The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Valium (Diazepam) The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Valium (Diazepam)

Some people mix Valium with alcohol to intensify the calming effects of each drug unaware of the dangers they present. Mixing alcohol with Valium can increase the chances of overdose, liver problems, cardiovascular problems, and memory problems.

Why Is My Loved One Abusing Alcohol And Valium?

Many people drink alcohol to help them relax or unwind, and mixing it with Valium can actually intensify those effects—in a negative way. That’s because alcohol is considered a depressant and so is Valium.

Valium is the most common brand name of diazepam, which belongs to a drug class called benzodiazepines. These depressant are most commonly used to treat anxiety, insomnia, panic disorders, and muscle spasms. When dosage is being supervised by a physician, Valium can be also be a safe way to manage some of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Valium (Diazepam) Dangerous TO Their Health

Alcohol and Valium reduce the activity in a person’s central nervous system, which is why when someone drinks they often feel drowsy, sleepy, or lightheaded. Mixing the two can be dangerous, because each drug, no matter how potent, is intensified by the other.

Not everyone mixes alcohol with Valium to intensify the effects of each drug—sometimes it happens by accident. If it is on purpose, it might be easier to understand why they did it, if you know more about their background. That’s because addiction can have genetic, psychological, physiological and social factors that contribute to each individual’s illness and symptoms.

The fact is, it isn’t always easy to tell if someone you love is abusing drugs or alcohol. They may get defensive when confronted, change the subject, or seem distant. Here are some of the other things to tell if a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol, they might:

  • spend a lot of time alone
  • lose interest in their favorite things
  • get messy—for instance, not bathe, change clothes, or brush their teeth
  • be really tired and sad
  • be very energetic, talk fast, or say things that don’t make sense
  • be nervous or cranky (in a bad mood)
  • quickly change between feeling bad and feeling good
  • sleep at strange hours
  • miss important appointments
  • have problems at work
  • eat a lot more or a lot less than usual

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Addiction is an illness characterized by a person’s inability to stop using drugs. That’s why some people are able leave substances alone, while others are not. A lot of people require an individualized treatment based on their needs, in order to stop using drugs.

Understanding An Addiction To Depressants

Addiction to benzodiazepines can result from past trauma, undertreated anxiety disorders, and also from excessive use of the drug. A lot of people start using depressants like Valium or alcohol to feel normal. But normal may be a term used for feeling relaxed, getting enough sleep, and so on. Using a drug to feel normal is a type of unhealthy coping, and it can be extremely dangerous. This type of coping has potential to lead to dependence, tolerance, lack of control, and co-occurring disorders.

As time goes on, a people might become unable to handle reality without a drug. They might take the drug so much, that they start building up a tolerance, which means that they need more of the drug than when they first started using it. After a person develops a tolerance to depressants, they become more likely to also develop a dependence.

When a lot of people become physically dependent upon drugs, they also begin having intense cravings, and may not be able to control of the amount they’re using, or when they’ll stop. Alcohol dependence is also referred to as alcoholism. Valium may have originally been used to treat a legitimate medical purpose, but when it’s abused, it can become a vice, and a person may not be able to find balance without it.

The same goes for alcohol—when a person drinks moderately, they may not have an issue with alcohol abuse or alcoholism, but as they continue binge drinking, or drinking too much, they may find that they’re unable to stop once they pick up the first drink.

What Happens When You Mix Valium With Alcohol?

An overdose is caused when a person takes too much of a drug and their body is unable to metabolize it fast enough. Mixing alcohol and Valium can increase the risk of overdose. It often leads to unintended, and unpredictable symptoms; an overdose can be fatal.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism not only does mixing depressants increase the chance of overdose, it can:

  • slow down heart rate
  • slowed or difficulty breathing
  • impaired motor control
  • unusual behavior
  • memory problems

As previously mentioned, some people mix Valium with alcohol without understanding the danger. Many will develop an addiction to both of these drugs. This is known as polysubstance addiction or polysubstance use disorder.

Polysubstance refers more than one drug, and is outlined by the Australian Government Department of Health as when “people who are trying to cut down their use of one drug find that they start to use more of another drug to help manage withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to be careful in these situations because the person might find they develop a problem with two drugs rather than one.” The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Valium (Diazepam) Mixing Depressants Increase

Mixing alcohol with Valium also damages the liver, which is essentially the body’s filter. Liver damage can end with other, sometimes fatal, conditions such as cirrhosis, or hepatitis. When Valium is being prescribed to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, be sure that your loved one is leaving enough time in between the two substances to avoid danger.

How Long After Taking Valium Is It Safe To Drink Alcohol?

The half-life of Valium is fairly long, and can be anywhere from 20 to 80 hours. Let’s say someone is fairly healthy in most respects, and the half-life of Valium in their body is 24 hours. This means that after 24 hours, half of the drug is still in their system. After 24 more hours, there will be a quarter of the drug left in their system. And so on…

On average, for a healthy person, there will have been up to 150 hours passed by the time Valium is completely out of their system—that’s just over six days. Mixing alcohol into that time frame can be extremely dangerous. A lot of people don’t realize this, but alcohol with Valium in the system can be fatal.

It’s different taking Valium after alcohol, because alcohol is out of the system at a relatively fast rate. Generally, it takes your body about 1 hour to process 1 standard alcoholic drink. For someone with a slower metabolism, alcohol might be in their system longer. The previously mentioned time frame of alcohol metabolism can also vary based on a person’s weight, age, amount consumed, and height.

Keep in mind that no matter what, it isn’t safe to mix substances, and if you’re having a hard time stopping, there’s help. In fact, there are people who make it their life’s work to help others recover from addiction. If you’re unsure about what to do to stop abusing drugs or alcohol, sometimes the safest thing to do is ask.

What To Do If You Can’t Stop Using Drugs

In 2009, 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem. Of these, only 2.6 million received it at a specialty facility.

It’s true, not everybody gets help for an addiction, even though it might be risky to continue living with one. It’s especially hard to lose a loved one to drugs or alcohol, if you didn’t know that they had an issue in the first place. If you think someone you love is suffering from a drug addiction, don’t give up hope, and don’t ignore the problem.

“About 570,000 people die annually in the U.S. due to drug use,” (NIDA for Teens). The fact is that there are too many good people lost to drug addiction, and the United States is currently in the middle of a drug epidemic. The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Valium (Diazepam) Develop A Problem With Two

One of the best ways to ensure your safety is to take an active approach towards recovery. There are a lot of different addiction treatments that help people overcome the mental and physical addictions caused by Valium and alcohol.

The first part of treatment is known as detoxification. This is essentially the removal of unwanted chemicals and substances, as well as management of withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms of alcohol and benzodiazepines can be painful and uncomfortable—they also have potential to increase the chance of relapse. Once a medical detox is complete, the mental healing can begin.

Oftentimes, a mental addiction can be treated at an inpatient or outpatient rehab, with one of the following behavioral therapies:

  • Medication Assisted Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Mindfulness and Stress Management
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Group and Individual Therapy

Find The Best Treatment To Help You Stop Using Drugs

If you’re ready to overcome addiction, but don’t know where to begin, contact a treatment specialist at We want to help you or your loved one find treatment, figure out how to fund it, and where to go for it. Call today to learn more.

For more information, call now!

For More Information Related to “The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Valium (Diazepam)” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



Australian Government Department of Health – Polydrug Use
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – Mixing Alcohol with Medicines
National Institute on Drug Abuse – Signs of Drug Use and Addiction
Treatment Statistics
NIDA for Teens – Drug Facts Chat Day: Drug Use

The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With Hydrocodone (Vicodin) The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With Hydrocodone (Vicodin)

Vicodin is a prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain which contains both the opioid hydrocodone and paracetamol (acetaminophen). Combining alcohol with an opioid such as hydrocodone can lead to devastating consequences. Both drugs are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Combining them magnifies these effects in a way which can lead to respiratory depression, brain damage, coma, and death. Used together they can also cause kidney damage and acute liver failure.

What Is Vicodin?

Vicodin is a combination medication, that is, it actually consists of two drugs, hydrocodone and acetaminophen, both of which are painkillers. Vicodin is used to treat moderate to severe pain, either for the purpose of temporary relief or for ongoing chronic pain management.

When the drug is used properly, as prescribed, it is for most extents and purposes safe. But this safety is fleeting if Vicodin is taken in a way other than prescribed and/or with another drug.

While the acetaminophen is meant to somewhat act as an abuse deterrent, some individuals still choose to misuse their prescription or use Vicodin recreationally. Doing so can lead to dependence, tolerance, withdrawal, addiction, and overdose. Even individuals who misuse their own prescription to self-medicate can stumble onto this treacherous path.

Is It Dangerous To Combine Alcohol And Vicodin?

Alcohol causes the sedative qualities of opioid drugs to intensify. This can create an intoxicated state much faster than a person anticipates. Even using a small amount of alcohol with opioids can do this. This is why it’s dangerous to drink alcohol if you’ve been prescribed Vicodin or if you use it illicitly. The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With Hydrocodone (Vicodin) Dangerous To Drink Alcohol

In these states a person will become uncoordinated with poor balance, which leads to a higher risk of falls and injuries. Memory loss will occur and a person will become too impaired to drive a vehicle.

Alcohol And Vicodin Have A High Potential For Overdose

As depressants, Alcohol and Vicodin both change the way your brain and CNS regulate your heart, breathing, blood pressure, and temperature rates, causing them to slow down. When you drink alcohol with Vicodin (even in small amounts), these life-sustaining functions can become seriously compromised and in certain cases begin shutting down.

If a person uses one or both drugs to excess, they face an even greater peril of progressing to a fatal overdose. When this happens your organs and life-support systems begin to shut down. This is just from the effects of the alcohol and hydrocodone.

The acetaminophen in the Vicodin can also cause overdose if a person consumes too much. MedLine Plus cautions that any amount reaching or surpassing 7,000 mg can initiate acute overdose.

What Are The Signs Of An Alcohol And Vicodin Overdose?

If your loved one is taking both alcohol and Vicodin, understanding the signs of overdose could help to save their life.

