The Problem

Drug addiction will control a person’s life. It alters not only brain chemistry but elements of vital relationships, employment, schooling, and family life.  It saps billions of dollars in employee productivity every year in the United States, and costs billions more to fight and for treatment of those addicted to or abusing drugs.

Drug dependency robs vital hours of a day in the life of the person addicted. Its withdrawal effects create stress and financial concerns. And in society, many ill effects follow the path of drug abuse or dependency.  In a 2011 study by the United States Department of Justice, annual dollar costs of $193,000,000,000 (billion) had been estimated covering three areas of impact: health, crime, and productivity.  Little has changed since then. See LINK

In addition to those costs, buyers of illegal and trafficked drugs create an addiction market in the hundreds of billions more of dollars for domestic and international providers and sellers of illicit drugs. Drug dealers depend upon the misery of their clients to enrich themselves. People die in order for the products to come to “market.” Murder, mayhem, and misery are the side effects in society, every bit as much as the mind-numbing addictions people suffer from, as a result of drug dealing and illegal sales and distribution of controlled substances.

But your world is about one person.  That person could be you or someone you love.

And now is the time to rescue them from either the insidious addiction to prescribed meds or the illicit and illegal possession and drug taking going on.

While there are many facets to the problem, Action Recovery Group of Ogden is a local drug and alcohol rehab facility designed to get a person back on the productive and healthy road to life.

First Steps

“How can I tell if my husband is a drug addict or just having a temporary problem?”  And, “My wife has been taking drugs for so long. Is she possibly addicted?”  Or, “Can you explain the signs of drug abuse so I can tell if my son is addicted to drugs?”

These and other questions are common among those seeking answers to the international plague of drug and substance addiction. The Action Recovery Group of Ogden is asked frequently by families and individuals for the signs of addiction and how to begin to help a person afflicted with drug dependency. We can help you understand those signs, and how also the severity of the drug abuse problem make begin to be healed and solved through some simple steps you can take today.

These pages will offer basic information that addresses your most urgent questions regarding drug addiction and abuse. A simple phone call to our friendly staff can also begin the process to discovering freedom from drug dependency. Call Action Recovery Group today at (801) 475-4673.

Defining Drug Addiction

Drug abuse is compulsive taking of illicit or prescriptions drugs for recreational use and pleasure, or because of chemical dependency issues.  Drug addiction is also called “substance use disorder.” It is the inability to stop taking a drug substance or components that affect the brain in such a way that withdrawal creates an urgency to get the drug back into the body’s central nervous system and blood stream. DrugAbuse.Gov says this:

“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.” See LINK

Addictions vary from person to person and chemical makeup or elements associated with a drug. One person may be able to take a certain dosage of prescribed medications and quit when the prescription period lapses. This is appropriate use of a drug, even though certain brain chemicals and accompanying stimulation of the central nervous system has been in play.

Additionally some drugs such as codeine, an opiate, are weaker than heroin, also an opiate. Thus a quicker dependency and addiction to heroin may occur while an addiction to codeine may occur over prolonged use. Adding alcohol – also considered a drug – may fuel the fire to overall drug dependency and central nervous system suppression creating a backlash of withdrawal effects that beg the user to keep on with the habitual drug use.

Addicted users of drugs and alcohol have both a physical and psychological dependency problem. Addiction creates emotional dependency as it creates altered effects in the body which becomes physical addiction.

How Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol Begins

Drug and alcohol addiction may begin in youth as an experimental use of drug or alcohol due to peer pressure. It begins a person down a path to a lifetime of abuse and dependency. Drug use also may begin as a result of a prescription by a medical doctor to treat sickness or accident related injury and escalate from there in order to achieve physical and emotional relief.

Drug dependency may begin as an escape from a reality that hurts and haunts a person. Or drug abuse may begin because of purely social and recreational purposes linked to pleasure. However drug addiction and alcohol abuse begins; there is hope— recovery is a choice a person can make.

Addiction and Brain Chemistry

Brain chemistry is altered when taking any drug for pain relief, pain modification, anxiety, relaxing muscles, pleasure, and for a variety of other prescribed purposes.

