irrational demands and behaviors. Don’t let him overpower you. Identify when is he trying to do that. He cannot raise his unnecessary demands, financial/fake emotional/unimportant medical needs over your necessities and routine. He would be testing your patience most of the times. He would be trying to see if he still has control over you, so don’t give-in his tactics. Let him know that no drama would work in your house and on you.

Addictive behavior can be spotted in any phase of life. Those behaviors would be leading to relapse. For example, excessive shopping, which you might take as being normal to pamper self once a while; but if you see a large amount of money being wasted on shopping, you need to beware again. Spending too much of time on phone, internet, movies, and preferring to be isolated for long hours. Even eating too much is a sign of approaching relapse. These are just actions that a recovering addict takes as substitutes of his substance and to find his temporary solace. You can always call the rehab for help and continue going to Family Association Meetings. But being a family member of a recovering addict, Never Give Up.

Ways Schools Can Fight A Drug Menace

A combination of factors, including the ease with which drugs can be procured, alienation and peer pressure, is driving American teens toward their abuse. As a result, adolescents in high school and college do drugs on the sly. In dorm and frat parties, it has become customary to pool all drugs – stolen from elder’s medicine cabinets, or procured from vendors or pill mills – before going on the adventure ride of a collective high. However, this fun and adventure comes at a cost. As most teens doing drugs are aware of the implications of the misdemeanor once caught, they do not report to the authorities in case a peer overdoses, resulting in tragic loss of young lives.

The problem of drug abuse has spread its deadly tentacles across schools, posing a significant threat to the future of children in terms of impact on their health, academics, career and personal life. In the wake of such a serious implication on the future of the society, many schools, despite the paucity of funds, have put together programs for spreading awareness and keeping drug abuse under check. While some approaches rely on prohibition and punishment, others stress on education and rehabilitation. The objective is to keep drugs off the campus and establish a solid foundation to empower individuals to resist such temptations.

As youngsters prefer engagement to long boring lectures, some of the means adopted by the schools are as follows:

Disseminating knowledge through antidrug assemblies: Antidrug assemblies are engaging means to showcase the grim consequences of drug-seeking habit. With addiction treatment doctors and recovering patients turning up as guest lecturers, students can have a realistic picture of how drugs take them away from their loved ones and cause impairment of cognitive skills, such as difficulty following instructions. Students get the opportunity to clarify their doubts during such sessions.

Educating children as early as possible: Considering the fact that most youths start doing drugs, smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol in school days, or when they are on the cusp of adolescence, it is the best time to drive home the dangers of doing drugs and other addictive substances.

Conducting self-reliance programs: Children who are confident about themselves are less likely to take drugs. Therefore, some programs stress on building the child’s self-reliance in all sorts of social situations. This helps them even under adverse peer pressure to not succumb to the temptation of doing drugs and say no to such activities firmly. Such programs are effective even in the long run as they teach children some essential life skills necessary for abstaining from drugs, alcohol, etc.

Stocking antidotes: As it makes no sense to shy away from the truth that youngsters, especially those in college, will be doing drugs irrespective of the controls, authorities are advised to stock up their supply of opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

Engaging children from families grappling with addiction: Instead of isolating a child with a problematic family, including members addicted to drugs, it is essential to engage him or her in all school or college activities. Irrespective of whether the child reports late to school or has problems with homework, a concerned and supportive school environment will mitigate the chances of the child falling into the same addiction cycle. Children of drug addicted families could also participate as guest lecturers in antidrug assemblies.

Focusing on building teen assertiveness: With the help of a trained child counselor and other professional services, schools could focus on providing training to teens to develop their assertiveness and emotional control level. This is not only handy in career building, but could also help the teen realize his or her worth. Teens who feel sad and befuddled have greater risks of taking drugs to feel successful or empowered.

Get help for drug addiction

Children run the increased risk of falling into the trap of drug addiction due to their emotional vulnerability and undeveloped brain still in the process of developing the key cognitive skills. It becomes essential for parents and teachers to listen and talk to their fears and emotional upheavals, rather than ignoring them as their tantrums.