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Among active duty service members and veterans, alcohol and prescription drug abuse is higher than in the general population. Many of these soldiers and veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression. PTSD and depression may be caused by exposure to combat, multiple deployments, or sexual abuse. PTSD places veterans at higher risk for addiction.
A 2008 survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans found that 13.8% suffered from PTSD. Common symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks to traumatic events, memory impairments, poor self-esteem, insomnia, difficulty managing relationships, aggressive behaviors, hopelessness, attention deficits, and self-harm. It is estimated that 20% of veterans with PTSD also suffer from dependence on drugs or alcohol.
Veterans with depression, PTSD, and injury-related pain are often prescribed medications that are highly addictive. The most common types of addictive prescription drugs are painkillers, Benzodiazepines, and sedatives. Prescriptions of this sort may initiate a serious drug addiction. In 2009, military doctors prescribed painkillers to 3.8 million soldiers.
Even in the absence of prescription drugs, the preponderance of alcohol abuse in the military places veterans at increased risk of addiction. One survey revealed that 20% of service members binge drink at least once weekly, and the rate increased for those with combat experience. Between 2003 and 2009 there was a 56% increase in soldiers receiving treatment for addiction to alcohol.
Many veterans who were prescribed addictive medications for pain and PTSD eventually turn to illicit drugs such as heroin, which is cheaper and easier to obtain.
The combination of PTSD and addiction complicates treatment for veterans. Unfortunately, they are at higher risk for relapse. It’s important for veterans to find addiction treatment programs that focus on treating addiction issues in conjunction with appropriate treatments for PTSD.
Veterans do have more treatment options available to them than the average civilian, however, the waiting list for assistance through the Department of Veteran Affairs is long and treatment cannot wait. If you or someone you love is a veteran currently struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, please call immediately for assistance.
Substance abuse and addictions often starts during adolescence. Teens are prone to developing addiction quickly because their brain is still physically maturing.
The earlier a person starts abusing drugs or alcohol, the more likely they are to develop chemical dependency as adults. The difference between substance abuse and addiction is significant. While experimenting with drugs, teens are not yet addicted. Drug abuse during adolescence can lead to permanent effects on behavioral and cognitive functioning because the brain is still developing. Providing teenagers with a good example of living drug-free and discussing drug abuse are two strong ways to prevent a drug problem.
Approximately half of all emerging drug users are teenagers. Experimentation is the main cause for drug use amongst teens. Experimentation with alcohol and drugs among teens has occurred for ages. Experimentation is not a guarantee addiction. Most teenagers that experiment with drugs do not become chemically dependent. However, it is important to determine why teenagers are drawn to experimenting with drugs in the first place.
A few reasons teenagers experiment with and use drugs:
Depression or emotional issues can be an underlying problem It is reported that most adults that are chemically dependent or suffering from addiction first tried drugs or alcohol before the age of 21. A recent statistical analysis does show drug abuse among teenagers is declining. If you suspect your teenager is abusing drugs, there are treatment centers that specialize in treating addiction in teenagers.
Some signs that point to drug addiction in teenagers include:
It is important that parent’s voice their concerns if they are suspicious that their child has a problem with drugs or alcohol. Studies suggest that one in five parents who believe their child is abusing drugs do not act to find out if there is a problem.
It is most beneficial to ask in a nonjudgmental and caring manner when they discuss drug use with their teen. When the teen does not feel threatened, they are more likely to open up about having a problem.
Overreacting if a teenager does admit to using drugs is not a productive response. It can prevent them from discussing things further and cause them to shut down. This will also help parents to understand whether it is an ongoing problem or a one-time experiment. It is also vital that parents express how much they care and are concerned for their child’s well-being. If a teen feels loved, they are more likely to seek help if there is a problem.
Due to fear and feeling threatened, it is common for teens to deny using drugs or alcohol. At this point, parents should emphasize their concern lovingly and express their desire to help. If the adolescent continues to deny using drugs, but a parent is still concerned, turning to a professional or using home drug test kits can help to reveal a problem. Professionals that can help diagnose drug abuse in teens include pediatricians, therapists or drug addiction counselors. If you suspect drug abuse with your teen, call now to get help with finding a specialist.
Teens have a hard time coping with stress and depression and it is a normal tendency to not want to feel these negative feelings. However, it is important that teenagers find healthier coping skills that are not harmful.
If a teenager has already attempting to control their use and failed, it is critical that they get treatment as quickly as possible. There are drug treatment centers tailored to a teenager and assist with dealing with emotional and social problems that may have played a role in the drug use.Most of these treatments centers also offer educational assistance so that teenagers don’t fall behind with their grades. The sooner substance abuse is identified, the more likely it is to be treated.
Drug abuse and excessive drinking are common problems among college students.
