Drug Rehabilitation

Drug addiction affects millions of people across the country. Understanding these drugs and how you can become addicted to them is an essential step in the healing process.

Common Types of Drugs

Addictions come in all shapes and sizes, and with the wide variety of drugs out there, you can become addicted to more than one at a time and without much effort. The most common types of drugs are alcohol and opiates.

Alcohol

Alcohol is an incredibly common drug that is legal and controlled. It is a depressant that lowers inhibitions, but it also decreases motor function and other vital processes.

While many people enjoy the effects of alcohol in moderation, it is incredibly easy to overconsume and abuse. When abused, alcohol can be detrimental, leading to Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Over 15 million adults in the U.S. struggle with AUD. Anyone causing adverse consequences to themselves or others due to drinking is abusing alcohol.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse may be evident if you or someone you know starts to show symptoms like long-lasting hangovers and poor behavior while intoxicated. Most of the time, this will lead to addiction, and it’s best to get help at the first signs of abuse.

Often starting in the late teens and early twenties, frequent binge drinking can be an indicator that alcohol might be a problem in the future. Alcohol consumption is so prevalent in our culture, making it difficult to recognize the differences between having a good time occasionally and true alcohol abuse. However, there are long-term consequences when this habit goes too far.

Consequences of Alcoholism

The first and most direct consequences of drinking alcohol include:

• Slurred speech

• Slurred speech

• Lack of coordination

• Disorientation

• Agitation

• Paranoia

Then comes the hangover. Hangovers are what happens to your body as the detox process begins. When hungover, you’ll likely experience:

• Headaches

• Headaches

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Blackouts

Keeping up this pattern long-term, in other words, when the fun turns into AUD, it can mean far more disastrous effects. Your mental health and vital organs will start to deteriorate. More severe consequences of AUD include:

• Depression

• Depression

• Brain and liver damage

• Sexual disorders

• High blood pressure

• Cancer

• Alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal

AUD can also harm your relationships and your community. Abuse of alcohol often leads to:

• Car accidents due to drunk driving

• Car accidents due to drunk driving

• Legal issues

• Physical and sexual assaults

• Relationship issues and divorce

 

Detoxing from Alcohol

When someone becomes addicted to alcohol, they become more tolerant to its effects, needing more and more to get buzzed or drunk. This can lead to alcohol poisoning, the equivalent of a deadly overdose.

Plus, for alcoholics, drinking tends to feel like a “cure” to their hangover, leading to a dangerous downward spiral, where they can’t feel right without a drink.

A full-on detox from alcohol should be supervised by a professional because you can experience delirium tremens which can also be life-threatening.

Sleeping Pills

Sleeping pills are prescribed to help people with verified sleeping problems. These sedative-hypnotics can quickly become addictive drugs. Once someone decides to increase their dosage of sleeping pills without talking to their doctor, it can be a sign that addiction is forming. Over time, as with most drugs, users become more and more dependent, requiring higher doses to see the same effect.

Signs of sleeping pill addiction include:

• Taking more than prescribed

• Taking more than prescribed

• Memory loss

• Cravings for the drug

• Isolation

• Tolerance to the drug

Ambien

Initially created to be a less-addictive alternative to benzodiazepines like Xanax, Ambien is prescribed to help with short-term insomnia. It’s been shown that Ambien can be quite addictive, needing only two weeks for an addiction to form.

Amytal

Amytal, the brand name for barbiturate amobarbital, is a potent sleeping pill that suppresses the central nervous system. It is used as a pre-anesthetic and for more chronic sleeping disorders. Because taking Amytal produces a sensation similar to alcohol intoxication, it’s commonly addictive.

Any use of Amytal outside of a doctor’s specific prescription is considered abusive due to its potency. Consequences of using too much Amytal include:

• Nausea and vomiting

• Nausea and vomiting

• Dizziness

• Confusion and mental cloudiness

• Headaches

• Fever

• Insomnia, ironically

• Tremors

Lunesta

Lunesta is often mixed with other drugs to enhance its sedative effect. However, the drug is commonly misunderstood and assumed to be non-habit forming. By slowing overall brain function, Lunesta will help you sleep, but once you start needing more than originally prescribed, an addiction to the sleeping pill can occur.

Sonata

Sonata, a brand name for zaleplon, is a sleeping pill that only remains in your system for an hour after taking it. This fact makes Sonata highly addictive due to accidentally taking more than prescribed, assuming it’s not working since it is a less potent alternative.