For example, the human brain has its own built in chemical responses for pain and sickness. Synthetic drugs short-circuit the body’s natural methods of dealing with pain, anxiety, and illness. Addiction to a drug happens when the part of the brain responsible for reward functions, such as pleasure when eating, or exercising, intimacy, or social interaction is interrupted.

From the website DrugAbuse.Gov the following graphic illustration and explanation provides a brief, but powerful scientific explanation of how drugs begin the biological addiction process and impact the brain and central nervous system. See LINK

“Serotonin and glutamate neurotransmitter systems, for example, are among those affected. These neurotransmitters are important regulators of mood, sleep, learning and memory, and more.

“The dopamine and serotonin pathways are two brain systems affected by drugs of abuse. They are illustrated here.  By altering activity in these pathways, abused substances can influence their function. Dopamine neurons (shown in yellow) influence pleasure, motivation, motor function and saliency of stimuli or events. Serotonin (shown in red) plays a role in learning, memory, sleep and mood.” See LINK

Additionally the euphoric effect or “high” is the purpose behind much drug abuse. As illustrated, the dopamine pathways—or mesolimbic dopamine system—are affected when drugs are introduced. The brain experiences the “high” when excessive dopamine chemicals are released, artificially saturating a system meant to work independent of drug stimulation.

As the need to experience the same euphoric high grows, the ability of the brain to adapt causes changes in actual structure and communication between areas of the brain which regulates mood, pleasure, reward, motor function, and self-preservation. Compulsive taking of drugs to satisfy these new body cravings is what essentially is called an “addiction.” When this happens sudden withdrawal can cause severe effects upon the drug user.

At the Action Recovery Groups drug and alcohol rehab clinic, cognitive and behavioral therapies are called upon help get the drug users brain conditioned to what would be considered normal. This takes time, professionalism, along with expert medical and behavioral science expertise.

The Dangers and Signs of Drug Abuse and Addiction

Alcohol

Alcohol is a drug. It depresses the central nervous system.

There is clinical difference associated with distinction in the overuse of alcohol. Expert counselors define one distinction as Alcohol Abuse and the other as Alcoholism.

Alcohol abuse is chronic use of alcohol for a variety of reasons but the abusers of alcohol have an ability to set limits. This overuse and constant craving of alcohol can, of course lead to alcoholism.

Alcoholism is considered a disease. It is the dependency and addiction stage of alcohol abuse itself. At this point life revolves around drinking.

The Mayo Clinic offers this information regarding the dangers of Alcohol abuse and alcoholism:

Alcohol depresses your central nervous system. In some people, the initial reaction may be stimulation. But as you continue to drink, you become sedated. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and affects your thoughts, emotions and judgment.

Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain. A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma or death.

If you have problems with alcohol, you’re more likely to also have problems with other substances.

Excessive drinking can reduce your judgment skills and lower inhibitions, leading to poor choices and dangerous situations or behaviors, such as:

Motor vehicle accidents and other types of accidents

Domestic problems

Poor performance at work or school

Increased likelihood of committing violent crimes

Health problems caused by excessive drinking can include:

Liver disease. Heavy drinking can cause alcoholic hepatitis — an inflammation of the liver. After years of heavy drinking, hepatitis may lead to irreversible destruction and scarring of liver tissue (cirrhosis).

Digestive problems. Heavy drinking can result in inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), as well as stomach and esophageal ulcers. It also can interfere with absorption of B vitamins and other nutrients. Heavy drinking can damage your pancreas — which produces hormones that regulate your metabolism and enzymes that help digestion — and lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

Heart problems. Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and increases your risk of an enlarged heart, heart failure or stroke.

Diabetes complications. Alcohol interferes with the release of glucose from your liver and can increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This is dangerous if you have diabetes and are already taking insulin to lower your blood sugar level.

Sexual function and menstruation. Excessive drinking can cause erectile dysfunction in men. In women, it can interrupt menstruation.

Eye problems. Over time, heavy drinking can cause involuntary rapid eye movement (nystagmus) as well as weakness and paralysis of your eye muscles due to a deficiency of vitamin B-1 (thiamine).

Birth defects. Alcohol use during pregnancy may cause fetal alcohol syndrome, resulting in giving birth to a child who has physical and developmental problems that last a lifetime.

Bone loss. Alcohol may interfere with the production of new bone. This can lead to thinning bones (osteoporosis) and an increased risk of fractures.

