Tag Archives: drug addiction

Energy Drinks and Addiction

While energy drinks are known to boost as person’s stamina and energy, they can also be highly addictive. These drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, which is just one of the reasons as to why a person can become addicted to drinking them. Drinking too many energy drinks in a short period of time can be very damaging to a person’s health. However, the effects can be far worse since addiction to energy drinks can heighten the risk of using other drugs and eventually suffering from drug abuse. The best way to avoid becoming addicted to energy drinks is by being educated about the dangers of these drinks and the links that they have to addiction.

 

Troublesome Links Between Energy Drinks and Addiction

 

Energy drinks act as a stimulant that affect the reward centers of your brain. People experience more intense feelings of happiness as well as a substantial boost in energy. As is the case with prescription stimulant medications, it’s possible to become addicted to energy drinks. Consuming these beverages on an occasional basis shouldn’t cause any problems. However, regular consumption can start making the body dependent on the drink in order to receive the energy that’s necessary for normal bodily functions. When the body and brain become dependent on energy drinks or a similar drug, it’s possible for side effects and withdrawal symptoms to develop whenever the substance hasn’t been consumed for a long time, which will in turn heighten cravings of the substance.

 

While addiction to energy drinks is harmful, the addicted individual may be prone to taking more serious drugs if their body starts to become tolerant to the effects of the energy drink. For instance, they may need to drink more of the beverage in order to receive the same energy boost that they once did. If so, this individual may start to experiment with other drugs that can provide them with the same boost or “high” that they were once able to achieve. A study that was performed by the National Institute of Drug Abuse found that individuals who regularly consume energy drinks have a much higher chance of taking prescription stimulants and cocaine. This study has found that the risk of alcohol abuse is also greater.

 

While energy drinks have yet to be classified as gateway drugs, there are some dangerous links between these beverage and drug abuse and addiction. Keep in mind that this stimulant affects adolescent brains more severely than it does with adults. Teenagers who consume high amounts of energy drinks during their adolescent years will oftentimes turn to the use and eventual abuse of more serious drugs as they grow older. It’s also much easier for teenagers to build a strong tolerance to the effects of energy drinks than it is with adults.

 

Signs of Energy Drink Addiction

 

If you suspect that someone close to you may be suffering from an energy drink addiction, there are a wide variety of signs and symptoms that you should look for to help determine if treatment is necessary. When a person has started to become addicted to energy drinks, they will need to consume this caffeine so that their energy can reach normal levels. If these people don’t consume energy drinks for a certain amount of time, they will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, which primarily include regular headaches and fatigue.

 

Mood changes and issues with concentration are also likely. Individuals who consume too many energy drinks will likely experience increased blood pressure, palpitations, and irregular heart rates. While it can sometimes be difficult to identify these symptoms, it’s important to look for any changes in a person’s behavior that come with drinking a large amount of energy drinks. These behavioral changes could be the first signs that the person is becoming addicted.

 

Additional Health Risks to Consider

 

Along with addiction, there are also some additional health risks that everyone should be aware of when regularly consuming energy drinks. Because of the high amount of caffeine found in energy drinks, it’s possible to become intoxicated from the caffeine, which means that withdrawal symptoms are possible. There’s even a chance that the addicted individual could overdose on caffeine, which could be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Some of the other health risks to keep in mind include:

 

  • Cardiovascular issues

 

  • Obesity

 

  • Dental Problems

 

  • Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea

 

  • Calcium deficiency

What Addiction Recovery Involves

 

Drug addiction is considered to be a chronic disease, which means that it’s essentially impossible to become fully cured from the disease once it has developed. In some ways, the body will always crave whatever drug or drink the addicted individual has become dependent on. However, addiction recovery is possible and can be very effective at lessening dependence on the drug in question. Any individual who has become addicted to another drug like cocaine because of their energy drink usage should seek addiction treatment immediately.