Specific side-effects of Sonata abuse include:

• Unnerving behaviors while asleep like sleep-walking or eating, driving, and having sex while asleep

• Unnerving behaviors while asleep like sleep-walking or eating, driving, and having sex while asleep

• Confusion and amnesia

• Nausea and vomiting

• Numbness and tingling

• Hallucinations

• Impaired Coordination

• Aggressive behavior

• Headache

• Fatigue

Stimulants

Otherwise known as amphetamines and methylphenidates, stimulants are typically used to enhance performance versus getting high or buzzed. Most were created to help with mental issues like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and depression.

Stimulants provide a boost of dopamine as the central nervous system becomes activated to increase physical and cognitive function. Signs of stimulant addiction include:

• Dependency and tolerance

• Dependency and tolerance

• Prioritizing the drugs over everything else

• Craving stimulants

• Relationship issues 

Adderall

Adderall is a drug to help with focus, typically prescribed to people with ADHD, by releasing dopamine and norepinephrine to the brain. Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone while norepinephrine affects the speed of response to stimuli.

Many become addicted after trying Adderall a few times to study for a test or to complete an important work project. Enjoying the focus and productivity, they lose sight of how to function without the drug.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are used to treat severe depression and, sometimes anxiety, using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). SSRIs and SNRIs adjust the brain’s chemical balance of essential neurotransmitters, improving mood and helping people live better lives.

On their own, antidepressants are hardly ever addiction-inducing since they don’t produce a noticeable “high.” They become dangerous when they’re unnecessarily prescribed, especially in high doses and if used in conjunction with other drugs like alcohol.

Concerta

Concerta is a brand of methylphenidate commonly prescribed to those with ADHD. By raising dopamine levels in the brain, Concerta is often abused and can quickly become addictive.

Dexedrine

Dexedrine is the brand name dextroamphetamine, prescribed to people with ADHD and narcolepsy. Depending on your needs, it can promote focus and calmness or energy and wakefulness. When abused, people takeunprescribed Dexedrine to study, for athletic performance, and to assist with weight loss.

Since Dexedrine activates reward systems in the brain, it has a high likelihood of addiction, and eventually, after prolonged abuse, your brain cannot function with it. Specific consequences of Dexedrine abuse include:

• Restlessness and insomnia

• Restlessness and insomnia

• Headaches

• Loss of appetite

• Anxiety

• Blurred vision

• High blood pressure

• Chest pain

• Aggression

• Dizziness

• Hallucinations and delusions

• Seizures

Diet Pills

Diet pills come both as prescriptions and over-the-counter supplements. Marketed to help people lose weight, they’ll curb appetite, increase metabolism, and prevent fat absorption. Because they also create feelings of euphoria and a heightened mood, diet pills are commonly abused.

Often, being addicted to diet pills is related to eating disorders, meaning there are a lot of underlying problems to work through when dealing with the healing process.

Ritalin

Ritalin is also a stimulant useful for treating ADHD and bipolar disorder, but it’s often abused to increase productivity and athletic performance. Adverse side effects of Ritalin include:

• Loss of appetite

• Loss of appetite

• Anxiety

• Confusion

• Nausea and vomiting

• Seizures

• Hallucinations

Anabolic Steroids

This synthetic drug is made to imitate the testosterone hormone and has been famously used to enhance athletic performance. Not to be confused with corticosteroids which treat allergies, anabolic steroids facilitate muscle growth. Because this drug affects hormones, quitting cold turkey can lead to depressive episodes and even suicide, along with other side effects like delayed puberty.

Benzodiazepines

Otherwise known as benzos, benzodiazepines are pharmaceutical drugs associated with the treatment of mental health issues. Benzos block the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) to slow hyperactive mental functions.

Those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse or untreated mental illness are at a higher risk of developing an addiction to benzos, causing problems such as:

• Relationship issues

• Relationship issues

• Losing interest in things that were once important

• Isolation

• Financial and legal issues

• Repeated, unsuccessful attempts to quit

• Cravings, tolerance, and dependency

• Risky behavior while on the drug

• Confusion, irritability, and restlessness

Ativan

Ativan is a brand of lorazepam, an anti-anxiety medication for a wide range of issues from epilepsy to insomnia. Once your body develops a tolerance for Ativan, it will need more and more to get the same effect, usually leading to addiction.

Halcion

Halcion is a benzo that gets processed by the body more quickly than its counterparts and is meant to treat mental disorders like insomnia, anxiety, aggression, suicidal behavior, schizophrenia, psychosis, and Tourette’s.