Neurological complications. Excessive drinking can affect your nervous system, causing numbness and pain in your hands and feet, disordered thinking, dementia and short-term memory loss.

Weakened immune system. Excessive alcohol use can make it harder for your body to resist disease, making you more susceptible to illnesses.

Increased risk of cancer. Long-term excessive alcohol use has been linked to a higher risk of many cancers, including mouth, throat, liver, colon and breast cancer. Even moderate drinking can increase the risk of breast cancer.

Alcohol use leads to serious consequences for many teens and young adults. In this age group:

Alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents are a major cause of deaths.

Alcohol is often a cause in other deaths, including drowning, suicides and homicides.

Drinking makes it more likely they’ll become sexually active, have sex more frequently, engage in risky, unprotected sex, and become victims of sexual abuse or date rape compared with those who don’t drink.

Alcohol use can lead to accidental injury, assault and property damage.

See LINK

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Most people instinctively know the signs and symptoms of a person dependent upon alcohol because the person makes no attempt to hide it. Drinking alcohol does not carry a social stigma, and little by little the excuse that “I’ve just had a little to drink” is believed only by the person saying so.

Here are some signs and symptoms from a trusted source, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.  From their website:  See LINK

Common Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse include:

Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking which results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work including: 

Repeatedly Neglecting Responsibilities:  Because of drinking, repeatedly neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school.  For example, neglecting the children, performing poorly at work, poor or failing grades in school, or skipping out on work, school, personal or social commitments because you’re hung over.

Alcohol Use in Dangerous Situations:  The use of alcohol in situations where it can be physically dangerous, such as drinking and driving, drinking in a bad neighborhood, mixing alcohol with prescription medication against the advice of your doctor or operating machinery while drinking.

Legal Problems Due to Drinking:  If, due to drinking, you are experiencing repeated legal problems.  For example, getting arrested for fights, drunk and disorderly conduct, domestic disputes, driving under the influence.

Continued Drinking Despite Relationship Problems:  Alcohol is causing or making problems worse in your relationships with your friends, family or spouse, and you continue to drink.  For example, fighting with your family because they don’t like how you act when you drink or going out and drinking with your buddies even though you know your wife will be very upset.

Drinking to De-Stress:  Many drinking problems start when people use alcohol to relieve stress.  Because alcohol is a sedative drug, over time, you will need more alcohol to have the same effect.  Getting drunk after a very stressful day more often, for example, or reaching for a bottle after you have an argument with boss, a friend or your spouse more frequently.

What is the difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse?

Not all alcohol abusers develop alcohol dependence or alcoholism, but it is a major risk factor.  Sometimes alcoholism develops suddenly in response to a genetic predisposition from a family history of alcoholism or due to a stressful change, such as a breakup, retirement, or another loss.  Other times, it gradually creeps up on you as your tolerance to alcohol increases.  If a person is a binge drinker or drinks every day, the risks of developing alcoholism are even greater.

Are you concerned about the role alcohol plays in your life?  With 26 questions, this simple self-test is intended to help you determine if you or someone you know needs to find out more about alcoholism.  This test specifically does not include drug use.  To take a self-test focused specifically on drug use, take the Drug Abuse Screening Test.

Signs and symptoms of alcoholism:

Alcoholism involves all the symptoms of alcohol abuse, but also involves another element:  physical dependence-  tolerance and withdrawal. 

1.      Tolerance: 

Tolerance means that, over time, you need more alcohol to feel the same effect.  Do you drink more than you used to?  Do you drink more than other people without showing obvious signs of intoxication?

2.      Withdrawal: 

As the effect of the alcohol wears off you may experience withdrawal symptoms:  anxiety or jumpiness; shakiness or trembling; sweating, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, depression, irritability, fatigue or loss of appetite and headaches.  Do you drink to steady the nerves, stop the shakes in the morning?  Drinking to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms is a sign of alcoholism and addiction.

In severe cases, withdrawal from alcohol can be life-threatening and involve hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation.  These symptoms can be dangerous and should be managed by a physician specifically trained and experienced in dealing with alcoholism and addiction.

3.      Loss of Control:

Loss of control happens when drinking becomes more than you wanted to, for longer than you intended, or despite telling yourself that you wouldn’t do it this time.