Signs of overdose include:

  • Cold skin
  • Decreased cognitive functions
  • Excessive dizziness
  • Extreme confusion
  • Irregular and falling heart rate
  • Irregular, slowed, or stopped breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Passing out
  • Seizures
  • Stupor
  • Weak pulse

One of the most dangerous side effects of overdose is respiratory depression. As a person’s breathing continues to plummet their brain is deprived of oxygen. When this happens, other organ systems follow suit and begin to shut down. The lack of oxygen can also lead to brain damage. During overdose a person can completely stop breathing, fall into a coma, and/or die.

Overdose is not something you can afford to take your time on. When a person is overdosing there’s a good chance they could lose their life unless they get prompt medical attention.

If you at all suspect that yourself or a person near to you is overdosing, or in jeopardy of doing so, contact emergency medical services immediately.

Using Vicodin And Alcohol Together Can Harm Your Organs

Both alcohol and Vicodin can, when abused separately, be harmful to your liver. When these drugs are used together the damage to your liver is compounded. Chronic drinkers should try to abstain from using any acetaminophen-containing product for these reasons.

Your liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol. When you drink too much, such as within patterns of binge drinking or chronic use, this organ cannot keep up. This causes an immense strain on your liver, one, which over time, can lead to liver damage. The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With Hydrocodone (Vicodin) Chronic Drinkers

Vicodin abuse can also damage your liver. “Taking too much acetaminophen…is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States,” warns Mayo Clinic. Acute liver failure can, according to DailyMed, lead to liver transplant and death.

Using acetaminophen can lead to acute liver failure by one of two ways, either by taking:

  • A single dose of the drug which is too high
  • Doses higher than the daily recommendation for several consecutive days

For individuals who abuse Vicodin, this is a very real concern. Drug abusers use Vicodin in both of these patterns.

One scientific survey determined that this drug interaction can harm your kidneys too. It found that “Respondents who reported taking both acetaminophen and drinking lightly or moderately had a more than two-fold higher risk for kidney dysfunction.”

How Much Vicodin Is Too Much?

The FDA established that the maximum amount of acetaminophen per day is 4,000 mg. To put this in perspective, Harvard Medical reports that liver damage can begin occurring just beyond this, at 5,000 mg. This equates to just over 16 Vicodin a day (containing 300 mg of acetaminophen each). While this may seem like a lot, surpassing this amount can come quite easily to individuals who abuse this drug on a regular basis, especially for those who have a tolerance.

Tolerant individuals need higher doses of the drug to create the high or pain-relieving effects they seek. This, in turn, means they’re far more likely to take these toxic amounts of Vicodin. The range of Vicodin an addicted individual takes per day can vary, but some people may take 40 or more tablets a day. When the alcohol is added to the mix, it takes far less Vicodin to create these devastating effects. The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With Hydrocodone (Vicodin) 40 Or More

Even light to moderate use of alcohol paired with prescribed dosages of Vicodin can begin to damage your organs and create an intoxicated state. The risk of overdose escalates when you increase your consumption of either drug. The bottom line is that combining these drugs in any quantity is harmful to your health.

How Do I Get Help For My Addiction?

If you’re addicted to one or both of these drugs you need to get help as quickly as possible in order to protect your body and brain. Fortunately, there are inpatient drug rehab programs all across the country which can help you with these needs.

Alcohol and Vicodin addictions often require a medical detox to treat the physical addiction. After you’ve progressed through detoxification it’s best to proceed directly to treatment. The most comprehensive programs offer both of these services under one roof. The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With Hydrocodone (Vicodin) Harmful For Your Health

During your program, medication-assisted treatments, behavioral therapies, counseling, and a wide-range of other modalities will be implemented to help you reach a sober state. Aftercare programs typically follow, which will help you to stay strong in your commitment to sobriety.

Don’t Let Your Addiction Go Any Further

If you’re concerned that someone you care about is mixing alcohol and Vicodin in a way which could harm their health, reach out to us at today. Our confidential assessment will get you started on the path to a healthier, drug-free life.

If you or a loved one is battling methamphetamine abuse or addiction, contact us now!

For More Information Related to “The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With Hydrocodone (Vicodin)” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



DailyMedLABEL: Vicodin HP
Harvard Health Publications — Overdosing Acetaminophen
MedLine PlusAcetaminophen overdose
MedLine PlusHydrocodone Combination Products

Common Street Names For Illegal Drugs Common Street Names For Illegal Drugs

Illegal drugs sold on the street are often marketed or discussed under different names. These code names were devised to dissuade authorities (such as parents, police officers, or others) from evidence of drug abuse. Knowing the common street names for illegal drugs can be useful to those who suspect someone they know is abusing drugs. Treatment for illegal drug abuse or addiction requires comprehensive healing plans and professional support.

Have you ever heard a drug called by a name that’s unrelated to the drug itself? Or, maybe you suspect someone you know is abusing drugs, but aren’t sure and would like to find out.

Knowing the common street names for illegal drugs can help you learn how drugs are regarded on the street—sometimes the street name hints at the drug’s intended effects. An overview of street names for drugs can also help you identify them in conversation if someone close to you is at risk of abusing them. Common Street Names For Illegal Drugs_knowing Street Names

The best recourse for abuse of drugs, and addiction to them, is treatment. can connect you with the resources necessary to find treatment that works for you or your loved one.

Why Street Names?

In simple terms, street names were developed for common use in conversation about illegal drugs. What do you do if you don’t want authorities, parents, teachers or others to know about drug abuse? You speak in a sort of code. Common Street Names For Illegal Drugs_Street Names Developed

Some street names may have entered mainstream vernacular (everyday language). Others are used mostly by those abusing or trafficking drugs. Either way, if you suspect someone you know is abusing illegal drugs, it can be useful to know the everyday names for them.

Common Street Names


  • Aunt Nora
  • Bernice
  • Binge
  • Blow
  • Bump
  • C
  • Candy
  • Charlie
  • Coke
  • Dust
  • Flake
  • Mojo
  • Nose Candy
  • Paradise
  • Rock
  • Sneeze
  • Sniff
  • Snow
  • Toot
  • White

Crack cocaine:

  • 24-7
  • Apple jacks
  • Badrock
  • Ball
  • Base
  • Beat
  • Candy
  • Chemical
  • Cloud
  • Cookies
  • Crack
  • Crumbs
  • Crunch and munch
  • Devil drug
  • Dice
  • Electric kool-aid
  • Fat bags
  • French fries
  • Glo
  • Gravel
  • Grit
  • Hail
  • Hard ball
  • Hard rock
  • Hotcakes
  • Ice cube
  • Jelly beans
  • Kryptonite
  • Nuggets
  • Paste
  • Piece
  • Prime time
  • Product
  • Raw
  • Rock(s)
  • Rockstar
  • Roxanne
  • Scrabble
  • Sleet
  • Snow coke
  • Sugar block
  • Topo (Spanish word)
  • Tornado
  • Troop

Depressants (prescription sedatives)


  • Barbs
  • Phennies
  • Red birds
  • Reds
  • Tooies
  • Yellow jackets
  • Yellows


  • Rohypnol (AKA Flunitrazepam):
    • Circles
    • Date rape drug
    • Forget pill
    • Forget-me pill
    • La Rocha
    • Lunch money
    • Mexican Valium
    • Mind eraser
    • Pingus
    • R2
    • Reynolds
    • Rib
    • Roach
    • Roach 2
    • Roaches
    • Roachies
    • Roapies
    • Rochas Dos
    • Roofies
    • Rope
    • Rophies
    • Row-shay
    • Ruffies
    • Trip-and-fall
    • Wolfies

Sleep medications:

  • Forget-me pills
  • Mexican valium
  • R2
  • Roche
  • Roofies
  • Roofinol
  • Rope
  • Rophies



  • Cat Valium
  • Green
  • K
  • Jet
  • Special K
  • Super acid
  • Super C
  • Vitamin K


  • Acid
  • Battery acid
  • Blotter
  • Bloomers
  • Blue heaven
  • California Sunshine
  • Cid
  • Cubes
  • Doses
  • Dots
  • Golden dragon
  • Heavenly blue
  • Hippie
  • Loony toons
  • Lucy in the sky with diamonds
  • Microdot
  • Pane
  • Purple Heart
  • Superman
  • Tab
  • Window pane
  • Yellow sunshine
  • Zen

Mescaline (AKA Peyote):

  • Buttons
  • Cactus
  • Mesc


  • Angel dust
  • Boat
  • Hog
  • Love boat
  • Peace pill


  • Little smoke
  • Magic mushrooms
  • Purple passion
  • Shrooms

Ecstasy (aka MDMA):

  • Adam
  • Beans
  • Cadillac
  • California sunrise
  • Clarity
  • E
  • Essence
  • Elephants
  • Eve
  • Hug
  • Hug drug
  • Love drug
  • Love pill
  • Lover’s speed
  • Molly
  • Peace
  • Roll
  • Scooby snacks
  • Snowball
  • Uppers
  • X
  • XE
  • XTC



  • Air blast
  • Ames
  • Amys
  • Aroma of men
  • Bolt
  • Boppers
  • Bullet
  • Bullet bolt
  • Buzz bomb
  • Discorama
  • Hardware
  • Heart-on
  • Hiagra-in-a-bottle
  • Highball
  • Hippie crack
  • Huff
  • Laughing gas
  • Locker room
  • Medusa
  • Moon gas
  • Oz
  • Pearls
  • Poor man’s pot
  • Poppers
  • Quicksilver
  • Rush snappers
  • Satan’s secret
  • Shoot the breeze
  • Snappers
  • Snotballs
  • Spray
  • Texas shoe shine
  • Thrust
  • Toilet water
  • Toncho
  • Whippets
  • Whiteouts


  • Abyssinian tea
  • African salad
  • Catha
  • Chat
  • Kat
  • Oat


  • Biak-biak
  • Herbal speedball
  • Ketum
  • Kahuam
  • Ithang
  • Thom


  • Astro Yurf
  • Bhang
  • Blunt
  • Bud(s)
  • Blaze
  • Dagga
  • Dope
  • Dry high
  • Ganja
  • Grass
  • Green
  • Hemp
  • Herb
  • Home grown
  • J
  • Joint
  • Mary Jane
  • Pot
  • Puff
  • Reefer
  • Roach
  • Sinsemilla
  • Skunk
  • Smoke
  • Texas tea
  • Trees
  • Weed
  • White widow


