How Drug Use can Change Your Brain

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We’ve all seen the famous commercial where a man cracks an egg and drops it into a frying pan to show how drugs affect the brain. The ad ran for more than two decades to raise awareness on how drug use can severely impair the brain. But did you know just occasional drinking and drug use can cause your brain to physically change? Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine   recently discovered just occasional use of stimulant drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines and even prescription drugs like Adderall can cause neurological changes.

The study was based on brain scans and reaction tests taken by students between the ages of 18 to 24. The students were placed in front of a television monitor where either an X or an O would appear on the screen. If an X appeared, the students were instructed to press a left button immediately. If an O appeared, students pressed the right button.  If only a tone was heard, students were instructed not to press any button.  Students were divided into two groups. The first was for occasional stimulant users and the other was for those who have never taken a stimulant.  Each group was analyzed for different factors including alcohol dependency and mental health disorders.  Researchers concluded that not only do drugs affect the brain, certain brains are more likely to be more susceptible to drug addiction. Instead of the old commercial telling us this is your brain on drugs, the study identifies a brain that does drugs.  This indicates that substance abuse can be hardwired into your brains.

The results concluded the occasional stimulant users committed more mistakes and their performance regressed as opposed to those who are non-users.  Studies like this one can go a long way in ultimately identifying those who are more likely to fall victim to substance abuse. Drug and alcohol addiction is a disease. But it’s also preventable. If you’re suffering from a drug or alcohol dependency, it’s time to get immediate help. Call the Alcoholism Treatment Helpline in Elizabeth, NJ today and regain control of your life.

Recognizing The Signs of Addiction

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Millions of people use drugs and alcohol every day. But what makes someone an addict?  It’s a very complicated issue. There are different degrees of addiction.  It can be biological, learned, psychological and even cultural. Alcoholism Treatment Helpline Elizabeth, NJ takes a further look into the personality traits of an addict.

Therapists can often spot addictive tendencies right away. Addicts typically suffer from anxiety and depression. They may seem awkward, angry, inpatient and will ask for medications for no good reason. An addict is prone to making impulsive decisions, feeling alienated and isolated from society. Because addicts tend to drift away socially, they also tend to be deviant and avoid conforming to mainstream society.

People who become addicts value their substance more than anything in the world. They’ll often go to great lengths of lying about their whereabouts to find a discreet location to drink or do drugs. In many cases they’ll borrow and use money from family members and friends to purchase more drugs and alcohol. When confronted about their substance abuse, addicts tend to display anger and become defensive

Sometimes an addiction can go undiagnosed for years because not every addict is the same. Counselors at Drug Rehab Help have the challenging job of trying to help each patient to get the most out of their rehabilitation experience.  But there are some common traits addicts will go through in rehab. Alcoholics who fully complete rehabilitation with go through these five different stages.

·         An alcoholic is someone who continues a consistent pattern of abuse.  It can interfere and impair a person’s ability to function normally and deal with the demands of common social situations. People who fit this stage typically neglect their normal activities. They often show up late for work, fail to pay their bills or never meet their daily responsibilities.

·         A problem drinker doesn’t have the same consistency of drinking patterns as their alcoholic counterparts. Most problem drinkers tend to have passive-aggressive personalities.

·         The term dry drunk typically applies to people who stopped drinking. However they still display inconsistent behavior towards their friends, family and tend to be secretive and deceptive in social situations.

·         A sober person has completely stopped drinking and is able to break the pattern previously displayed as an alcoholic.

·         Past sober is the final stage of rehabilitation. This is a person who has stopped drinking and is able to avoid any of the self-destructive tendencies they originally had as an addict. They are able to function socially and have complete control over the triggers of addiction.

While many people may possess some of the traits listed above, they may not necessarily be addicts. Alcoholism Treatment Helpline Elizabeth, NJ believes each person has to be dealt with individually. But recognizing the traits of addiction early can reduce the chances of dangerous behavior from becoming routine. 

Addiction Recovery in Elizabeth

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It’s a scary thing when the medicines that are supposed to be helping us get healthy are actually dangerous and addictive killers. Prescription drugs are some of the most abused out there and many people don’t even realize they have a problem because they are just doing what a doctor instructed them to do. One drug in particular that’s been used and abused for decades is cough syrup containing promethazine and codeine. It grew in popularity thanks in part to the hip-hop/rap industry as popular artists began referencing the syrup in their rhymes. Known as “syrup” or “purple drank”, cough syrup is most often taken along with smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. The adverse health effects of abusing cough syrup are well documented and it does carry a potential for death.