4.      Desire to Stop- But Can’t:

You have a persistent desire to cut down or stop your alcohol use, but all efforts to stop and stay stopped, have been unsuccessful.

5.      Neglecting Other Activities:

You are spending less time on activities that used to be important to you (hanging out with family and friends, exercising- going to the gym, pursuing your hobbies or other interests) because of the use of alcohol.

6.      Alcohol Takes Up Greater Time, Energy and Focus:

You spend a lot of time drinking, thinking about it, or recovering from its effects.  You have few, if any, interests, social or community involvements that don’t revolve around the use of alcohol.

7.      Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences:

You drink even though they know it’s causing problems.  As an example, you realize that your alcohol use is interfering with your ability to do your job, is damaging your marriage, making your problems worse, or causing health problems, but you continue to drink.

See LINK

Common Drugs and Stimulants

Many people are unaware of how many classes of drugs exist, what is legal and what drug is not legal, the nature of addictions to stimulants vs. anti-depressants, and suppressors of the central nervous system, brain chemistry involved, and when prescription drugs become dangerous and addictive.

Some common drugs which have proven to addict users include those discussed here.

Marijuana

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in society. It contains naturally occurring mind-altering or psycho-active chemicals. The debate over legality, addictive properties, recreational and harmless use, and the argument over legitimate medical applications goes back decades. The clear evidence is this: marijuana is highly addictive and a gateway drug to harder, and more dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

Marijuana is derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant. It is the most widely distributed illicit drug.  It is dried in a green and brown mix of the leaf, stem, seeds, or flowers of the cannabis plant. In its resin form it is called hashish.

Like tobacco, its most common form of ingestion is through being smoked.  Smoking marijuana offers a quicker effect through absorption in lung tissues. It can also be blended into foods such as cookies, candy, or in teas to drink.

Some slang and street terms for marijuana include:

Pot

Weed

Grass

Mary Jane

Hash or Hashish

Herb

Marijuana’s chief mind-altering chemical is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  Smoked, THC is distributed throughout the body moving from the lungs to the bloodstream.  Once introduced into the brain THC attaches to neurotransmitters and produces effects of temporary euphoria similar as experienced with other illicit drugs.

When transferred through the neurons THC sticks to cannabinoid receptors. Altered sensory perceptions in touch, sight, taste, smell, and feeling occur when the receptors are activated. Dulled sensations, hallucinations— some frightening—make the marijuana user susceptible to harming himself or others through the intoxicating effect.

Creating impaired motor coordination and distortions to visual discernment, intoxication by marijuana has a serious potential for danger to the user and others.

The pre-frontal cortex of the brain is affected through reduced blood flow which impairs decision making abilities. The hippocampus region of the brain is highly at risk. The hippocampus is responsible for memory, learning, and orientation. Studies have shown the hippocampus and cerebral cortex are highly susceptible to long term damage from marijuana use.

While marijuana legalization advocates argue and question the addicting qualities of marijuana the trail of destroyed lives in health, relationships, finances, and lost opportunities tells another story. This information is not about legalization merits but about recovery.

Marijuana addiction occurs when a person cannot control the impulse for its regular use and when it is needed in ever increasing doses to satisfy cravings or minimize withdrawal symptoms.

Recovery statistics propose that those who classify marijuana as a gateway drug, to even more addictive and dangerous substances, have reason to be concerned.

The heart rate and consequent blood flow increases with use of marijuana. Long term effects include increasing damage to heart, lungs, and brain.

Side effects of marijuana abuse may include these withdrawal and long-term conditions:

Anxiety

Sleeplessness

Loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss

Intensified cravings

Anger and irritability

Cardiovascular disease

Lung and respiratory failure

Higher risk of infections

Mental health disorders such as depression and schizophrenia

Cocaine

Cocaine works as a strong central nervous system stimulant increasing levels of the brain chemical dopamine; a neurotransmitter which regulates and communicates pleasure and reward.  Dopamine is released by neuron cells in a response to potential reward then circulated back into the cell that released it.

Cocaine causes excessive amounts of dopamine to build up in the synapses by blocking the recycling process and ultimately disrupting normal brain communication. With repeated use addiction occurs along with tolerance, which means the brain signals that it requires more of the stimulant just for the same amplified pleasure from prior uses.