 

This treatment can either be administered in an inpatient or outpatient capacity. Outpatient treatment for addiction takes place several days each week for a couple of hours each day. The treatment will be provided at some sort of outpatient facility, which could be a medical office or a hospital. The addiction treatment provided in outpatient care is very similar to inpatient care but with the added benefit of being able to go home at anytime. Inpatient rehabilitation for a drug addiction or an addiction to energy drinks takes place in a residential facility where the patient will be required to stay 24/7 for a certain period of time, which could be anywhere from a month to more than a year.

 

When enrolling into an inpatient care program, treatment will begin with a detoxification process, which is designed to make sure that the drugs or energy drinks safely leave the body without causing severe withdrawal symptoms. Once the substances are out of the body, further treatment can begin. This treatment typically includes group therapy, individual counseling, and even family therapy if necessary. Group therapy aims to provide attendees with a welcoming and friendly atmosphere among people who are going through the exact same issues, while one-on-one counseling is designed to help the addicted individual identify what has caused their addiction, which should help them manage the addiction in the future.

 

While addiction to the caffeine found in energy drinks is problematic, the high that’s caused by strong doses of caffeine can invariably make an individual yearn for something stronger. Addiction to caffeine can be difficult to overcome. However, this type of addiction is not nearly as severe as becoming addicted to prescription stimulants or cocaine, both of which provide a similar yet more potent boost of energy as energy drinks.

 

Addiction treatment is so important because of how damaging a long-term addiction to stimulants can be to a person’s health. When abusing these drugs for a lengthy period of time, both psychological and physical effects will invariably occur. The psychological effects of long-term abuse include delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and depression. The physical effects can be even more severe and include:

 

  • Stroke

 

  • Seizures

 

  • Muscle deterioration

 

  • Cardiovascular damage

 

  • Headaches

 

  • Breathing issues

 

  • Extreme weight loss

 

  • Gastrointestinal problems

 

Dependence on stimulants and energy drinks can be reversed with treatment, which means that the long-term effects of this dependence can be mitigated if treated early enough.

 

If you believe that someone close to you has recently become addicted to energy drinks or has started taking more potent drugs because of this dependence, make sure that you seek addiction recovery as soon as possible.

 

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Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT)

Rapid Resolution Therapy is a gentle and effective therapeutic modality, created by Dr. John Connelly, LCSW that resolves trauma and other distress in as little as one session. Because the root causes of problems are pinpointed and cleared, positive changes endure. Negative emotions and destructive behavioral patterns are eliminated. 

Unlike other forms of treatment, with Rapid Resolution it is not necessary to relive past events or experience any pain. Rapid Resolution therapy integrates hypnosis, cognitive and playful techniques, to name a few, allowing for optimal healing through multiple levels of the mind. This type of therapy leads to dramatic improvements in thoughts, feelings and behavior. Rapid Resolution Therapy has effectively treated PTSD, other trauma/stress related disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbance, frozen grief, guilt, resentment and even aided in successful recovery from addiction.

Along with creating Rapid Resolution Therapy, Dr. Connelly has also founded The Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence, a non-profit (501C3) organization providing mental health professionals with state-of-the-art training in advanced clinical methods of eliminating the negative influence of trauma. You can learn more about Rapid Resolution Therapy and how to find providers in Austin, TX and all over the country by contacting me directly for a referral or by visiting the main Rapid Resolution Therapy website: www.rapidresolutiontherapy.org

Schedule a Free Consultation with: Julia Thompson:

 MSW NBCCH

TEXAS LMSW #66100

FLORIDA LCSW #SW14616

NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFIED CLINICAL HYPNOTHERAPIST

https://juliacthompson.com/rapid-resolution-therapy

RESOURCES

Article on Army website discussing RRT:  http://bit.ly/2ZTmQxh

Ted Talks video: “Life Changing power of words.” http://bit.ly/2GZDQuw

Julia Thompson: https://juliacthompson.com/

5 Addiction Recovery Hacks

Sober living can be a difficult feat for those who are dealing with alcoholism and other drug addiction problems. As much as you’d love to get through the initial stages of anxiety and depression so that you can enjoy sober living, your codependency on drugs can make a relapse feel like an inevitable instance. However, you can fix your codependency on alcoholism and drug addiction through the proper techniques of addiction recovery. We’re going to share with you some great ways to overcome anxiety, depression, and addiction in our five easy addiction recovery
hacks below.