Cough syrup with codeine and promethazine is an excellent remedy for a stubborn cough. However, its recreational properties make it a commonly abused drug. The most effective way to ingest the drug is to drink the syrup straight. Some dislike the strong taste and prefer to mix the syrup with a soda like Sprite or Mountain Dew. The carbonation of the soda also helps your body process the cough syrup faster for a longer and stronger high. The danger of the medicine lies in the codeine, which acts to depress the respiratory system. Codeine syrup has been the cause of death for several members of the hip-hop community, although in most cases other drugs played a factor in the death as well.

Cough syrup with codeine and promethazine has a high potential for addiction and abuse. Those who do abuse syrup are risking serious health problems both short and long term. Increased weight, tooth decay and significant drowsiness are all symptoms of someone using codeine syrup. If you or someone you know suffers from an addiction to drugs and alcohol, contact the Alcoholism Treatment Helpline in Elizabeth, NJ as soon as you possibly can. The trained addiction specialists have been helping people reach sobriety for years and can help you do the same. With help from a treatment center, getting clean has never been so easy to obtain. Call today for more information about how rehab can change a person’s life for the better.

Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

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Those struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol are often unaware that they even have a problem. How is this possible? Well many people abuse substances like alcohol in social settings which the addict then uses to justify their behavior. In some cases it takes an intervention from friends and family to help show a person how serious their drug and alcohol problem really is. Why wait for someone to help you when you are perfectly capable of helping yourself? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself which make shed some light on whether you have substance abuse issues or not.

  • How often do you use drugs and alcohol?
  • Do you drink or do drugs before work or school?
  • Do you use painkillers recreationally?
  • Do you feel the urge to try new drugs?
  • Does drinking interfere with your responsibilities?
  • Have you attempted to quit in the past?
  • Do you use first thing in the morning?
  • Do you have a mental illness like depression?

If you answered yes to one of these questions then you are at a higher risk for substance abuse. A yes doesn’t necessarily make you an addict however. This questionnaire is not meant to diagnose addiction, it is simply a point of reference for someone who thinks they may have a problem. Checking into an addiction rehab center like the Alcoholism Treatment Helpline in Elizabeth, NJ makes a lot of sense for someone who struggles with substance abuse. Experienced addiction counselors are on hand 24/7 to assist patients in reaching their ultimate goal of sobriety. Taking that first step in the process can be challenging, but once you start the road to a better life is easy to follow if you set your mind to it. Call a treatment center today for more information about substance abuse and addiction.

The Slippery Slope of Substance Abuse

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You’ve probably heard someone say that they have an addictive personality. If you were confused by what they meant, never fear because a new study had nailed down what exactly that means. The study was conducted in order to examine how best to prevent adolescents from experimenting with alcohol. Basically, the researchers were able to isolate four personality traits which play a major role in a person becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s not to say that only people with the following personality traits will become drug addicts, far from it in fact. However, those who identify with the traits were more likely to develop substance abuse issues. It’s important for people who have a problem with drugs or alcohol to get help from an addiction treatment facility as soon as possible.

The first personality trait which was linked to substance abuse was people who feel helpless. This is a broad category because people can feel helpless for a variety of different reasons. It could be an issue with a family member or friend. It could stem from work or a relationship. Regardless of what causes these feelings of helplessness, people all seem to gravitate towards having a few drinks to calm down a little bit. Eventually those couple of drinks turn into a lot more and before you know it, you have a serious problem with alcohol. Helplessness and depression are ugly cousins and can both factor into a person’s drinking.

Being impulsive is another personality trait which can lead to substance abuse issues. Impulsivity means that you act before you think. This is very common when it comes to food. Drinking is another aspect where being impulsive is detrimental. Someone may decide to start drinking on an impulse before thinking about the consequences. They may have work or school early the next morning but they act first rather than thinking. Being impulsive can also be a sign of attention disorders such as ADHD.

Anxiety is another trait which can drive someone to drink. It’s completely natural to worry, everyone does it. However, when worrying grows to consume your every waking moment, people often turn to drinking in order to control their emotions. Or rather, achieve the allusion of control. Someone’s anxiety may grow less when they drink, but it often comes back even stronger when they sober up. This can lead to someone drinking more and more as a form of escape.