Short term use can lead to major health problems. Stroke, cardiac arrest, and seizures, all have been reported for first time users of Cocaine. Cocaine is abused in three ways: injection, snorting, and by smoking.

There are several slang terms used for Cocaine. They include:

Coke

Cola

Blow

Candy

Lady

Powder

Sugar

Snow

Crack

Crack is a crystallized form of the cocaine which is smoked. Psychosis and erratic behavior is common with high dose uses. When any form of cocaine is combined with alcohol the effects result in an amplified euphoric sensation from coca-ethylene, a substance the body manufactures that carries with it the increased risk of death.

Cocaine abuse has a number of long-term effects which include physical and psychological. Intensified cravings for cocaine as usage continues, only amplifies those unpleasant effects. Additionally, relapse is a real problem among those who manage to succeed in enjoying some periods of abstinence.

Some of the long term effects may include brain damage, cardiovascular harm, toxicity, nasal and lung injury, stroke, paranoia, anxiety, violent behavioral patterns, gastro-intestinal and other internal organ damage. Addiction, of course, is its own long-term effect.

Because cocaine is a stimulant and suppresses the appetite, withdrawal symptoms such as increased fatigue, increased appetite, and behaviors such as persistent anger and irritability manifest themselves. Depression inevitably follows.

Although other physical symptoms such as vomiting, hot or cold flashes, hallucination, and uncontrollable shaking also may occur, the most dramatic withdrawal symptom may be intensified cravings. The amplified cravings cause the addicted to test the limits of addiction risking overdose and death.

Heroin

In 2011 an estimated 4.2 Americans age 12 or older had used heroin at least once. Opiates have been used for sedation purposes for centuries. Users find a sense of relaxation and euphoria followed by extreme drowsiness and lethargy.

Heroin is a depressant drug that is refined from morphine, a natural occurring substance found in the Asian opium poppy plant. It is extremely addictive and most often a drug of choice often preferred by drug users because of its fast acting properties. Heroin appears in the form of white and brown powders or as a dark brown or black liquid tar-like substance.

Heroin is either injected into the blood stream via needles, or it is sniffed or smoked. Drug abusers often seek a faster effect through intravenous injection which leaves the addict with “track” marks.

Street names for heroine include:

Dope

Dragon

Horse

“H”

Black

Skag

Junk

Mud

Smack

Tar

Heroin use build dependency and addiction. Loved ones and associates may begin to notice changes in behavior and appearance in users. Heroin addicts both leave and show signs of their addiction in some of the following ways:

Sudden changes in behavior, disorientation, constricted pupils, dry mouth, shortness of breath, appearance of chronic fatigue, slurred or garbled speech, cyclical hyper-awareness or alertness followed by drowsiness. Needle or “track” marks on arms or legs.

Extended periods of sleeping, heaviness of extremities and droopy appearance in facial features, chronic runny nose, weight loss, and for women loss of menstrual cycles; all are common physical features of heroin drug addiction.

Loss of motivation and lack of interest in goals and achievement, loss of interest in hobbies, lying and deception, poor eye to eye contact, poor hygiene and lack of care in appearance, sloppiness, anger and easy agitation may become signs of drug abuse. Stealing money and valuables, sudden and uncharacteristic poor performance in work or school, and withdrawing from family and long time friends, are all signs which have been exhibited in heroin addicts.

The tell-tale evidence of drug paraphernalia used to sniff, smoke, or inject heroin include:

Needles and syringes

Aluminum foil with burn marks

Silver spoons with burn marks

Small water or crack pipes

Small plastic bags with white powder residue

Heroin converts to morphine in the brain and binds to molecules which interact with the opioid receptors. These opioid receptors trigger reward and pain mediation responses. A “rush” accompanies the chemical changes in the brain—more intense through intravenous injection— but because it is a depressant, heroin makes the user drowsy for hours after its use.  Heroin use can be deadly by slowing down normal body functions, such as heart rate and breathing. Overdosing is not uncommon by both long-term users and casual abusers of heroin.