  • Boom, Chocolate, Gangster, Hash, Hemp


  • Beanies
  • Brown
  • Crank
  • Chalk
  • Chicken feed
  • Cinnamon
  • Crink
  • Crypto
  • Crystal
  • Fire
  • Get go
  • Glass
  • Go fast
  • Ice
  • Meth
  • Methlies quick
  • Mexican crack
  • Redneck cocaine
  • Speed
  • Tick tick
  • Tweak
  • Wash
  • Yellow powder

Crystal meth:

  • Batu, blade, cristy, crystal, crystal glass, glass, hot ice, ice, quartz, shabu, shards, stove top, Tina, ventana

Over-the-counter drugs

  • CCC
  • DXM
  • Poor man’s PCP
  • Robo
  • Robotripping
  • Skittles
  • Triple C

Prescription opioids (AKA Painkillers)


  • Captain Cody
  • Cody
  • Doors and fours
  • Lean
  • Loads
  • Pancakes and syrup
  • Purple drank
  • Schoolboy
  • Sizzurp


  • Apache
  • China girl
  • China white
  • Dance fever
  • Friend
  • Goodfella
  • Jackpot
  • Murder 8
  • Tango and Cash
  • TNT
  • Hydrocodone or Dihydrocodeinone:
  • Vike
  • Watson 387


  • D
  • Dillies
  • Footballs
  • Juice
  • Smack


  • Demmies
  • Pain Killer


  • Amidone
  • Fizzies
  • (Mixed with MDMA) Chocolate chip cookies


  • M
  • Miss Emma
  • Monkey
  • White stuff


  • O.C.
  • Oxy 80
  • Oxycat
  • Oxycet
  • Oxycotton
  • Oxy
  • Hillbilly heroin
  • Percs
  • Perks


  • Biscuits
  • Blue heaven
  • Blues
  • Heavenly blues
  • Mrs. O
  • O bombs
  • Octagons
  • Stop signs

Prescription Stimulants

Amphetamine (Adderall, Benzedrine):

  • Bennies
  • Black beauties
  • Crosses
  • Hearts
  • LA Turnaround
  • Speed
  • Truck drivers
  • Uppers

Methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin):

Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic Marijuana:

Synthetic stimulants (AKA Bath Salts):

  • Arctic blasts
  • Aura
  • Avalance or Avalanche
  • Bliss
  • Blizzard
  • Bloom
  • Blue silk
  • Bolivian bath
  • Cloud nine
  • Cotton cloud
  • Drone
  • Dynamite or Dynamite plus
  • Euphoria
  • Glow stick
  • Hurricane Charlie
  • Ivory snow
  • Ivory wave or Ivory wave ultra
  • Lunar wave
  • Mexxy
  • Mind change or Mino Charge
  • Monkey dust
  • Mystic
  • Natural energy powder
  • Ocean snow
  • Purple wave
  • Quicksilver
  • Recharge
  • Red dawn
  • Red dove
  • Rock on
  • Rocky Mountain High
  • Route 69
  • Sandman Party Powder
  • Scarface
  • Sextasy
  • Shock wave
  • Snow day
  • Snow leopard
  • Speed freak miracle
  • Stardust
  • Super coke
  • Tranquility
  • UP energizing or UP Supercharged
  • Vanilla Sky
  • White burn
  • White China
  • White dove
  • White lightning
  • White rush
  • White Sands
  • Wicked X or XX
  • Zoom

Treatment For Addiction To Drugs

Reading this list, you may feel a bit overwhelmed at the possibility of addiction in our nation and elsewhere. The important thing to remember is that treatment for illegal drug abuse and addiction is ever-growing.

In fact, treatment for addiction in recent decades has improved. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states, “most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning.” Common Street Names For Illegal Drugs_Treatment For Addiction

Treatment works, and getting to treatment could make a vast difference in your life. Methods of treatment are changing, focusing on healing a person as a whole—mind, body, and spirit—rather than just targeting symptoms of addiction.

How To Get Help With Addiction

If you or someone you know is addicted to illegal drugs, you may be uncertain about the next step. You can find help and the treatment you need with our help. Contact us today at, and we will help you find a rehab center that fits your needs with a treatment plan that suits your specific goals.

If you or a loved one is battling drug abuse or addiction, please contact us now!

For More Information Related to “Common Street Names For Illegal Drugs” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



Drug Free World—The Drug Facts
National Institute On Drug Abuse—Commonly Abused Drug Charts
National Institute On Drug Abuse—DrugFacts: Heroin

Pulmonary Complications As A Result Of Crack Cocaine Use


Pulmonary Complications As A Result Of Crack Cocaine Use

Since it was first developed in the 1970s, crack cocaine has gained popularity for recreational use. This increased use may be due largely to its greater availability. Because crack is a synthetic blend of cocaine, it is often easier to obtain. Also, crack is easy for people to manufacture and to purchase. Unfortunately, it can be highly addictive for persons abusing it and can cause extreme short- and long-term effects from prolonged use, including a variety of serious pulmonary concerns. Your pulmonary system is a system of blood vessels, including veins and arteries, that are responsible for circulating oxygen between the heart and lungs.

Crack Cocaine Defined

Cocaine is typically a white powder. Crack cocaine (or freebase cocaine) lends its name from the crackling sound it makes when smoked. This form has been processed into a crystallized solid. In this state, it can be smoked in a pipe, called a crack pipe. When the rock solid is heated in the pipe, vapors are released which are then inhaled. People suffering from addiction may take several consecutive doses, or “hits” to ensure a continued high.

Pulmonary Complications As A Result Of Crack Cocaine Dopamine Release

As explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cocaine affects a chemical called dopamine which is released in the reward circuit of the brain. Dopamine typically contributes to the reward, or pleasure feelings in the brain. When a person experiences pleasure, dopamine is released then recycled. Crack cocaine does not allow for dopamine to re-enter the brain, but instead forces the continued release of it. This build-up between the nerve cells is what causes the “high” experienced by people who use this drug.

What Are The Effects Of Crack Cocaine?

Smoking crack may be even more dangerous than taking other forms of cocaine because breathing it into the lungs allows an immediate high. Inhaling the vapors ensures the drug will reach the brain without delay. This also means the high will be very intense. Crack holds a bigger risk for addiction than various other substances, as smoking can increase the potential for addiction.

There are numerous adverse effects caused by crack cocaine abuse. To begin, crack may change a person’s mental faculties, producing a sense of extreme happiness or a false sense of mental alertness. Crack may also make a person overly sensitive to sight, sound, and touch. People taking it may become irritable or paranoid. During the high period, however, people using crack may experience mild to moderate physical effects, such as:

  • A sense of restlessness
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Pupil dilation
  • Tremors or muscle twitches

Crack may be particularly harmful to the sinuses and can cause nasal perforation, in extreme cases, it may even result in a deviated septum. In addition to the complications with smelling, swallowing, frequent nose bleeds, and the constant runny nose which may occur due to continued use of crack, the lungs and pulmonary system may suffer further damage.

Crack Lung Symptoms

Prolonged crack abuse and addiction may also result in severe lung problems. Repeated inhalations of this drug causes a number of pulmonary conditions, including respiratory problems, which are collectively called crack lung.

Pulmonary Complications As A Result Of Crack Cocaine SymptomsWhen a person smokes crack, their lungs may become irritated and inflamed. Continuing this pattern of use and abuse may cause permanent damage to the lungs. Further, the chemicals taken directly into the lungs can be harmful, some of which are additives or contaminants. Additives are the substances added to crack cocaine, often to increase the drug’s volume and profits, or to aid in changing the chemical composition.

In regards to symptoms, crack lung resembles pneumonia. For example, a person with crack lung may display symptoms very close to those of pneumonia, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Extreme coughing
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing/ respiratory issues

Some people may experience such severe damage, that they spit up blood, whether red or black in color. Serious cases may also result in lung failure. In short terms, this means that the person’s lungs would have trouble getting oxygen to their blood. Left untreated, lung damage could cause further complications in the body, including organ damage, or even death.

Other Pulmonary Complications

Smoking crack cocaine can cause a host of other pulmonary concerns, as outlined by research presented by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and Yale University. Again, many of these issues are attributed to the other chemical adulterants, termed associated substances, that may be mixed within the crack cocaine.

In example, crack cocaine users may experience thermal airway injury, or injury to your airways (the trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles). The Yale publication attributes this to either the presence of these chemical byproducts, or the combustion of residual ether that is left over from the manufacturing of this drug.

Those users who have a history of asthma have specific concerns, as smoking crack has been shown to aggravate this condition, even to the point of respiratory failure that required hospitalization and ventilation.

The RSNA paper tells us that smoking crack cocaine may cause various forms of pneumonia, including organized and aspiration pneumonia. It may also cause pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary edema, or excess fluid in the lungs. Certain other complications such as pulmonary hemorrhage, may prove fatal. This complication creates massive bleeding which often requires surgical intervention.

In some cases of crack lung, a condition called pulmonary eosinophilia is present, which results from an excess of a certain type of white blood cell called eosinophils that cause an inflammation within a person’s lungs. This condition has been shown to respond favorably to steroid treatments.

Lastly, as reported by the RSNA, smoking crack can impair your immune system, due to the fact it “alters alveolar macrophage function and cytokine production.” In short, this means that certain cells (alveolar macrophages) within your lungs that are responsible for defending your respiratory tract are compromised. Because of this, your body has a reduced ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells, thus increasing the risk of cancer. Beyond this, your body cannot fully utilize nitric oxide, a naturally occurring antibacterial agent, to kill various bacteria, exposing your body to a greater risk of various infectious diseases, including AIDS.

Research also supports the theory that crack cocaine users are at a higher risk for contracting tuberculosis (TB), an infectious disease of the lungs which may prove serious, in the capacity that it can spread to other areas of your body, including your brain, and also become fatal if left untreated. This infection is attributed in large part to a person’s depleted immune system caused by the poor alveolar macrophage functioning that we noted above.

How To Treat Crack Cocaine Addiction

As previously mentioned, crack cocaine is possibly the most addictive form of cocaine. Treating crack abuse or addiction is imperative due to the numerous effects it can have on a person’s health. There are treatment methods available, but medication is not one of them. As NIDA explains, no medications are currently approved for use in treating crack cocaine addiction. Though several medications have been tested in treating crack, like disulfiram, none have been approved by the FDA for manufacture.

Pulmonary Complications As A Result Of Crack Cocaine Medications

Instead, treatment may combine other methods, offered within an inpatient or outpatient program, including, as suggested by NIDA, contingency management and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT works to help persons in recovery to build new lifestyle habits free from addiction. CBT essentially promotes long-term abstinence by fostering a discovery of life without substance abuse.