Thrill-seeking is the fourth and final personality trait associated with substance abuse. It’s certainly fun to drink, ask any college student. However, those who drink are seeking to have new experiences and the use the alcohol as the fuel to do so. Drinking is initially enticing because it is illegal to do so until you are 21 years old. Young adults who drink before coming of age do so in part because it’s against the rules. They associate drinking as a thrilling activity even after turning 21. If you or someone you know struggles with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, contact the Alcoholism Treatment Helpline in Elizabeth, NJ right away.

Alcoholism Treatment Helpline Elizabeth, NJ; The Risks of Binge Drinking.

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Walk around any college campus on a Friday or Saturday night and you’re bound to see students engaging in a behavior known as binge drinking. It’s common for people to drink socially, but binge drinking and social drinking is often mistaken for the same thing when really they are very different. Social drinking is done in a casual setting with other people. The point of casual drinking is not to get drunk, but to enjoy the company of other people. Since binge drinking is often done in groups, people tend to mistake it for social drinking. The whole point of binge drinking is to get as drunk as possible. Social drinking is used to mark an occasion, like a wedding or a birthday. Binge drinking marks no occasion at all.

There are numerous risks when it comes to binge drinking. While the long term effects of alcoholism are well documented, the short term risks of binge drinking are just as dangerous. Risks such as unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and personal injury are all very high when a person is binge drinking. The reason being that alcohol impairs judgment, so a person will make decisions that they normally wouldn’t make, like have unprotected sex for example. People are also more likely to be violent and irrational when they are drunk. Binge drinking and clouded judgment go together like two peas in a pod.

There are long term effects on the nervous system as well. Binge drinkers often have memory impairment, problems with information recall, and in some cases irreversible brain damage. Binge drinking tends to be worse among adolescents in college, particularly those who are recently legal drinkers. Many schools are attempting to combat binge drinking by educating students on how dangerous it can be. They are targeting men in particular because they are at a much higher risk to binge drink than women. The majority of those asked said they binge drink because it’s really fun.

Alcohol is one of the most addictive substances out there. Those who binge drink at an early age are far more likely to continue their unhealthy drinking habits into adulthood. The long term health risks of drinking can substantially shorten a person’s life. If you or someone you know struggles with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please contact the Alcoholism Treatment Helpline in Elizabeth, NJ as soon as you can. The experienced addiction counselors have the most up to date training when it comes to helping someone reach sobriety.

Alcoholism Treatment Helpline Elizabeth, NJ; Everyone Makes Mistakes.

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It’s no secret that teenagers don’t like following the rules. It’s almost like if you tell a teenager to do something, they will turn around and do the exact opposite. It’s not designated to the teenage sons and daughter of average Joes either, the children of the rich and famous can break the rules too. Rand Paul, a U.S. Senator from Kentucky and son of perpetual presidential candidate Ron Paul, found out the hard way the sometimes teenagers make poor choices. Rand’s own son, 19 year old William Paul, was recently arrested at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. The charges were underage drinking, disorderly conduct and assault. Reports are saying the William was clearly intoxicated on the flight and was involved in some sort of altercation with a 22 year old stewardess while flying from North Carolina back home to Kentucky. Details are sparse, but you have to assume that if William had not be drinking illegally, he may have used better judgment on the flight. Alcohol is known to inhibit one’s decision making abilities and teens are not known for making the best choices in the first place.

William’s case is nothing new. Teenagers make poor decisions on a daily basis, but his status as the son and grandson of two well-known politicians makes his case stand out. The drinking age may be 21, but kids in high school and sometimes even younger always seem to find a way to acquire alcohol. Sometimes it can occur through an older sibling or friend, other times a teen may have a fake ID, and in some cases it is even provided by parents. Teens are very susceptible to peer pressure and that can lead to poor decisions involving alcohol. Drinking is a problem, but the results of drinking can be disastrous. Not only does alcohol have a negative effect on growing bodies, but it is also a factor in car accidents, altercations with others, and unsafe sex.

Educating teens about alcohol use is not widespread enough to be effective. The responsibility to teach children about alcohol falls squarely on the shoulders of their parents. Studies show that talking to your kids early and often about alcohol use and its consequences is one of the most effective ways to prevent children from experimenting with alcohol and drugs. Those who begin using alcohol and drugs at an early age are far more likely to have substance abuse issues into adulthood. Prolonged alcohol use causes serous health issues such as liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure and even cancer. Alcohol is extremely addictive and stopping can be very difficult particularly if someone began drinking at a young age. If you know someone who struggles with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, call the counselors at Alcoholism Treatment Helpline in Elizabeth, NJ right away. It could help save a life, or at the very least prevent someone from making a decision like Senator Paul’s son.