Collapsed veinsAddiction and dependency to heroin is the goal of all drug dealers and easily achieved among heroin users.  Life changing events common among heroin and other drug abusers include loss of family and other relationships, employment, and even criminal records from theft and possession related charge make life a living hell. But real physical ailments are also created with long-lasting and deadly consequences. They include:

Bacterial infections

Infectious Disease such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV/Aids contracted through shared needles

Circulatory and Cardiac Damage

Lung and Respiratory Failure

Sudden death from cardiac arrest or respiratory failure

Addicts to heroin can expect pain and suffering accompanied by the withdrawal of heroin and other opiates from the body.  Some of the symptoms and side effects from heroin withdrawal include:

Restlessness and anxiety

Body aches and pains

Chills and associated “goose bumps”

Vomiting

Insomnia

Severe headaches

Cramps

Meth

Methamphetamine is classed as a stimulant drug. It is extremely addictive. It is commonly referred to as “meth” and comes in a powdered form that can be dissolved for injection, smoked, or sniffed—also referred to as “snorting.” Meth can also be taken orally.

Unlike the illicit drug trades in cocaine, marijuana, and heroin—with product distribution and huge smuggling operations from outside the United States, methamphetamine drug development and the national epidemic which has followed, had roots primarily in the west coast and southwest areas of the United States.

It is a homemade stimulant concoction literally “brewed” in towns like yours.  Over-the-counter medications such as ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and other inexpensive ingredients found on store shelves may be used in the illegal home-drug labs.

Because of the toxic substances used to separate chemicals found in street meth, and because gases are produced during the heating process, along with a literal explosive potential, the entire process is toxic and creates a professional “clean up” procedure whenever a meth lab is discovered. The toxic factor in itself is deadly, which should tell something of the nature of the non-advertised poison the drug abuser is taking into his body.

This new epidemic is having a devastating effect on American society. Meth began to spread to other areas of the country, including small town USA in the mid 1990’s.  Now it is found countrywide.  Making it even more insidious in its proliferation into every age category, methamphetamine is relatively inexpensive to produce and to purchase compared to heroin and cocaine. It is destroying lives and also families at an astonishing rate.

As is the case with other stimulant drugs, methamphetamine blocks the receptors in the brain responsible for pleasure and reward releasing a high amount of dopamine. An intense, but temporary, rush or euphoria is experienced.  The user experiences that it grows in tolerance requiring more and more of the illicit drug over time as cravings intensify. This creates the addictive cycle which requires professional intervention if it is to become successfully stopped.

Meth has a variety of slang and street names associated with it, including:

Crystal

Crank

Trash

Speed

Chalk

Uppers

Go-Fast

Opiate Prescription Drugs

It is a tragedy that prescriptions meant to help a troubling condition may in fact create another one: addiction.  In addition to addiction the number one cause of preventable and accidental death in some areas of the country is overdosing on opiate drugs.

The increasing concern by society at large, the medical community, and mental health professionals who prescribe opiate containing substances is very high. The ease of obtaining prescriptions for the growing list of medicines containing opioid compounds and opiate derivatives has grown. The varied reasons to prescribe the pain relief substances found in opiates has grown as well.

An “opiate” is a “narcotic” and the byproduct of the Asian poppy flower. Opiates have been known for centuries to reduce pain and increase a euphoric sense of well being that easily becomes addicting. Addiction to opium has also been known to impoverish and create tragedy for many centuries. The opium trade flourishes in such places as Afghanistan and Pakistan where opium poppy plants are treated as a crop.

Heroin, for example, is one of the most well known street drugs derived from the opium poppy. Heroin is an illicit drug taken both orally and intravenously. The most common method of heroin abuse is injection. Heroin converts to morphine in the brain and binds to molecules which interact with the opioid receptors.

These opioid receptors trigger reward and pain mediation responses. A “rush” accompanies the chemical changes in the brain—more intense through intravenous injection— but because it is a depressant, heroin makes the user drowsy for hours after its use.  Heroin use can be deadly by slowing down normal body functions, such as heart rate and breathing. Overdosing is not uncommon by both long-term users and casual abusers of heroin.

The danger of mixing other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, barbiturates, and prescription drugs derived from opium such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, may exacerbate the situation of casual use to permanent dependency. This temptation to mix drugs stems from a desire either for a quicker effect on the brain and to avoid withdrawal symptoms which can be intensely painful. This has further led to high rates of accidental overdose and death even among casual first time users.