People in recovery from addiction may also find that joining a support group may be helpful. These groups allow a person the opportunity to share their feelings and thoughts. This support will also help an individual to cope, and grant them accountability—all key components to a full recovery.

How To Break The Chain Of Crack Cocaine Addiction

Hundreds of thousands of people abuse crack cocaine every year in the United States. It’s important to remember that many negative side effects can result from addiction to crack, some as severe as crack lung.

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.If you or someone close to you has tried crack, or if you are currently struggling with crack abuse or addiction, you do not have to suffer in silence. You can find help for recovery. Contact us today at to find more ways you can be connected to resources. You can speak to professionals who know how to help and want to listen. We will help create a plan for your recovery that addresses your specific needs.

Center For Substance Abuse Research — Crack Cocaine

Signs And Symptoms Of Heroin Use

Signs And Symptoms Of Heroin Use

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that 4.8 million people, 12 years of age and older, confessed that they have used heroin during their life. With these numbers, chances are, many people may be unaware of the issues their family members are facing with this drug. Being the loved one of a drug user, your concerns can grow high and it may feel as if things are out of your control. Despite this, understanding heroin abuse can help you to better support your loved one, and get them help.

One of the biggest problems you may face, is that a drug user is very rarely honest with themselves about the substances that they are abusing, or the damage it is causing them. Many users are secretive, trying to mask their habits or symptoms. For this reason, if you’re trying to reach out to help someone you suspect is using heroin, it can be helpful to be aware of the signs and symptoms that point to heroin use and abuse.

Evidence Of A Heroin Habit

Signs And Symptoms Of Heroin Use EvidenceSince heroin is usually smoked, snorted, or injected, you may find evidence and remains of the drugs or paraphernalia. Many people may keep their supplies assembled in a kit, in a small bag or case, which may be hidden. Examples of heroin paraphernalia may include:

  • Traces of a tan or whitish powder
  • Dark, sticky residue
  • Burnt spoons
  • Small glass or metal pipes
  • Syringes
  • Rubber tubing, ropes, or belts in proximity to other items—people use these devices to make their veins enlarge prior to injection
  • Tiny baggies or balloons that contained the drug
  • Lighters, if they’re not a smoker
  • Candles, for heating the heroin
  • Materials used for a filter, may include the tip of a cotton swab or a cigarette filter
  • Burnt squares of foil
  • Straws, foil rolled into a tube, or an empty pen case—these items are used to inhale the vapors when the heroin is heated

When a person is seeking a fix, they may be very desperate, and very inventive, thus they may use whatever they have near as a vessel for using heroin. For instance, you may find a pop or soda can that appears burnt, that an individual used to heat heroin. If you find any of these things, we caution you to be very careful, and refrain from handling these items, if at all possible, as some of these items may transmit various infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. Also, it is a criminal offense to be in possession of paraphernalia.

What Happens To The User?

Heroin is a quick to action opiate, and when it is injected, surges of elation thrive within the body in seconds. When the drug abuser uses it in another way, they may not feel the euphoria as sharply. When a person uses heroin, there are some telltale physical and behavioral signs that you can look for that are indicative of heroin abuse, as well as some more serious symptoms that result from more prolonged use.

Physical Signs And Symptoms

When a person uses heroin, it converts back into morphine when it enters the user’s brain. At this point, the morphine binds to opioid receptors within the brain, including those in the brainstem, effectively altering certain automatic processes that are essential for life, including, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), blood pressure, arousal, and respiration. This change is responsible for some of the outward signs that you may see in a heroin user. Here are some physical signs and symptoms you can look for that may manifest from heroin use:

  • Signs And Symptoms Of Heroin Use 4.8 MillionInjection site marks, including scars or scabs
  • Constipation, you may find laxatives because of this
  • Dry mouth
  • Runny nose
  • Constricted or tiny pupils
  • Respiratory depression (shallow breathing)
  • Sleepy eyes
  • Flushed skin
  • Tendency to nod off, then alternate back to a more wakeful state
  • Reduced blood pressure and body temperature

A heroin user may have a low immunity to illness. Any pain the user is experiencing will be significantly suppressed, since opioids are known for their pain relief. Pregnant women can also experience a spontaneous abortion, otherwise known as a miscarriage.

Long-term heroin use creates more serious complications, including various risks that result from injection. According to NIDA, these may include collapsed veins, a breakout of bacterial skin infections at the injection site, abscesses, diseases of the liver and kidneys, infective endocarditis, and various infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis B or C.

Sometimes, a user may not be able to find more drugs right away, and may begin to encounter the symptoms of withdrawal. These can occur in as little as 6-12 hours after the last dose. It can be useful to understand the physical symptoms of withdrawal as well, in order to spot a heroin problem. Some signs of withdrawal include:

  • Restlessness
  • Shaking or spasms
  • Nausea, may be accompanied by vomiting
  • Chills and goosebumps
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Pain in your muscles and bones

Please be aware that withdrawal from heroin can be very uncomfortable, and we recommend that an individual never attempt to undergo it on their own. Instead, we recommend detoxing from heroin in a medically supervised environment.

Behavioral Signs

Heroin, like any drug, alters a person’s behavior. These changes can often help to point you towards a problem. They include:

  • Cognitive troubles and disorientation
  • Unstable mood
  • Impaired decision-making or self-control
  • Lack of motivation
  • Scratching
  • Slurred speech
  • Neglect of grooming and personal hygiene
  • Failure to eat
  • Covering arms with long sleeves
  • Alienating themselves from loved ones
  • Spending time with people that use
  • Use of drug slang (Smack, Junk, etc.)
  • Stealing valuables or money to cover their drug habit
  • Changes in performance within their school or work responsibilities

If you witness any of these signs, alone or paired with any of the aforementioned physical symptoms, there is cause for concern. Please reach out to a professional in order to avoid the risk of further medical complications or overdose.

Also, for many people, prescription opioid abuse precedes heroin abuse. Young people who have injected heroin have been reported to misuse prescription opioids before they started to abuse heroin. For this reason, if you have known your loved one to abuse prescription drugs, and witness any of these signs or symptoms, without any apparent use of pills, there may be cause for concern.

Understanding The Signs Of Overdose

Signs And Symptoms Of Heroin Use OpiateOverdose can happen at any point. When a heroin overdose happens, it will cause slow or shallow breathing, blue lips and fingernails, low blood pressure and pulse, clammy skin, delirium, convulsions, and coma. If you suspect an overdose, seek help immediately, as overdose can be fatal.

A Person Addicted To Heroin Will Need A Helping Hand

Many of those addicted to heroin often times don’t see how this addiction is ultimately creating damage to his or her life. They may go through life neglecting their own needs. The desire for the drug will likely far outweigh anything else on their daily to-do list, or their need for self-care. Lack of nutrition will create a very haggard look, and they will progressively look worse when the drug use is heavy and prolonged.

Some of these individuals may reach out for a helping hand, but many of them may fear the painful sickness of dealing with their own withdrawal, and continue using to avoid this uncomfortable state. It can be vastly beneficial if loving family members step up to give their loved ones a hand to hold, and support during these troubled times, so that together, you can find treatment for their heroin addiction. Those addicted to heroin need a good treatment program to lead them out of this detrimental addiction and help them get through the withdrawal stages.

By knowing the signs and symptoms of heroin use, a loved one may be able to uncover an addiction and start to make arrangements for rehabilitation for that individual. With this information, family members can see behind the denial, with the love and compassion that is necessary to help a person into a rehab center.

Stop The Destruction, Get Help Today

If you or a loved one exhibits any of these symptoms or signs of heroin abuse, reach out for a helping hand today. Our compassionate staff is standing by to offer you more information on heroin abuse and addiction, and the treatment options that exist to help. Please contact us at today.

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.
For More Information Related to “Signs And Symptoms Of Heroin Use” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From


National Institute on Drug Abuse — DrugFacts—Heroin
National Institute on Drug Abuse — What are the medical complications of chronic heroin use?
MedlinePlus — Heroin Overdose

Cocaine And Alcohol: A Deadly Combination

Cocaine And Alcohol: A Deadly Combination

Some people drink to engage socially, to celebrate, or to simply relax from a stressful day. However, for some, the power of alcohol is highly misunderstood, and many find it tough to balance it in a healthy perspective. In fact, some even make the dangerous choice of combining it with other drugs, further compounding the dangers of each. Whenever you combine two or more drugs, the danger increases—cocaine and alcohol are no different. First, let’s take a look at these two drugs individually, in order to better understand their potentially deadly risks when combined.

Hazards Of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is a stimulant drug with very powerful properties. It works within a person’s brain by increasing levels of an important neurotransmitter called dopamine. It is the overabundance of this chemical that is responsible for causing the “high” attributed to cocaine use. Like any stimulant, it causes a variety of short-term disturbances, and more long-lasting, and dangerous risks.

Cocaine And Alcohol: A Deadly Combination Side Effects

In the short-term, cocaine causes:

  • An increased sense of happiness, energy, or alertness
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • Enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • Nausea
  • An increased body temperature
  • Cardiac changes, including an increased heartbeat and blood pressure
  • Tremors and involuntary muscle twitches
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Paranoia

Depending on the usage, particularly, the means of administration, frequency, and quantity of use, the risks may change, however, here are some of the most common long-term results and dangers:

  • Individuals that snort cocaine may encounter nasal disturbances, including a runny nose, nosebleeds, or a loss of sense of smell, and they may also experience difficulty swallowing.
  • A person that consumes their cocaine orally will experience a reduced blood flow that increases the odds of acute bowel decay.
  • Injection drug users face an increased risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis C, or other infectious diseases.
  • Even people who don’t inject, experience a greater risk of contracting HIV. This is because cocaine impedes judgement, increasing the odds that a person will engage in an unsafe sexual practice.
  • Malnourishment
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Severe paranoia, often accompanied by auditory hallucinations

Cocaine can also cause a fatal overdose. It is important to realize, that this can happen on the first time a person uses cocaine, or at any point thereafter.