Failure to plan is planing to fail.

1 – Create A Structured Schedule With New Habits

One of the biggest problems that you’re going to face is simply the urge to fall back into old habits. This becomes especially apparent when you don’t have any sort of structured plan. It’s easy to get bored and revert back. You need to think about the things in your life that need to be changed
first. This includes everything that would interfere with a drug-free lifestyle. Some examples include hanging out with people who do drugs or spending time with the same people who you indulged within the past.
Once you have a list of habits that will need to be changed, it’s time to create a structured schedule. We’re not talking about running yourself ragged trying to be someone completely new, but it will help to have a structure to each day to ensure that your mind is somewhat distracted
from your old habits. Take some time at the beginning of each day or week to plan out your schedule. This can help you focus on creating and obtaining long-term goals while protecting yourself from relapsing.

2 – Get Physically Active

While exercise may be the last thing on your mind right now, it’s going to help. You’ll need to be able to fill the void that used to be taken up by partaking in your favorite drug or drink of choice. What better way to fill that time than with some physical movement that will get your body feeling
alive? Exercise and general recreational activities can play a major rule in reducing your stress and restoring your sense of balance in life. You’ll also enjoy the benefits of better nutrition and overall health.
If you’re not overly interested in the traditional workout, then we suggest finding some sort of recreational activity that you enjoy doing. For example, join a local team sport, go hiking, go biking, or just simply get moving some other way. Something as simple as fishing a few times a week can get you outside and moving. The more used to the activity that your body gets, the more strenuous activities you can partake in on a regular basis.

3 – Develop New Relationships

While this may be a scary thought, the current relationships you have in your life can be triggers for relapse. We’re not saying to completely ignore everyone you’ve developed a relationship with up to this point, but realize they’re part of your old lifestyle. You need to introduce some new
relationships into your life in order to bring on a new life for you.
They always say to pick your friends wisely. Your thought process should be along these lines. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, don’t focus on creating relationships with those who spend their weekends at the bar. While they may be great people, they’re just going to enable you to relapse.
We know that it can be easier to make friends with those who you’ve had much in common with, such as hanging out at the bar. However, you must work to craft new relationships with people who have a different lifestyle than your older associates. For example, making friends with
someone from a local sports team can allow you to be influenced to participate in more physical activity.

4 – Wear Something To Symbolize Your Commitment To Sobriety

While there are many wristlets, shirts, hats, and other decors that you can sport showing off your sobriety, we want you to think beyond that. Instead, think about an item that you can wear each day. This may be a special watch or custom band. It doesn’t need to say recovering or sobriety on
it. Rather, you are the only one who has to know what it means to you.
When you wake up each morning and see your wrist band, you know that it means sobriety to you. It can help you take control of your choices and consistently remind you of your commitment to yourself to stay sober. Many recovering addictions find that it’s hard to remember their emotional
commitments in times when stress is high. They tend to make regretful decisions based on a whim. Imagine having something physically there to remind you not to drink or use. This is what your piece of adornment will do for you.

5 – Make Contingency Plans

A big issue with the task of staying sober is falling off the bandwagon. As human beings, we have this urge to think that we completely messed everything up when we do one thing wrong. For example, if you find yourself drinking one beer, suddenly you look at it as a failure on your part.
You say ‘screw it, I might as well have another cause I already messed it up!” This can lead to a drastic fall off the edge of the sobriety cliff. Instead, work on making contingency plans to help when you make that initial wrong mistake. This will save you from completely jumping off of the
edge and going way back into your addiction. Sit down and think up as many viable scenarios as you can. For example, in your old lifestyle, you
may have immediately pulled into the parking lot of a liquor store when you drove past. This is something that you’re going to have to create a contingency plan for. A solution may be if I pull into the liquor store parking lot, I’ll look at the picture of my son in my wallet, remember that I’m stronger than my addiction, and simply drive back out of the parking lot. This may seem like an easy plan, but you may be surprised just how quickly your mind will jump to pulling out that picture when you find yourself in that scenario. By having a game plan of how you’re going to
handle scenarios, it gives you a choice between old habits and new ones.
Overcoming addiction of any kind is a difficult feat for everyone. There’s no magical pill that will change you overnight just like there’s no diet pill that will take you from overweight to thin in a week. Creating a new addiction-free lifestyle for yourself is something that you’re going to have to
work for. The major components of success rely on being consistent and level-headed. Realize that mishaps are going to happen and that you can deal with them. No one is perfect and it takes commitment to live the life that we desire. The above addiction recovery hacks are a great basis to get you started on your new lifestyle. We encourage you to focus on all five areas and work on being as consistent as possible with them. As you endeavor more and more into your addiction-free lifestyle, you’ll be able to create new habits that steer your life in the direction that you want instead of in the direction that you don’t.