Halcion produces a “high” like alcohol and is therefore often abused. Once dependent, people feel helpless and unable to function without it. Extremely potent, Halcion has become addictive even while taking a prescribed dose.

Klonopin

With Klonopin, it takes longer to feel its effects and can become addictive even with a prescription. It works by blocking brain receptors to reduce anxiety, stress, and the inability to relax. When addicted to Klonopin, people can no longer feel calm without it.

Librium

Librium produces calming effects and therefore is often prescribed for anxiety-related issues. With a lower potency than some of its benzo equivalents, Librium is still addictive. Many people will increase the dosage attempting to get a better “high,” often even mixing Librium with other drugs.

During the withdrawal process, Librium addicts experience sweating, rapid heart rate, and tremors. These withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and sometimes fatal, so it’s best to consult a professional when attempting to quit.

Xanax

Prescribed to treat general anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and insomnia, Xanax is highly addictive when used over long periods. Hugely accessible, Xanax is the most highly prescribed medication in the U.S. with over 44 million prescriptions written each year.

Since users will eventually require higher doses of the drug to feel its effects, dependency often occurs. Someone with a Xanax addiction might take up to 30 pills a day.

Valium

Valium is the brand name of diazepam and is prescribed to treat anxiety, muscle spasm, and seizures. It’s also sometimes used to ease the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol. This long-acting benzo reduces hyperactive brain function. Tolerance to Valium then requires its users to take a higher dosage which can lead to a full-blown addiction.

Opiates

Opiates are prescription pain-killers to treat acute and chronic pain. Signs of addiction to opiates include “doctor shopping” to findsomeone who will write another prescription when their former doctor will not. Often, doctor shopping leads to using illegal drugs from the black market for a cheaper alternative that produces similar effects.

Signs of Opiate addiction include:

• Self-inflicted injuries to receive more opiate prescriptions

• Self-inflicted injuries to receive more opiate prescriptions

• Isolation

• Financial, legal, and relationship issues

• Wanting to quit but being unable to

• Failing to keep up with essential responsibilities like school, work, or parenting

• Tolerance and dependency

• Feelings of shame or hiding the use of these drugs

Codeine

Codeine is not one of the extreme opiates as it is in many over-the-counter pain medications like cough suppressants and Tylenol 3. While it has a less potent effect, it’s still possible to become addicted to codeine due to its easy availability. It is often referred to as a gateway drug.

Effects of codeine include:

• Euphoria

• Euphoria

• Apathy

• Drowsiness

• Relaxation

Demerol

Demerol is the brand name for meperidine, a potent pain-killer rarely prescribed outside of a hospital setting. However, once addicted to Demerol, perhaps after a surgery, users need higher doses to feel the same effects and are unable to quit even if they want to. Withdrawal from Demerol includes symptoms like anxiety and nausea, which often leads to relapse since opiates can help with those symptoms.

Dilaudid

Dilaudid is one of the most potent opiates and is prescribed to cancer patients and people with severe injuries to dull the pain by affecting the central nervous system. Its calming, euphoric effects make it easily addictive, and tolerance can form in as little as a few weeks. Being so potent, Dilaudid has a high risk of overdose which can be fatal.

Fentanyl

Known to be up to 100 times stronger than morphine, Fentanyl slows down the respiratory system which can lead to overdose and potentially death. Prescribed to treat pain after surgeries and cancer patients, Fentanyl is highly addictive with extreme euphoric sensations.

Symptoms of Fentanyl abuse include:

• Slowed breathing

• Slowed breathing

• Mellowness and drowsiness

• Seizures

• Headaches

• Dizziness and blurred vision

• Itchiness

Hydrocodone

Typically, hydrocodone is the painkiller you’d receive at the dentist for oral surgeries, and it can become addictive when used over long periods. In addition to being used for injury-related pain, hydrocodone produces elation, blinds pain receptors, and is found in brands such as Vicodin and Norco.

Methadone

Methadone is commonly used to treat heroin addiction by reducing pleasure receptors but, despite these good intentions, is often still abused. As an opiate for moderate to severe pain, those with a history of drug abuse are more likely to develop an addiction to methadone.

Morphine

Cancer patients and people recovering from serious surgeries are given morphine, due to its high potency. On morphine, users describe a dreamlike state that is sought after repeatedly. It is similar to heroin because it is made from the same opium poppy. Morphine is highly addictive, and a black market exists for addicts to continue to experience that “high.”