Dangers And Risks Of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that is found in a variety of beverages, including, beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Alcohol is processed by your liver, however, this organ can only process a certain amount in a set time, hence, when a person consumes an excess, the remainder that cannot be processed remains in your body’s system, causing the variety of side effects that we attribute to an increased alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse can be very damaging, and impacts every organ within a person’s body. The following are risks linked to alcohol abuse and addiction, most of which are sourced from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

  • Disruption of the brain’s communication pathways. Alcohol alters a person’s mood, judgement, behavior, and sense of inhibition, making it difficult to think in a clear manner.
  • Impaired coordination
  • Drinking too much over a period of time, or even during a single event, can lead to various cardiovascular concerns. In the long-term, heavy drinking can cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy, which is the stretching and drooping of the heart muscle. Both binge and long-term drinking patterns can cause arrhythmias (an irregular heartbeat), stroke, or high blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Heavy drinking exerts a massive toll on the liver, this damage can include: hepatic steatosis (fatty liver), alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, or hepatic encephalopathy.
  • Production of toxic substances in the pancreas that can lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of blood vessels in the pancreas that inhibits proper digestion.
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Weakened immune system creates a much easier target for disease.
  • Digestive concerns, which may create a state of malnourishment
  • Seizures associated with withdrawal

The Risks Of Combining These Two Drugs

The urge to combine alcohol with cocaine is highly popular among some who use these drugs, especially within certain social settings. The increased “high” that results from the combination of these two drugs, back-to-back, creates a bridge for the feelings of each to continue at now heightened levels. Some choose to use alcohol when using cocaine, in an attempt to circumvent the uncomfortable feelings associated with coming down off the drug.

On its own, cocaine offers a user less than an hour of euphoric feelings—typically the high only lasts 5-30 minutes, depending on how it’s administered, with all effects dissipating within an hour. Pairing it with alcohol gives some people the boost they are looking for. For some, this makes it a much higher temptation then simply using one drug or the other, a combination that increases the risk of overdose, and ushers in a host of other dangers, including increased cardiovascular concerns.

Looking back to the individual side effects and risks, you’ll notice some commonalities. Both drugs have the potential to increase your blood pressure. Thus, taken in combination, the risk attributed to hypertension may increase even more, the most notable risk of this being stroke, which in some cases may lead to death.

Both alcohol and cocaine can cause malnourishment, which may set the stage for other hazardous complications, including an increased risk of infection and infectious disease. As we’ve noted, both drugs decrease a person’s judgement. Due to this, a person may experience an even greater risk of contracting an infectious disease, several of which may be deadly if left untreated. This risk may be higher if their immune system is already compromised from these forms of substance abuse.

ScienceDailyCocaine And Alcohol: A Deadly Combination Blood Cocaine Levels reported on a 2000 study, published in the journal Neurology, which sought to examine if there was increased cognitive impairment when cocaine and alcohol were combined. ScienceDaily reported that the study found this combination “leads to more impulsive decision-making and to poorer performance on tests of learning and memory than does use of either cocaine or alcohol alone.” They also noted that these effects were present for a month after the substance abuse stopped. Poor and impulsive decision-making skills may lead a person to riskier behaviors, such as driving a car while using drugs, which may jeopardize their life.

As another study notes, the combination of these two drugs is not without danger, resulting in “greater-than-additive effects on heart rate,” in a capacity that is equivalent to an increase of cocaine blood levels by 30%. For a person that has an existing heart condition, this could be a fatal complication. This publication goes on to note that these drugs, when combined, may increase a person’s propensity towards violent thoughts and behaviors—which could put a person in a position where their life is endangered, such as if they start a fight, or consider self-harm. Lastly, it cites research that illustrates that the use of both drugs in a given time leads to a formation of a toxic chemical called cocaethylene.

Facts About Cocaethylene

Cocaethylene is formed in the body without most users even realizing it or the risks it creates. The production of the chemical cocaethylene may be responsible for many of the severe risks attributed to the combination of alcohol and cocaine. The presence of this chemical increases the severity of cardiotoxic issues, complications caused by the chemical burden on a person’s heart, in comparison to the effects of cocaine or alcohol alone.

Cocaine And Alcohol: A Deadly Combination CocaethyleneCocaethylene creates a greater state of euphoria. It works similar to cocaine, creating even more intense feelings of pleasure, due to its increased ability as a reuptake inhibitor of dopamine. In addition, cocaine only has a half-life of 38 minutes, whereas cocaethylene has a half-life that is nearly four times that—at 2.5 hours. This is why individuals that choose to mix cocaine and alcohol experience the euphoria for longer periods of time.

Research also suggests that this pairing of drugs alters the function of an enzyme, hCE1, that is responsible for degrading cocaine. Due to this, and the way ethanol molecules fit within hCE1, research also shows that the ethanol molecules may inhibit cocaine hydrolysis, or the metabolism of cocaine, in a way that might spike the plasma concentrations of cocaine upwards of 30%.

Cocaethylene has been known to increase the risk of seizures, liver damage, and the suppression of the immune system, all of which are independently associated with alcohol use, and may, in worst cases, be linked to or increase the odds of death. One study found that cocaethylene carries a 18- to 25-fold increase in the risk of “immediate death,” compared with just cocaine abuse alone, while other research suggests that the lethal dose of cocaethylene is 50% less than that of cocaine.

Don’t Let This Combination Destroy Your Life

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.The fact of the matter is that the combination of these two potentially dangerous drugs can lead to an increased risk of various health concerns, and sudden death. If you or a family member is in danger of going down this path, please contact us today for help. Anytime a person suffers from co-occurring substance abuse, it is imperative that treatment addresses both concerns. We can help you find treatment options, and more information on these, or any other forms of substance abuse.

National Institute on Drug Abuse — What is cocaine?
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Beyond Hangovers
U.S. National Library of Medicine — Effects of concurrent use of alcohol and cocaine.
U.S. National Library of Medicine — Cocaethylene toxicity.

Talking To Your Teen About Drugs

Talking With Your Teen About Drugs

Talking to your children about drugs is likely one of the hardest conversations you will ever have. While you want to protect them, you also want to have an honest and engaging conversation that provides them with reliable information and support, so that they may make positive choices in the future.

The good news is, in comparison to a younger child, teens have a larger vocabulary, are able to understand more concepts, and see the world in more nuanced ways. This presents an opportunity to talk more openly and connect with them in a manner that goes beyond simply saying “drugs are bad.” While this may be uncomfortable or daunting, remember, it is both an opportunity to become closer to your teen and invest in their future.

Draw On Your Unique Understanding Of Your Teen

The first thing to remind yourself, is that you likely know your child best, and if you feel like they have drifted away, this is an opportunity to reconnect with them and understand the scope of their life. Although they may be going through many changes, and at times may seem very different from the child you remember, chances are, you still know them better than anyone else. Use that knowledge now.

Lastly, look at their life—are there any specific demands, challenges, or pressures they may be facing that might push them towards drug use that you should talk about? Examples include significant life transitions like a divorce, or a breakup. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teens are increasingly using stimulants, such as Adderall, to address their concerns about weight loss, or as a study aid.

Recognize Their Capability

Teens are a lot more aware, both of the world, and of their own thoughts, feelings, and bodies than preadolescents are. This added cognitive, emotional, and rational capacity can increase the content and the dynamic of the conversation, especially if your teen gets the sense that you recognize and respect this capacity for understanding.

At this age they will comprehend more, be able to see others points of view, and imagine different situations in which they may find themselves. It is quite likely they will be evaluating the information you are giving them, comparing it to what they have learned, and possibly even experienced. Taking this into account, and being open to integrating it into a conversation, may help further the exchange and foster a greater receptiveness between you both.

Understanding How Their Outlook Is Shaped

Teens are generally more sensitive to peer pressure, and may be prone to feeling like they are the subject of everyone’s attention, when most likely they are not. In psychology, some refer to this concept as the “invisible audience,” that is, a teenager may feel as if their peers are always watching and judging them.

It is true however, that peer pressure can also present unique challenges and opportunities for your child in terms of drug exposure. At this age, they may find themselves amidst conversations of drug use, witness it, or even be cajoled by their peers to experiment.

Taking the time to note and encourage their individual attributes, strengths, and positive characteristics may help to bolster their confidence, self-respect, and commitment to self-care, as well as fostering a more comfortable dialogue between the two of you.

The Role Of Cognitive Development

An important thing to consider, both in terms of how drugs affect a teen, and how they will perceive and comprehend drug use, and the subsequent conversations about it, is the development of the teen’s mind.

Despite a greater awareness in comparison to preadolescents, at this age, your child’s brain is still developing. Critical changes are still occurring, and certain areas of the brain that affect learning, memory, motivation, and other things, are not yet poised to function in the capacity that an adult brain does.

Talking With Your Teen About Drugs Listen More Talk LessIn example, the prefrontal cortex, an area that is responsible for controlling a person’s ability to thoroughly reason and control impulses, doesn’t completely develop until around age 25. What this means, is that they may not be able to completely rationalize the impact of their actions or choices, or fully put together everything you are sharing with them.

It may be hard for them to see past the present and truly grasp or imagine the consequences to their actions, even the life changing ones. This does not mean you shouldn’t talk about the consequences, but only that you need to be patient, and explain things in a way that they can understand.

How To Begin The Conversation

In general, listening more and talking less is a good strategy in starting any conversation. Once you establish a rapport, and your teen begins to open up, you can begin to interject in greater detail about your worries and with information you’d like to share.

A good way to start this conversation is by asking your teen about what they know, specifically how they might have encountered or witnessed drug use or conversations. Asking them if they have questions about drugs may be a good opening tactic as well.

The idea is to start a conversation that invites them to talk openly, by being part of the dialog, rather than just being talked at. If you come at them with what they perceive to be an intent to lecture, you might lose their attention and openness.

Be Prepared

Ask questions, but be ready for the answers, as hard as that may be. Asking questions and seeking clarification opens the door for your teen to talk more and makes it less likely that they will get defensive or shut down while you are talking. This is vital. Your teen may tell you things you wish you did not hear, despite this, it is important information that allows you to better protect, guide, and support your child.

Talking With Your Teen About Drugs QuestionsListen carefully, remember what you are hearing, and strive to not react too strongly or become judgmental. Becoming overly emotional, angry, or blameful can cause your teen to end the conversation before it’s even really started, taking away what could be a critical opportunity for prevention, or even intervention.

Be Informed

Be ready to back up what you say with evidence. In many ways, information is the currency of youth, and if your teen gets the sense that you are being dishonest, or are trying to gloss over something by simply saying that it’s bad, the conversation may become argumentative, or your teen may begin to stop listening.