One of the largest groups of substance abusers in the United States consists of college students and young adults between the ages of 18 – 24 are already have a higher risk of developing addiction. Full-time college students are over twice as likely to abuse alcohol and drugs than young adults who don’t attend college. Beginning college causes anxiety for a lot of students. Alcohol relieves a lot of this anxiety and makes it easier to socialize. Often, college students don’t just automatically start drinking in excess. This tends to be a process over time that can eventually lead to addiction.
Reasons College Students Use Alcohol and Drugs:
Various drug trends surface over time. There always seems to be something new to try, but there are certain drugs that do not lose their popularity. Drugs that are consistently used and tend to be the “drugs of choice” among college students include marijuana, alcohol, stimulants, and MDMA (Molly or ecstasy).
While the most popular and socially acceptable drug of choice, alcohol is also the most dangerous. Binge drinking and college life almost always seem to go together. Alcohol is present at sporting events, parties, and other social gatherings. Because alcohol is legal and socially acceptable, college students specifically tend to drink more often and more excessively than young adults in the same age range that do not attend college. According to findings by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, four in five college students consume alcohol. Half of these students admit to binge drinking. Binge drinking can lead to fatalities, hospitalizations, alcohol poisoning, assault, injury, and auto and other accidents. Many students who binge drink have black-outs. Learn more about the effects of alcohol on college students and the dangers of binge drinking.
Also referred to “Greek life,” fraternities and sororities provide a sense of belonging and networking for students. However, alcohol and drug abuse within these organizations are more common than for the average student not associated with the Greek life. Students who are part of the Greek system have a 26% more prone to excessive drinking. This is due to not only the fact that more parties are thrown in these organizations, but hazing is also a common practice among the Greek life and hazing often involves enticing pledges (those trying to get initiated into a fraternity or sorority) to binge drink to be accepted. According to the United States Department of Education’s Higher Education Center, fraternity and sorority members are also more inclined to abuse prescription drugs like Adderall.
The National Institute of Mental Health reported that 25% of college students are battling an eating disorder. This number is increasing over time. Another study revealed that the epidemic among both male and female college students has increased over the past two decades significantly. Abusing diet pills to aid in weight loss is a common practice among college students. Misuse of diet pills can cause health problems and in some cases, can be fatal. Learn more about diet pill drug abuse and eating disorders among college students.
Addiction can feel like a very lonely affliction. However, if you are struggling with alcoholism, addiction or an eating disorder, you are not alone and there is help available. Our addiction professionals can assist you with finding the help you need. Take the first step and call today to get on the road to recovery.
You know the saying: A pregnant woman is eating for two. When there is a baby on board, alcohol consumed is also being shared with the baby. This is a formative time. Alcohol consumed during pregnancy can have devastating, lifelong consequences to the unborn child.
It isn't even as simple as the fact that the baby's liver is not fully developed, thus cannot filter out the alcohol. It is also that alcohol is mutagenic and it impacts formation in the womb.
Because mother and child share their bloodstream, any alcohol mom drinks is shared with the baby. Alcohol is different from food. It does not get broken down before it goes into the bloodstream. Instead, it gets absorbed directly.
Thus, in this case, mom's body in no way protects the baby from this substance, which is classified as a poison. Drugs and alcohol consumed by the mom while pregnant is the leading preventable cause of developmental disabilities and birth defects in the U.S. today.
Doctors and scientists still do not have a clearly defined "safe" limit. We do not actually know if any alcohol is safe. Thus, the conservative choice is to not drink at all while pregnant, which many women choose to do rather than take a bet that, if they lose, the price may be paid by their child for the rest of its life.
Although not drinking at all while pregnant is the responsible choice and many women make that choice, knowing what is right is not enough when a woman has a history of alcoholism. Most people addicted to alcohol would just stop if they could.
Women suffering alcohol addiction need to seek help immediately if they learn they are pregnant. This is no time to pretend they can somehow kick it on their own.
Children exposed to alcohol while they are still in the womb can be born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This can cause facial abnormalities, such as widely spaced eyes, as well as anger management issues, attention span problems and mood disorders.
Possible symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome include, but are not limited to:
If you have a history of alcohol addiction and you know you are pregnant or think you are, seek help today. Do not put it off a single day. Time is of the essence. There are certified specialists, counselors and other programs that can help you get through this challenging time.
Although many people are considered “functioning” alcoholics or addicts, and may even reach success within their career, “functional” does not mean that the issue is acceptable or that it should be overlooked. Damage is caused by substance abuse in businesses throughout the country.
Physical injuries, including fatal accidents, along with a decrease in productivity are sometimes due to being under the influence of alcohol or drugs on the job. 16% of patients admitted to the emergency room after being injured on the job have alcohol in their blood. Being under the influence of alcohol while working increases the possibility of accidents, sexual assault, and aggravated battery significantly.