Texas Opiate Crisis

 

The increasingly prevalent use of opioids has triggered one of the most serious drug crises in the country’s history. In almost every state, fatal overdoses are being reported on an almost daily basis. Here’s what you need to know about the crisis in Texas.

 

The Use of Opioids appears to be Most Prevalent in East and North Texas

 

Reports show that opioid-related admissions and fatalities are concentrated in East and North Texas, which includes a lot of rural counties. Overdose fatalities due to opioid use in some counties in Texas surpassed 24 deaths per 100,000 in 2016.

 

Various counties by the Red River have also recorded increased rates of drug overdose mortalities. For example, Baylor County has recorded over 30 fatalities per 100,000, which is the highest in the state.

 

Half of all Opioid-Related Deaths Are as a Result of Legally Prescribed Opioid Medications

 

Interestingly, the majority of people who have an opioid use disorder trace their addiction back to legally prescribed opioid painkillers. The leading sources of these opioid prescriptions include doctors, dentists, and surgeons. Consequently, reports indicate that drug overdoses are most prevalent in areas where most opioid prescriptions are made.

 

And because prescribed opioid painkillers are becoming increasingly harder to get, individuals who developed a dependency on those medications transition to the use of illegal opiates such as heroin. Heroin produces a similar sensation to the medication while being easier and cheaper to obtain. What is even more concerning is that this drug is being laced with lethal synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Drug traffickers are lacing heroin with fentanyl to make their product even more potent as fentanyl is about 50 times stronger than morphine. As a result, the likelihood of an overdose is dramatically increased. In fact, deaths that were fentanyl-related almost doubled between 2015 and 2016.

Of the 1,174 opioid-related deaths reported in 2015, prescribed opioids accounted for 517, heroin had 516, while synthetic opioids resulted in 153 deaths.

 

Texas’ Opioid Crisis Could Get Worse

 

While fentanyl-laced illegal opiates are the leading cause of recent overdose fatalities nationally, in Texas, fentanyl has only caused about 4 percent of heroin-related deaths. This is because the most common type of heroin available in Texas, known as blacks tar, is a lot harder to mix with the synthetic opioid as compared to white powder heroin.

 

However, that safety bubble is about to bust as reports indicate that white powder heroin is becoming increasingly available in Texas. Moreover, drug dealers are already mixing fentanyl with black tar. Additionally, more and more illicit drugs are getting laced with fentanyl, thus increasing the risk of fentanyl-related overdoses.

 

As we have covered, opioid use is very likely to result in dependency and addiction. This addiction is eventually what leads to an overdose as the addict needs to take more and more to achieve the same level of high.

 

What Happens When You Take an Opioid?

 

Upon ingesting, inhaling, or injecting an opioid into their body, the opioid enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain. There, it attaches to an opioid receptor which reduces the perception of pain thus having a sedating effect.

 

For most people, the stimulation of opioid receptors causes a mild pleasurable sensation. Others report feeling a sense of well-being while others say they feel motivated or energized. Others might experience unpleasant side effects such as irritability, nausea, and vomiting.

 

There are also those who experience an intense euphoria upon taking an opioid. Unfortunately, these are the individuals who are likely to develop a dependency on the drug thus leading to addiction.

 

Nonetheless, the body gradually builds a tolerance towards the drug. As such, the individual has to take larger quantities of the opioid to achieve their desired euphoric sensation. This results in long-term changes in the brain’s structure and function. Consequently, this results in changes in their behavior as well.