Some of the references provided here give a good summary of substance abuse statistics within the youth and high school population. In addition, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has developed a great resource for teens and their families that hosts a wide variety of information on teen drug use and education. Take the time to become comfortable with this or other information, or be ready to look up the information together with your teen.

Talking With Your Teens About Drugs Evidence

What Not to Do

Don’t panic. This is probably just as tough for them as it is for you, albeit probably for different reasons. Remind yourself that you need to do this, and that you are doing it for your child’s health and future. According to NIDA, you are still the best defense against drug abuse—having an active and engaged parent puts the child at significantly less risk to develop a substance use disorder.

Do not lie to your child. It may be very tempting to get out of hard conversations or skip over difficult subjects by being dishonest, such as lying about your own drug use history. If your child ever finds this out, you could lose a lot of credibility, which could inhibit your chances of having a productive conversation in the future.

Keep in mind, you can choose to not answer questions, as you do not have to be completely open about everything, in fact, doing so may be detrimental, as too much information may overwhelm your child or encourage them. However, speaking honestly about your experiences with drugs may give you an advantage within this conversation. This article gives you some tips on how to handle this conversation, as well as illustrating how you could choose to integrate your own experiences into your talk.

Let Us Help You Support Your Child

Take the time to talk to your teen about drugs, and be sincere and upfront with them. If you don’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable enough to do this, we can help. If you, yourself, struggle from substance abuse or addiction, we can help you to find ways to have a productive talk with your teen about drugs, and direct you Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.towards treatment options.

If you’re worried that your teen may be abusing drugs or alcohol, contact us today. We can help to equip you, so that you can get your teen the help they need to get their life back on track.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids — Behavior & the Teen Brain
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids — How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs If You Did Drugs — Talking to Your Child About Drugs
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Drug Facts: High School and Youth Trends
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Preventing Drug Abuse: The Best Strategy

Signs Of Marijuana Use

Signs of Marijuana Use

Marijuana is a drug that is used largely within social spheres, quite often within younger populations, though its recreational use does extend to individuals using it on their own as well. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that it is used more than any other illicit drug within the United States, citing findings from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), that report that use within the past month was at an astounding 22.2 million people.

Signs of Marijuana Use Marijuana Use

Within these staggering numbers is another daunting fact: many people may wrongly think that marijuana is a fairly innocuous drug. In fact, despite this age bracket’s steady use of the drug, NIDA reports young people are increasingly starting to believe that the drug is without risks. This is untrue. Despite the fact that some people may use marijuana for medicinal purposes, its illicit use imparts a variety of concerns within a user’s life.

The Components Of Marijuana Use

Some individuals feel that the lessening social stigma due in part to decriminalization efforts and the medicinal use is encouraging illicit use and this decreased perception of its risks.

When people use marijuana recreationally, or in pursuit of the “high” or euphoric effects, they are seeking the effects of the drug’s main chemical component, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). A partnership between the University of Mississippi and NIDA found that between 1993 and 2008, of 46, 211 samples, the percentage of THC had increased from 3.4 percent to 8.8 percent.

Signs of Marijuana Use THC increase

What people may not know is that our bodies contain naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoids, which are similar to those that are within marijuana, including THC. Due to this, the cannabinoids in marijuana have the ability to attach to the receptors in your brain that exist which are naturally occurring, resulting in what people call the “high.”

Marijuana impacts your brain in another way, by offsetting and changing the production of crucial neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine, a chemical that is key within your body’s reward and pleasure system.

Today, there exists a wide variety of ways that a person imbibes themselves with THC, beyond simply smoking marijuana. Some people may choose to use a vaporizer, in hopes of avoiding the chemical burden imparted by the smoke, and others, in increasing popularity over the past several years, may consume edibles (candy, baked goods, and even tea) or use various extracts, each delivery contains a measure of risk.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Marijuana Use?

Signs of Marijuana Use Cognitive ImpairmentAny time a person uses a drug, there will be some change within their physiology, and in addition, we often see side effects overtly present in their physical, mental, and emotional states. Marijuana is no different. Despite the fact that some people may think this is a harmless drug, it is not. In order to fully understand this and offer a person the help they need, we must be aware of the side effects and symptoms of this drug use, as well as the risks that they impart.

Here we outline the behaviors that you can look for that point to marijuana abuse:

  • Euphoria
  • Increased state of relaxation
  • Increased appetite
  • Impaired sense of time
  • Impaired cognitive abilities, including trouble thinking, learning, or solving problems
  • Difficulties with memory
  • Impaired motor skills, body movements, or coordination
  • An altered mood
  • Changes in the senses: people may experience things more acutely—colors might be more vivid or sounds more dynamic
  • Some people may experience negative effects, including fear, paranoia, anxiety, or panic.

If you witness any of these in a loved one, please don’t convince yourself that it is a harmless activity, taking the steps to be proactive can protect your loved one’s body and mind, as the earliest intervention is the one that helps to prevent further health problems and lessen the chance of an addiction developing.

Marijuana Is Not Just Fun And Games

Signs of Marijuana Use Health RisksLike many drugs, marijuana has both short- and long-term effects, some of which we are just beginning to understand. Research is quickening on the subject, and the detriment of this drug is becoming more evident.

In addition to what we’ve noted above, in the short term marijuana can:

  • Cause nausea and vomiting, especially in the case of edibles if too much is consumed
  • Decrease motivation and focus, which can lead to long-term effects
  • Cause temporary changes to a person’s perception or mental state, including paranoia and anxiety
  • Cause decreased inhibitions, which may make a person more apt to experience unsafe sexual practices, which may lead to long-term effects like an unwanted pregnancy or an STD.

The long-term repercussions may startle some people. They include:

  • Suggestion that marijuana may precipitate other drug use
  • Financial troubles in supporting the habit and incurring any legal fees from criminal use
  • Impairs a person’s ability to safely operate a motorized vehicle which can result in damage or death
  • Troubles sleeping
  • Relationship troubles
  • Decreased general states of physical and mental health
  • Health decline with trouble breathing, lung irritation, illness, and infection
  • Increased risk of heart trouble or complication
  • Decreased sense of satisfaction with life, which may stem from the effects of decreased focus or ambition related to use
  • In teens, marijuana is linked to decreased educational success, specifically lower grades, a decreased chance of going to college, and a reduction in graduation rates, both in high school and college.
  • Can impair your performance on the job and overall employment status
  • Research indicates it can exacerbate the symptoms of schizophrenia
  • Use during pregnancy has been implicated in cognitive troubles for the child

The good news is that many of these side effects will resolve themselves when a person ceases using, however, some of the more severe may linger after use has ceased, which includes some measure of cognitive impairment.

Marijuana And Cognitive Impairment

A recent study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry this past March, delved into impairment and paid specific attention the the levels of dopamine that were produced with the striatum, a region of the brain that manages impulsivity, memory, and focus. It was found that “lower dopamine release in the associative striatum correlated with inattention and negative symptoms in CD, and with poorer working memory and probabilistic category learning performance in both CD and HC.” This serves to enforce the theory and growing body of research that suggests that using marijuana can cause cognitive deficits.

Short-term effects of marijuana use do manifest themselves as cognitive difficulties, however, many of these problems don’t fade when the high goes away. Cognitive difficulties, including those regarding memory, thinking, and learning may result from long-term use. Some research suggests that abuse and addiction can actually alter the workings of a person’s brain, this risk, we’re learning is especially prevalent during periods of adolescence, when a person’s brain is still developing.

Marijuana Is Addictive

When people think of marijuana, they may be quick to think about the drug’s euphoric effects that are glamorized on TV, film, and within day-to-day conversations. Despite the fact that this drug may bolster a person’s mood, there is an underlying truth that many people overlook—in fact, a truth that many people do not even realize. Marijuana can be addictive.

NIDA supports this, stating “Contrary to common belief, marijuana can be addictive. Research suggests that 30 percent of users may develop some degree of problem use, which can lead to dependence and in severe cases takes the form of addiction.” Due to this, drug use of this kind needs to be taken seriously, and may require treatment.

NIDA offers us more information on the subject, telling us that research suggests that of those who use marijuana, 9 percent will form a dependence, a number that rises to 17 percent when the use begins during a person’s teen years, because, as they also noted, those that use before they are 18, have a risk 4 to 7 times greater towards developing a marijuana use disorder than those that begin using as an adult.

Addiction happens because a person’s body adapts to the influx of chemicals that the marijuana contains, most notably the cannabinoids, and decreases its own production of those that are naturally occurring, hence, when a person suddenly ceases use, they may experience a sense of discomfort.

When a person who frequently uses stops using marijuana, they may actually experience symptoms of withdrawal, these included, as stated by NIDA “irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and/or various forms of physical discomfort that peak within the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks.”

It is this discomfort that may often draw a person back to drug use, as they seek to avoid or alleviate these symptoms. This is one reason why therapy is so important, it can help you do avoid these drug-seeking behaviors by learning positive thoughts, skills, and behaviors to replace the damaging ones.

Treating Abuse And Addiction

A person may feel weak, ashamed, or silly for seeking help with their marijuana use. They shouldn’t. Reaching out for direction, support, and treatment for this and any drug is the wisest decision you can make. It helps to ensure your greatest chance at success, both within the realm of substance abuse and addiction, and beyond, in your life.

Currently there are no medicines that are used to treat marijuana addiction itself, however, behavioral treatments have been shown to be vastly successful in helping a person to overcome this, so that they may reclaim their life. These include cognitive behavioral therapy and contingency management, both of which help to develop and cement healthful behaviors. Motivational incentives may also prove useful, especially for teens, as they offer people a reward in exchange for their continued sobriety.

A good treatment program should address these co-occurring disorders and teach you how to positively control your thoughts and utilize your inner strength so that you can overcome any triggers and cravings and live a drug-free life. It will also teach you other ways to take care of yourself, instead of using drugs. In some cases, if a person has an underlying mental health disorder, their medical or addiction support team may recommend a medication that can address those concerns.

As we’ve noted before, withdrawal may accompany the cessation of use. Therapy can help you to alleviate some of these discomforts, and in some cases medications may be used to aid in the alleviation of symptoms.

Asking for help is a sign of strength and bravery, one that will reward you when you reap the benefits of treatment.