Additional issues resulting from substance abuse at work include:
Most those abusing drugs or alcohol attempt to conceal their problem from everyone, including supervisors and coworkers, but there are cues to look for when you believe there might be a problem. Additional signs that someone is chemically dependent in the workplace include:
Adults suffered from addiction are often hesitant about taking time away from their job to be admitted to an inpatient treatment program. However, there are multiple options for treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. In addition to residential treatment, many treatment centers offer outpatient programs to assist professionals with recovery while they continue to go to work.
Many businesses enroll in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a national initiative of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). This program helps those suffering from substance abuse and their family find resources within the community for treatment, counseling, and other helpful organizations. Regardless of the treatment, overcoming substance abuse is possible with thorough medical help and treatment.
With many seniors living without appropriate support networks or the ability to engage in healthy activities, they are at high risk for developing and continuing addictive behaviors. Doctors tend to under-diagnose addiction in their elderly patients when addictions are often even more dangerous than in a younger patient.
While there are many complicated factors that may contribute to addiction, some of those most common issues and events seen in cases of elderly addiction include:
While addiction is dangerous even in younger years, the aging body has more difficulty metabolizing alcohol and drugs. Whether or not addiction is an issue, medications such as Benzodiazepines are dangerous for seniors. Unfortunately, they are also overprescribed and addictive and the rate of seniors addicted to Benzodiazepines continues to rise. Many seniors are unknowledgeable about how to safely manage their prescription medications, resulting in higher risk of addiction and other adverse effects.
Given the high rate of physical and mental symptoms seen in elderly patients, it is understandable that doctors often miss signs of addiction. To prevent mislabeling addiction-related issues as “old age”, watch for the following symptoms that may be related to drugs or alcohol: memory impairment, insomnia or sleeping too much, irritability or depression, unexplained bruises or wounds, weight fluctuations, spending abnormal amounts of time alone, failure to maintain appropriate hygiene, lack of interest in previous hobbies, and pulling away from social groups.
When seeking treatment, look for specialists with experience dealing with the elderly population. Many seniors lack the social support necessary to remain successful in treatment, and a program with relevant professionals including medical and social resources is necessary for lifelong success. If you or a senior you love is suffering from addiction, please call now for assistance.
Medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, are still human beings. Like anyone, they can end up with a substance abuse problem.
They most commonly get hooked on narcotics, like Fentanyl and Oxycodone. The number of healthcare professionals in the U.S. who have an addiction is estimated to be over 100,000. In part due to their relatively easy access to drugs, they have some of the highest rates of addiction of any class of workers. On the upside, they also have very high rates of recovery when they do seek treatment.
This group is unusually adept at hiding their addiction and continuing to maintain a seemingly normal life. But there are clues that something is remiss, such as:
When medical professionals are struggling with addiction, they are at greater risk of making serious errors or causing an accident. Due to their responsibilities, this can have very serious consequences for the health and welfare of their patients. It can even be life threatening.
Medical professionals need to seek out programs specially tailored to their needs. Due to the position of trust they hold at work, their recovery process is complicated by special issues.
Some states offer programs designed to help such professionals recover without losing their medical license or medical practice. Because medical professionals typically get their drug of choice from work, such programs typically provide special guidance for coping with returning to work. They also typically work with them to help restore their professional reputation.
Keep in mind that medical professionals enjoy one of the highest rates of success in maintaining sobriety following a treatment program. The best outcomes are associated with being enrolled in programs familiar with the special challenges of this population.
If you are a medical professional struggling with addiction or if you know someone like this, seek help today. There is nothing to be gained from waiting. Meanwhile, there is a great deal to be gained from beating addiction.
The addiction rate among those in the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community, is higher than that of the general populace, with roughly 20 to 30 percent of the LGBTQ populace abusing substances such as alcohol or narcotics. There is help specifically tailored for those in the LGBTQ community, to receive the guidance and help they need to overcome their addiction.
The high rate of addiction among members of the LGBTQ community is easier to understand when you realize just how much stress and discrimination they have to face. This often includes violent harassment and hate crimes they are subjected to, and emotional abuse and ostracization they receive from family members. Upon feeling rejected, those in the LGBTQ community will turn to drugs as a way to cope, leading to eventual addiction.
Shame and frustration about their sexual orientation can manifest itself in other ways that lead to addiction. Many psychological and mood disorders develop as a result of this, such as:
When these issues arise, the person suffering will often try to self-medicate through substances, in order to make themselves feel better. However, this backfires and leads to addiction and feeling even worse than they did before. If one is to receive treatment for their addiction, they should choose an option that also deals with any psychological disorders they also happen to be dealing with.
There are treatment centers with options specifically for LGBTQ people. These programs are specially designed to help LGBTQ people not only overcome their addiction but also get to the heart of the reason why they became addicted, to help prevent any risk of relapse.
Through these programs, dedicated professionals work with patients to help ensure they will be supported through their journey by people who care. Call us today if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction.
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