What is Opioid Dependence?

 

This is an addiction to opioids. Thus, it is a brain condition characterized by both a physical as well as a psychological need for the drug and therefore requires opioid addiction treatment. A dependent or addicted individual is one who exhibits compulsive opioid use despite the obvious harm the drug poses. They cannot seem to stop their use even though they know that they should stop.

 

An opioid addiction is typically characterized by intense cravings and the subsequent loss of control over their usage. Behaviors that signal a need for opioid dependency treatment include:

 

 Loss of control over usage

 Denying that there is a problem

 Spending a lot of time looking for and using opioids

 Missing out on important obligations because of opioid use

 A persistent desire to quit but failing frequently

 Continued use despite the harm it poses.

 

Getting over an opioid addiction can be a challenging endeavor. This is because, as mentioned earlier, an opioid addiction typically results in long-term changes to the brain’s configuration. Consequently, the individual is unable to stay long periods without using.

 

Moreover, the withdrawal effects that follow the stoppage of use are dangerous and can even be fatal. As such, professional help is necessary to help the addicted individual to get over their dependency safely while reducing the chance of a relapse. The following are some of the most effective opioid addiction treatments available in Texas:

 

  • Inpatient Opioid Rehab

 

Here, the patient checks into a rehab facility where their treatment is overseen by a team of medical specialists. First, the addict is helped to cease their drug use through structured pain management programs that help them deal with the withdrawal effects that follow stoppage. Additionally, the patient receives psychological treatment that aims to address the root of their addiction while helping them find better ways to cope so as to prevent future relapses.

 

  • Intensive Outpatient Programs

 

Also known as partial hospitalization programs, people who opt for intensive outpatient programs will still receive the necessary medication to help them manage their withdrawal symptoms and to aid in recovery and sober living. Thus, the patient will still be living at home, going to work, and spending time with their loved ones.

 

Nevertheless, they will have to make regular clinic visits up to 6 times a week so their progress can be monitored. The individual will also receive mental health assessments as well as therapy.

 

Partial hospitalization programs are a good substitute for inpatient rehab in certain cases. Your doctor should help you determine whether they are a good fit for the addicted individual.

 

  • Partial Hospitalization

 

An ambulatory detoxification program is a type of outpatient treatment as it provides the benefits of inpatient detoxification but at a less restrictive and more cost-effective setting. Ambulatory detox programs typically offer all the services expected in an outpatient program.

  • Ambulatory Detoxification Program

Nevertheless, this treatment is only suitable for patients who have or are expected to have, mild to moderate symptoms of withdrawal. Therefore, a person who experiences severe withdrawal symptoms needs inpatient treatment as this will allow for medical oversight to ensure that the withdrawal symptoms do not result in a fatality.

With opioid use becoming more prevalent in Texas, it is necessary that we do what all we can to prevent unnecessary deaths. If you have a loved one suffering from opioid use or abuse, getting them to an addiction treatment center sooner will help you turn their lives around, so they do not end up as another opioid-related statistic. Guide them to the path to sober living.

 

 

Navigating Safely into the New Year while in Recovery

While recovering from any addiction, it’s important to avoid anything that can trigger a relapse. This is especially difficult during the winter holiday season because it tends to be longer than the others. Also, there are more celebrations, family and friends reunions scheduled for this time of the year than at any other time of the year.

 

To stay sober, you should start your transition on to the New Year with a resolve to stay sober. As hard as it might be, especially for a person who has just gone through intensive treatment for an addiction, it is crucial that you discipline yourself and be aware of negative habits that might crop up as you try to avoid the primary addiction. Here are strategies for staying sober during the holiday season.

 

Have a Plan

 

It’s the festive season and just because you are in recovery does not mean that you cannot have some fun as most of the world is. The only important thing is to have a plan. Only attend important meetups or celebrations and have with you someone close to watch and offer the support system you need. Some alcohol addiction patients may get an urge or temptation to taste alcohol just by seeing or smelling it at the party. If you think you can have these tendencies avoid such parties. Most family gatherings are relaxed and have less alcohol served. These can be ideal for a start. However, when going to such parties, prepare your mind for any eventuality. You might come face to face with alcohol, smell it and even watch people as they enjoy the drink. You can carry with you an alcohol-free drink that soothes you and helps keep your mind off alcohol.