Don’t Let Your Life Go Up In Smoke

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.Regardless of how you use it, marijuana isn’t just a good time. It is a drug that needs to be taken seriously, at our trained and supportive staff understands that. We can offer you information so that you may make the most informed decision about finding treatment, either for yourself or a loved one. Don’t hesitate, contact us today.

National Institute on Drug Abuse – DrugFacts: Is Marijuana Medicine?
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America – Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife
Live Science – Smoking Marijuana May Affect Weight Gain
National Institute on Drug Abuse – Drug Facts: Marijuana
National Institute on Drug Abuse – Marijuana Research Report Series

Treating HIV/AIDS While In Recovery From Addiction

Treating HIV AIDS While In Recovery From Addiction

When a person suffers from HIV or AIDS and an addiction at the same time, they are caught in the grip of two very serious and dangerous health problems. Although both are life-threatening on their own, when paired together they are even more dangerous. Thankfully, it is possible to treat these problems and become a healthier and happier person in the process.

HIV And Drug Use Is Often Intertwined

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Drug abuse and addiction have been inextricably linked with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. The link has to do with heightened risk—both of contracting and transmitting HIV and of worsening its consequences.” They claim that one-third of the 1.2 million Americans who currently have HIV use drugs or binge on alcohol, for a total that nearly tops 400,000.

HIV AIDS Americans

They also reported that 16 percent of all HIV transmission cases were due to intravenous drug use. Another telling statistic stated that nearly a quarter of all people with HIV or AIDS (24 percent) need some form of substance abuse treatment.

These surprising and troubling statistics make it clear why these two co-occurring disorders have been declared intertwined epidemics. But why does drug use seem to so heavily influence the spread of HIV and what problems can this cause when attending addiction treatment?

Why Drug Use Increases HIV Risk

Before moving on to treatment, it is important to understand how HIV and drug use are connected and how drug use can increase the risk of HIV. These risks, as outlined by the, include:

  • Sharing needles when using heroin or other injection drugs increases the risk of transmission
  • Alcohol and drugs affect your immune system and make the spread of HIV more likely and the development of AIDS quicker
  • Dangerous and problematic behaviors caused by addiction may lead to inappropriate sexual behaviors, which leads to an increased risk of spreading
  • HIV
  • Needing a blood transfusion after an addiction-related incident: though the risk is very low, as blood is screened, there’s still a small chance that HIV may be transmitted through transfusion
  • Reusing drug paraphernalia (such as bottle caps, spoons, water, and syringes) that may be infected with HIV

These risks make HIV and AIDS testing for those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol highly recommended, especially if they engage in risky sexual behaviors. However, there are several subsets of the population in which HIV and drug use is a more common occurance.

Those At A Higher Risk For This Co-Occurring Disorder

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not only noted certain people who were at risk for HIV and AIDS, but noted how drug use influenced the spread of this disease. They also noticed that certain portions of the population were more at risk for falling victim to these co-occurring disorders. These vulnerable areas of the population include:

  • Those who suffer from poverty or other financial problems
  • Homosexual men who engage in excessive alcohol and drug use and promiscuous sex
  • Those who had a history of abuse, including sexual, physical, or emotional, especially abuse inflicted by a loved one
  • Segments of the population who suffer from mental health illnesses, such as depression, poor impulse control, and “risk taking” personality traits
  • Users who prefer injection drugs, such as heroin, methamphetamine, and even some forms of pain killers

While these populations are not the only ones who suffer from the co-occurrence of drug addiction and HIV, they seem to be at the highest risk. Thankfully, both are now considered widely treatable even when paired together, though not without challenges.

The Difficulties Of Treating HIV And Drug Addiction

HIV AIDS TreatmentTreating HIV or AIDS and drug addiction at the same time is often complicated by a variety of concerns. Beyond the health problems that both cause (such as low energy, malnutrition, and susceptibility to outside diseases), lies the fact that many HIV/AIDS medications may actually cause multiple side effects that makes drug addiction more difficult to physically handle.

For example, many antiretroviral therapies (ARTs) that are used in the treatment of HIV and AIDS can cause a variety of side effects, including troubles with metabolism, bone loss, strange fat distribution, and allergic reactions which may put the life of the treated person at risk. Thankfully, there are multiple medications on the market to treat both HIV and AIDS, so it should be possible to find one that works for a person’s specific needs and health concerns.

Other problems with HIV/AIDS medications include the impact they can have on various parts of your body. Some of them are prone to hepatotoxicity, or causing damage to the liver. Those who are addicted to alcohol will have likely already suffered from severe liver damage, and the influence of these medicines may only make those symptoms worse. Thankfully, these liver problems sometimes go away once the medicine is stopped.

HIV/AIDS medicines with a risk of hepatotoxicity include most nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and some non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), specifically nevirapine, otherwise known as Viramune. Talking to a doctor about these medications before treatment begins, is a crucial way of ensuring that serious and potentially irreversible liver damage does not occur.

Some HIV treatment medications can cause a wide range of side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, tiredness, increased thirst, headache, rashes, fevers, high blood sugar, increased risk of diabetes, shortness of breath, increased lactate in the body, nerve problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, problems with kidneys, and a host of others.

It is also important to note that these medicines have side effects that may vary between genders. Experts theorize that this is due to the differences in hormonal makeup, body size, and body fat content. For example, women often experience greater amounts of nausea and vomiting, but lower instances of diarrhea than men who are taking the same medicine. Some studies exhibit that women are also more prone to suffer from rashes and complications of the liver and pancreas.

All of these side effects may seem disheartening, especially when a person has to go through the rigors of detoxification and drug addiction treatment. However, treating addiction and HIV/AIDS simultaneously is possible and very beneficial, both for your ongoing heath and sobriety.

Treatment Of Drug Addiction And HIV

Treating HIV/AIDS and drug addiction at the same time requires a concentrated and many-branched approach that takes into account the difficulties of both problems and works to manage both. First of all, a treatment for HIV/AIDS will be outlined and implemented to help get a person acheive better health. This is important, as drug addiction treatment requires as a strong body and mind to succeed.

One of the first steps is to assess the person’s health and to take steps to improve it. For example, someone suffering from serious malnutrition may struggle with a severely impacted immune system. Those with severe physical pain caused by HIV/AIDS and addiction may receive soothing massages and other forms of physical therapy. Additionally, those with scars or bruising caused by HIV/AIDS may receive appropriate treatment to manage those problems.

After these treatments have been administred, HIV/AIDS treatment medicines will be carefully chosen to ensure that they don’t interfere with the person’s health or the withdrawal process. Once the person is deemed to be best prepared for it, withdrawal treatment will begin. This includes a regime of replacement medicines that help stave off the more severe withdrawal symptoms. Experts will carefully monitor the health of their client to make sure that they aren’t going to suffer from a severe and negative interaction between these medicines.

Once withdrawal treatment is over, mental health treatment can begin. This is often more complex than traditional treatment methods, due to the influence of HIV and AIDS. A person may feel a sense of foreboding and fear about their disease that may influence and worsen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. As a result, their medical health professionals need to take special care to manage these concerns, as well as any other underlying problems that may also influence the addiction.

While these treatments are going on, educational programs will also be implemented. These help teach a person how to reduce the risk of spreading HIV and the importance of a drug-free life in halting the transmission of infection. Safe sex techniques may be discussed and heavily emphasized to help prepare them HIV AIDS Educationfor facing current or future relationships and to decrease their chance of transmitting HIV.

Oftentimes, behavioral adjustment techniques will be undertaken alongside these treatment methods. These methods help to correct the negative behaviors that influence drug addiction (such as relapse triggers, negative thought patterns, and repetitive behaviors that may feed addiction), and also help correct ways of thinking or acting that may influence the spread of HIV. In every step of this process, it is important to emphasize and educate on both sobriety and on how to avoid the tranmision of HIV.

Regaining The Health You Deserve

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.As you can see, it is possible to beat addiction and successfully treat HIV by a concentrated and serious treatment in drug addiction therapy. If you or someone you love is suffering from this problem, you need to do what you can to ensure that help is available. Please contact us at today to learn more about how to beat addiction and treat HIV/AIDS.

National Institute On Drug Abuse – DrugFacts: HIV/AIDS And Drug Abuse: Intertwined Epidemics
National Institute On Drug Abuse – Drug and Alcohol Use – A Significant Risk Factor for HIV – Substance Abuse/Use
National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute – What Are The Risks Of A Blood Transfusion?
Centers For Disease Control And Prevention – HIV And Substance Abuse In The United States
National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases – HIV/AIDS Drugs Complications and Side Effects
National Institute Of Health – Side Effects of HIV Medicines: HIV and Hepatotoxicity
Office On Women’s Health – HIV/AIDS Drugs And Side Effects
Substance Abuse Treatment For Persons With HIV/AIDS – Chapter 7 — Counseling Clients With HIV And Substance Abuse Disorders

Signs Of Drug Use And Abuse In Men

Signs Of Drug Use And Abuse In Men

While both men and women suffer from addiction in our country, the truth is that men suffer at a rate much higher than women. This has created a near epidemic of men with addiction, a problem which may be impacting your loved one. Maybe he likes to drink beer or smoke marijuana, claiming that he doesn’t have a problem, but you’re worried that he might.

Understanding the statistics behind men and addiction, the influence behind these high rates, and the signs of addiction present in the three most commonly abused substances will help you better understand whether or not your loved one is suffering from a major problem.

Statistics Reveal A Major Epidemic

Fully understanding just how much addiction impacts men is important. The addiction rates between the genders have been studied multiple times and just about every single study has confirmed the same result: men suffer from addiction at a higher rate than women. This is typically an across-the-board result that is common for just about every drug and substance that can be abused.

A treatment episode data sheet by the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Administration reported that around 67 percent of all substance abuse admissions in the country are male. The interesting thing is that this proportion generally holds up across the various age, race, and ethnic groups. While some ethnic groups may be more prone to being addicted to different substances, men always suffer from higher rates of addiction than women, almost exponentially so.

Signs Of Drug Use And Abuse In Men Country

Why are addiction rates so high in men versus women? There are many possible explanations and understanding them fully can help you gauge what might be causing your male loved one to use drugs. One explanation is the different behavior expectations for the genders. Dr. Jane Marshall of the NHS South London And Maudsley Hospital believes that “Historically, women have had less freedom to use drugs. There are different expectations of them, and they probably have different expectations of themselves as well.”