There are both biological and emotional reasons for addictions to substances known as “opiates” which include the following list:

Morphine

Codeine

Oxycodone

Hydrocodone

Meperidine

Paregoric

Oxymorphone

Methadone

Levorphanol

Fentanyl

Buprenorphine

For a complete list of commonly abused drugs visit National Institute of Drug Abuse

Regular use of prescribed opioids causes dependence both emotionally and biologically. A person with a dependency or addiction on opiate drugs will suffer withdrawal symptoms when  attempting to stop abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms may peak anywhere between 24 and 48 hours and last for many days.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

Severe headache

Nausea and vomiting

Shakes and shivering-chills

Rapid heart rate

Diarrhea

Restlessness

Insomnia

Runny nose and teary eyes

Some of the long term and immediate effects may include:

Heart, liver, and kidney damage

Respiratory failure

Cardiac arrest and cardiovascular damage

Brain and nerve damage

Overdose and possible death

Action Recovery Group’s alcohol and drug rehab website pages go into greater detail regarding the list of drugs cited on these pages. You can link to specific drug information pages here:

MARK I WOULD PUT THE HYPERLINKS TO ALL THE PAGES YOU’VE CREATED HERE

Drug Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a mind, body, and soul issue. All areas of a person’s health is at stake and must be treated appropriately. From nutrition, detoxification, counseling, medical treatment, to participation in a long term health routines; all are part of individualizing a person’s new plan for recovery from drug abuse and addictions.

The first line of defense in the fight against any drug addiction is a loved one—someone who cares. The second line of defense in drug abuse and addiction problems is finding the professional service right for you to help with drug detox and rehabilitation or recovery. Action Recovery Group of Ogden has a team of professionals eager to begin you or a loved one on the path to health and full recovery from drug addictions.

Sometimes people associate a drug rehab program with something shameful. It shows weakness, some think. This is a misconception and can do more damage. The opposite is true. Deciding to take action is a strength, and is the first sign of a person willing to take control over their body again.

There are several approaches the person seeking recovery must be aware of.  Some of these approaches are very personal and others include the help of others in rehab and recovery. A few of the programs and approaches which consistently show high results are included on these pages.

To begin helping a person on the road to a life without drug dependency The Action Recovery Group of Ogden offers compassionate and personalized cognitive behavioral therapy, along with an appropriate 12-step recovery.

Twelve Step

“Many have heard the term “12 Step Program” as it has been highly successful in ongoing alcoholism and drug addiction recovery. Here is some trusted information on the Twelve Step program used by most drug recovery and rehab programs in the country.

“A twelve-step program is a set of guiding principles (sometimes accepted by members as being ‘spiritual principles’) outlining a course of action for tackling problems including alcoholism, drug addiction and compulsion.

“Originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a method of recovery from alcoholism, HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-step_program” \l “cite_note-APA-1” [1] the original Twelve Steps were first published in the 1939 book  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Book_(Alcoholics_Anonymous)” \o “The Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous)” Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism. HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-step_program” \l “cite_note-BIGBOOK-2” [2] The method was adapted and became the foundation of other  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_twelve-step_groups” \o “List of twelve-step groups” twelve-step programs.

As summarized by the  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Psychological_Association” \o “American Psychological Association” American Psychological Association, the initial 12 steps involved the following: HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-step_program” \l “cite_note-APA-1” [1]

Admitting that one cannot control one’s alcoholism, addiction or compulsion;

Recognizing a higher power that can restore sanity;

Examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member);

Making amends for these errors;

Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;

Helping others who suffer from the same alcoholism, addictions or compulsions.

From Wikipedia:  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-step_program” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-step_program

How to Help a Loved One with Drug or Alcohol Addictions

EDUCATION

Learning about the addictions which are so common is society is the first step to helping another.  Addiction and drug abuse is not just about substances affecting the brain chemistry and central nervous system; it is much more. It involves underlying reasons for self-medicating and choosing to risk health by taking illicit drugs in the first place, or abusing legal substances in the second place.

Any number of things in life can become addicting, and once the emotions involving a person’s self-medicating are understood the sooner the addiction recovery process can take place.  Drug rehab programs treat the underlying causes of addictive behaviors. Drug rehabilitation can help turn negative behaviors into positive ones.