 

Reduce Stress

 

Stress can trigger a relapse. Some situations are unavoidable but being prepared can make a lot of difference. Apart from the celebrations, sibling rivalry, fights with friends and other misunderstandings are a normal part of the festive season. You cannot avoid people because this can lead to other problems like screen addiction or tech addiction as happens to people who stay indoors for too long. To avoid stress, always be in the company of people who understand, support and are ready to help you through the setbacks. If you reach out to stress-relieving pills every time you experience anxiety or stress, you are at  risk of dependency or drug addiction.

 

Avoid Old Friends

 

As much as you can, avoid friends you used to party with or who drink or abuse drugs. The more you associate yourself with them, the easier it will be for you to slip back to your old ways. Sober living requires you to drop as many of your old friends as possible and get new ones, probably those who are walking your journey. When you have like-minded people, the journey becomes easier, and there are fewer temptations along the way. If you can’t avoid drinking friends, let them know of your intentions to stay sober, the effort you have been putting to fight alcohol addiction and ask for their help. Most probably they already know you were drinking way too much or were battling other addictions such as tech addiction or screen addiction. Ask them to avoid bringing alcohol along when they visit you.

 

Eat

Hunger is one of the triggers for most addictions including alcohol,video gaming addiction, and drug addiction. Having a meal or snack every three hours ensures that your blood sugar levels are optimal, your thinking is not affected and you have the energy to make the right decisions. Before joining a party, make sure you have eaten well, you can even carry a snack along. Other triggers include anger, loneliness, and fatigue. If you find yourself idle, your mind can go back to the things it was accustomed to.

 

To avoid tech or video gaming addiction, keep yourself busy with meaningful things. Being in control of your mental and physical health is important for your wellbeing. When you overwork, your energy levels go down which can trigger a relapse. Holiday festivals demand that you sleep late, party a lot and work hard to entertain guests. Having a plan ensures you get enough sleep and take breaks to avoid burning out.

 

Learn How to Say No

 

Most often, recovering patients shy away from telling their extended families or friends about their healing process. This puts them into awkward situations in parties or family gatherings where alcohol is being served. A well-meaning aunt or friend can hand you a glass or a whole bottle of wine, how do you politely say no? You need to have rehearsed this before. This gives you the preparedness to say no and settle for it. You don’t have to say no to the offer outrightly but can use a clever way to get out of the situation. Not involving everyone in this journey can be an advantage because you don’t have to endure the judgment that comes with such a revelation but you need to have a plan that gets you out of any tricky situation. To be on the safe side, always have an accountability partner every time you attend parties.

 

Evaluate Your Progress

It’s not an easy journey. Sometimes you will fall, other times you will have relapses, and in some instances, you will feel desperate and ready to give up. The urge to drink at times will be so strong that sober living will seem like an impossibility. Do not be too hard on yourself. If you slip once or twice, dust yourself and keep pushing forward. With time, things will get better. To be on the safe side, book yourself into more stay sober treats and make sure you attend all your therapy and counseling sessions. If possible, stick close to the support groups, make friends within the circle and find entertaining but safe ways to spend the holidays within the circle. This is especially important if you have just come out of an intensive treatment plan.

 

What you should always remember during the New Year season is that there are busy and not too busy triggers. Busy triggers include friends and family parties and old friends visiting you. Not busy triggers include loneliness, shame, guilt, and loss.

 

Conclusion

 

It’s essential to identify each emotion and take the necessary steps to deal with it. One of the things you may experience when around the extended family is low self-esteem. Addiction comes with a loss of earnings, poor health, marital and family problems that cannot be hidden. People may judge you, others may not be willing to forgive or accept you back or even help you on the journey to recovery, but you need to be strong and always stay close to positive people who embrace and love you just the way you are. If all fails, opt for sober living houses. This will significantly help you transition into the new year sober and focused on your long-term goal of kicking out the addiction.