Simply put, men are commonly using at higher rates because drug use isn’t viewed for them as it is for women. Dr. Adam Winstock, an addiction specialist, agreed saying “There’s certainly more shame and stigma around women taking drugs than there is men. Women are less likely to disclose their drug use to their peers, which in turn limits their access to controlled substances – if people don’t know they take drugs or would be interested in taking drugs, they’re less likely to be offered them.”

Interestingly, Winstock claims that he didn’t believe men enjoyed taking drugs more than women, but simply felt more open to experimenting in this way.

Signs Of Drug Use And Abuse In Men Most CommonAnother possible influence on higher rates of addiction in men is the elevated rate of use common in homosexual men. A government drug survey found that 33 percent of surveyed homosexual men reported taking illegal substances, which is three times higher than heterosexual men, six times higher than heterosexual women, and 11 percent higher than heterosexual women. Therapist David Smallwood, an LGBT addiction specialist, believes that this high rate of addiction use is caused by trauma in childhood: “[Drug use] is a way of medicating that stress,” he said.

That may explain a generally higher rate of use, but heterosexual men still use substances (11 percent) at a higher rate than heterosexual women (5 percent). The social concerns of homosexual men don’t necessarily apply to heterosexual men, so why the higher rate here? Beyond the above mentioned fact is the belief that men simply take more risks than women. A study by the Society For Judgment And Decision Making entitled “Gender Differences In Risk Assessment: Why Do Women Take Fewer Risks than Men?” found that men had a more risk-prone nature than women.

For example, they found that men were more likely to speed or drive poorly, leading to a crash rate three times higher than women. This kind of risk taking behavior may lead to men using substances with their friends and peers at higher rates than women. Another cause is the different channels to drug use that men and women take. One study by the University Of Illinois claimed that “The beginning of women’s drug-using careers are related more significantly to their relationships with men.”

This means that women are more likely to use substances if their male romantic partner or male friends do. That’s not to say that women don’t use drugs under the influence of female friends or female romantic partners, but that the general rate seems to indicate men are more prone to peer pressure and what would be considered social drug use than women, perhaps as a way to bond with other friends or to have a good time.

Now that we have a better grasp on where addiction comes from in men, we’ll take a look at the signs and symptoms of their three most commonly used substances: alcohol (42 percent), marijuana (20 percent), and heroin (15 percent). These three substances make up over three-quarters of all addiction recovery cases in men, which makes it vital to understand their addiction symptoms.

Signs Of Drug Use And Abuse In Men Alcohol

Symptoms Of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is common for a variety of reasons, including its socially accepted nature and legality. Studies have shown that men are five times more likely than women to have a serious alcohol abuse problem and more likely to be binge drinkers. Alcohol is physically addictive, like heroin, which makes it one of the hardest substances to beat in recovery. This is also coupled with the relative ease with which most people can obtain alcohol.

Signs that your male loved one is suffering from a severe problem with alcohol consumption include:

  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol nearly every day or every day
  • Hiding drinking or drinking alone
  • Driving while drunk or after drinking
  • Problems at work, including drinking on the job
  • Defensiveness about drinking, including denial of a problem
  • Spending time with friends at the bar and coming home late frequently
  • Gaining weight, due to the empty calories of alcohol, or losing weight because they aren’t eating often enough
  • Inability to have “one or two,” at social drinking events and getting excessively drunk
  • Strong physical cravings for alcohol or bad mood when they haven’t had anything to drink in a while – signs of withdrawal
  • Nausea, anxiety, and other physical problems after quitting drinking for a period of time

For men, alcohol can serve as a socially acceptable way to bond with friends, so having two beers while watching a movie or out fishing isn’t necessarily indicative of a problem. Only through sustained and obvious struggles related to alcohol can you truly diagnose a problem. Watch out for these signs and monitor your loved one’s behavior to get a grasp of how serious their addiction may have become. An intervention may be necessary at some point.

Signs Of Drug Use And Abuse In Men Marijuana

Marijuana Dependence In Men

Marijuana, while not physically addictive, can still cause dependence due to the positive sensations it caused. According to Gantt Galloway, a scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, “For a lot of individuals, marijuana is pleasurable, reinforcing, and reliable. If you’re talking about someone who has a chaotic home situation, someone who isn’t doing well in school, who isn’t getting praise for good school performance, those people may be at higher risk to use marijuana and to have problems with it.”

Galloway’s quote is informative because it illustrates what often causes marijuana addiction in men: stress and anxiety. The relaxing nature of marijuana leads them to use it as a self-medication, becoming reliant on its calming effects to keep focused. Unfortunately, this can cause them to spend a lot of money and to damage their lungs and mental state by smoking too much marijuana.

If you’re worried that your loved one is suffering from addiction to marijuana, please watch for these signs:

  • Smoking marijuana every day or even multiple times a day
  • Showing signs of anxiety or frustration when he cannot smoke marijuana
  • Signs of paraphernalia (rolling papers, joints, pipes, etc.) and the scent of marijuana in his home or on his person
  • Extremely relaxed behavior with signs of cognitive impairment
  • Frantic or obsessive search for new sources of marijuana, such as buying it through a dealer
  • Replacing anti-anxiety medicines with marijuana without the advice of his doctor

Even if marijuana isn’t physically addictive or severely dangerous to use, it may still cause severe problems in your loved one’s life. For example, he may run into trouble with the law if smoking marijuana is illegal in your state or if he is smoking marijuana without a medical marijuana card. It can also cause problems with friends and at work or may even contribute to a car crash if he drives while under the influence. That’s why it’s still so important to get him into rehab soon.

Signs Of Drug Use And Abuse In Men Heroin

Signs Of Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a dangerous and illegal opiate that heavily impacts men by forcing them to constantly use. If they don’t use, they will suffer from severe and painful withdrawal symptoms. The intense high and pleasurable feeling caused by heroin makes it a tough drug to crack, but symptoms of its use are typically easy to spot, due to its heavy impact on his life. Typical symptoms and signs of heroin use in men include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep or falling asleep excessively (both are common symptoms)
  • Stomach problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or a sense of “chills”
  • Intense feelings of happiness alternating with depression
  • Decreased cognitive abilities, including confused thoughts and paranoia
  • Marks on the skin where the heroin is injected
  • Breaking connection with friends and family members
  • Paraphernalia of heroin use (needles, spoons, bottle caps, tourniquet, towels, cotton, pipes, matches, a portable heater, etc.)
  • Nervousness and anxiety when they haven’t used lately
  • Unconsciousness or inability to wake up – often signs of an overdose that requires immediate attention

The extremely physically dangerous nature of heroin addiction makes it imperative to get your loved one into a rehab center as soon as possible. Here, he will receive the help he needs to beat addiction in a safe and healing environment. Even if you suspect that your loved one has just started using, you need to get him into help immediately to avoid addiction.

Treatment For These Addictions

Addiction treatment takes on many facets, due to the uniquely complex nature of the disease. Your loved one will go through the rigors of detoxification to remove all traces of the drug from his body. This can be a physically difficult process when performed alone, but in a rehab center, he will receive commonly medications that can make the process nearly pain-free. This will eliminate a lot of stress and anxiety from recovery.

However, the most difficult part will come in assessing the psychological and behavioral reasons for his addiction. This takes a lot of focus, support, and honesty, but it must be done. Counseling in private or group sessions is likely, as is intensive psychological analysis and even medication to help treat depression and anxiety. This helps calm your loved one’s emotions and creates a more stable and understanding mental environment.

Signs Of Drug Use And Abuse In Men Survey

After that, he will go through treatments like yoga, meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy to gauge the source of problematic behaviors. Yoga and meditation clear the mind and help him approach his life in an honest fashion. Cognitive behavioral therapy identifies problematic behavior and thought patterns and teaches new, positives ones to replace them. For example, it will teach your loved one how to beat relapse cravings or the need to go to the bar with relaxation methods and new sober activities, such as visiting a museum or a friend.

The best way to guarantee that your loved one beats addiction is to help him stay clean for at least five years. A study by the American Medical Association Archives of General Psychiatry found that while relapse occurred in about 40 percent of cases two years after going through rehab, after five years, there were almost no cases of relapse. The best way to help your loved one stay sober during this time is to get him into various aftercare treatment methods that are designed to promote long-term sobriety.

Aftercare treatments may include temporary placement in a halfway or three-quarterway house. These houses are sober facilities that track your loved one’s behaviors and make sure he doesn’t use. Other services, such as Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous can give your loved one a support group that will compel him to stay sober and help him track his progress in a positive way.

You can also help him find activities and behaviors to replace the ones that caused addiction. For example, you can schedule regular family outings with sober friends to give him a way to socialize outside of the bar. Continual family and friend support is one of the best ways to help a loved one achieve sobriety and guarantee that his treatment lasts long after they walk out of a rehab center.

Finally Overcoming Addiction

If you believe that your loved one is suffering from an addiction, it is time to help him get into an addiction recovery center. He may be willing to accept your help and seek recovery in an addiction center. Unfortunately, he may be unwilling to admit he has a problem. This is when an intervention is so important. An intervention will help him face his loved ones and understand how serious addiction has become in his life.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and fight for the health of your loved one. Recovering in a professional and caring rehab center is key to beating addiction and regaining a life free of substances. To learn more about how the above-mentioned treatment methods can help your loved one (or to hire an interventionist for his needs) please contact us at today.

Contact us if you or a loved are considering medication therapy treatment.Our addiction specialists will work hard to carefully identify the problems that are contributing to his addiction and give him the support he needs to recover. We’ll help find a treatment center near you that has specialized treatment for men, including any of the above-mentioned methods that sound right for him. Don’t hesitate any longer: contact us now and help save his life.

Substance Abuse And Mental Health Administration – The TEDS Report
The Telegraph – Why Do Men Take More Drugs Than Women?
Society For Judgment And Decision Making – Gender Differences In Risk Assessment: Why do Women Take Fewer Risks than Men?
University Of Illinois – Drug Use And Gender
HAP – Men And Alcohol
Healthline – Marijuana Addiction Is Rare, But Very Real
WebMd – Heroin
National Institute On Drug Abuse – Signs Of Heroin Use And Addiction
Jeremy Frank PhD – Drug And Alcohol Recovery Outcome And Success Over The Long-Term: Alcoholism And Heroin Addiction And Recovery May Not Be So Bleak