SUPPORTING EFFORTS VS. ENABLING

We love our family and friends. Supporting them towards a path to recovery does not mean enabling them. Enabling is disabling. One of the hardest things in life to do is to walk away from a person not willing to receive the help that is being offered to them. It is as heartbreaking as watching the death of someone we love.  In a real sense, those who suffer with drug addicted loved ones say it feels the same as watching a person suffering from cancers or other terminal illnesses.

It is important to become educated what some of the enabling vs. supportive behaviors are. It takes “action” to change a course in life. Enabling may be allowing a person to continue their substance abuse, offer money, housing, and excuse the addiction rather than insisting upon a course of action to cure the problem.

ESTABLISHING BOUNDERIES

There comes a point where you will no longer be able to be a part of your loved one’s addiction.  You will draw boundaries for their behavior and yours. These boundaries can be done rationally and issued in a challenging but loving way to the person who is addicted.

Boundaries both protect you and the person addicted. They protect other loved ones and family members. By closing certain doors and refusing to be “part of” the problem, the door remains open to be “part of the solution.”

LECTURING AND GUILT TRIPS DON’T WORK

Relationships with those we love become complicated when addictions are in play. Addictions are disease and require the support of professionals trained to treat the variety of drug abuse and dependency problems out there. If guilt or shame was effective, it probably would have worked by the time you chose to read this.

Love is not all soft feelings. It is also concerned feelings that can take strong measures to cure disease and challenges. You must be loving, and show support through strength of conviction and laying out a path for recovery that may include a drug rehab program. There are great programs that offer support for you as well.

Some of those public and non-profit programs to help support you and family members coping with addictions may include:

HYPERLINK “http://addictions.answers.com” \o “Addiction Answers” \t “_blank” Addiction Answers

HYPERLINK “http://al-anon.org/?gclid=CMX1-IyflcYCFZAAaQodaZMAmA” Al-Anon Family Groups

HYPERLINK “http://www.aa.org” \o “Alcoholics Anonymous” \t “_blank” Alcoholics Anonymous

HYPERLINK “http://www.ama-assn.org” \t “_blank” American Medical Association

HYPERLINK “http://www.ca.org/” Cocaine Anonymous

HYPERLINK “http://www.edc.org/projects/higher_education_center_alcohol_drug_abuse_and_violence_prevention” \o “Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention” \t “_blank” Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention

HYPERLINK “http://www.madd.org/” \o “Mothers Against Drunk Driving” \t “_blank” Mothers Against Drunk Driving

HYPERLINK “http://www.na.org/” \o “Narcotics Anonymous” \t “_blank” Narcotics Anonymous

HYPERLINK “http://www.niaaa.nih.gov” \o “National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)” \t “_blank” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

HYPERLINK “http://www.samhsa.gov” \o “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration” \t “_blank” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

ENCOURAGE TREATMENT AND DRUG REHAB PROGRAMS

An addicted person only sees the next hit and even beginning to complete a puzzle to “how to treat my problem” can seem overwhelming. Coaching toward an alcohol and drug rehab program can be as simple as starting out with the offer: “I will help you get professional treatment. Are you ready?”  This signals to the loved one that you are always there, ready to stand with them, and it doesn’t overwhelm the addicted person with a lot of choices. The choice is simple and it’s a matter of “Yes” or “No.”

The same holds true with spiritual guidance. Sometimes the first step for an addicted person—and this depends upon factors like personality, personal history with faith, and family background—is a trusted spiritual counselor. This can be a chaplain, minister, or even a person of trust that is willing to hold confidences.

Staying involved in a loving way is supportive and not enabling. It is critical that you are willing to go the distance; whatever that may be.

Drug Addiction Programs

If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, Action Recovery Group, of Ogden can help you start getting your lives back. For over 28 years, veteran Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor Rick Visser has been helping individuals get clean and sober and stay that way!  

Under Rick’s expert leadership and guidance, Action Recovery Group provides the 4 Essentials of Addiction Treatment and Recovery— everything you need in one location to achieve recovery success.

At the end of the day, success in drug rehabilitation and addiction recovery is what it is all about. When you are ready to take that first step toward freedom from the terrible consequences drug abuse and addictions create call the compassionate team at Action Recovery Group at (801) 473-HOPE!