Oxycodone

Oxycodone is a potent opiate that can quickly become addictive even while taking a prescribed amount. Found in brands like Percocet and OxyContin, people may not even know they’ve developed an addiction until its pain-relieving properties become hard to live without. As one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the U.S., it’s essential to understand the signs of dependency and addiction.

Propoxyphene

Propoxyphene is a moderate pain reliever that produces states of extreme euphoria immediately followed by intense sedation. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned prescriptions of propoxyphene in 2010 after incidences of death associated with the drug, yet it remains in circulation.

Symptoms of propoxyphene include:

• Drowsiness, dizziness, and hallucinations

• Drowsiness, dizziness, and hallucinations

• Skin rash and jaundice

• Delusions of grandeur and euphoria

• Frenzied behavior

• Loss of appetite and dry mouth

• Unexplained extended periods of sleep

Tramadol

Commonly prescribed to treat chronic pain from conditions like fibromyalgia, tramadol is thought to be less addictive, but when taken for long periods, tolerance can still build up. In addition to the general issues associated with addiction, Tramadol withdrawal can cause irritability, depression, and flu-like symptoms.

Illicit Drugs

Illicit drugs like meth, heroin, and marijuana are powerful and highly addictive. When it comes to these types of drugs, there are vast differences in their effects and their form.

These drugs are illegal, and the most dangerous because the production and ingredients are highly unregulated. Any use of these drugs is considered abuse.

Cocaine and Crack Cocaine

Cocaine is usually snorted in a powdered form through the nose and acts as an extreme stimulant. Often used in conjunction with other drugs like alcohol, cocaine creates bursts of energy. Some use it for weight loss.

Crack cocaine is the freeform, more potent version of cocaine and is typically smoked through a small pipe. The immediate, yet short-lived high is very addictive, leaving the user wanting more.

Signs of cocaine use include:

• Talkativeness

• Talkativeness

• Excitement and hyperactivity

• Alertness and tension

• Anxiety 

• Overconfidence and euphoria

Ecstasy

Ecstasy is an illicit drug made with MDMA (3,4 methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) that heightens the user’s senses, making them seem more friendly, happy, and euphoric by interfering with the brain’s pleasure centers and its production of dopamine.

An overdose of ecstasy can cause:

• Seizures

• Seizures

• Foaming of the mouth• Spike in body temperature

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens are psychoactive, mind-altering substances that help distort people’s perception of reality. Although these stimulants aren’t considered to be highly addictive, users can still create a tolerance to their effects. Especially dangerous to those who have a mental illness, hallucinogens can bring out underlying conditions like depression, potentially leading to suicide.

Heroin

Heroin is a derivative of morphine and considered an illicit opiate or pain reliever. It is incredibly addictive, releasing dopamine and endorphins to your brain, and your body quickly adjusts to these sensations. Over four million Americans have tried it at least once, and many users are unable to function without it.

Ketamine

Ketamine is an odorless, colorless animal anesthetic used as a “date rape drug.” It creates the effects of an intense sedative or out-of-body experience and can also create the feeling of euphoria. Prolonged use can build tolerance which leads to an addiction.

Marijuana

Now legal in many states and used for medicinal purposes, marijuana and synthetic marijuana produce effects like hallucinations, reduced anxiety, increased appetite, and euphoria. Pot is usually dried out, rolled, and smoked, but it can be eaten as well.

While the debate on the addictive properties of marijuana continues, users will start to need higher doses of the drug to feel its effects over time, and some can become highly dependent on its calming properties.

Meth

Meth, slang for methamphetamine, is one of the most dangerous drugs for two reasons:

• Users can become addicted the first time they use it.

• It can be made from common products like lithium batteries and drain cleaners.

Meth creates an intense rush of dopamine which, often instantly, leads to abuse and addiction. It can be snorted, smoked, injected, or taken orally. There are some legal versions of meth used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), obesity, and narcolepsy but overall, when addicted, users experience various effects including:

• Elation and hyperactivity

• Elation and hyperactivity

• Loss of appetite

• Heart palpitations

• Irritability

• Brain damage

• Paranoia

• Hyperthermia

• Stroke

• Death

Getting Help

Finding a treatment facility like Harmony Outpatient Center can assist you with the issues related to drug abuse, giving you the tools to solve the underlying causes bit by bit. From plans to endure a detox to therapy targeting the negative thoughts that lead you to drugs in the first place, it’s our goal to help you combat your addiction at your own pace and begin the healing process from the inside out.

Getting help is sometimes the hardest thing to do, but it’s also the most necessary.

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