How to Cope with Losing a Loved One to Addiction

Even though it’s not something that anyone finds it to be particularly pleasant, everyone knows that coping with the death of a loved one is a natural part of life. There is no denying that any type of loss is painful, but there is something about the loss of a loved one from addiction that puts things in a different category altogether. Addiction is a deadly disease, it doesn’t discriminate against anyone, it affects men, women, and children and it has destroyed many innocent lives. Unfortunately, losing a loved one to drug abuse is all too common. If you have lost a loved one to substance abuse, it is critical that you learn how to cope with the loss and not allow this devastation to consume your life as well. Here are some ways to cope with the loss of a loved one from addiction.

Get Support

Loss and unresolved grief are burdens that are commonly carried. It’s important to keep yourself in the company of supporting and loving others that you share your feelings and experiences with. It’s easy to fall into the trap of isolation, but it is critical for your own emotional health to increase your contact with family and friends, attend grief meetings and share from your heart. Do not be afraid to open up about what is going on inside your emotions.

Avoid Holding Back

Holding back your emotions doesn’t benefit you or those around you. Pain is inevitable, but you must grieve effectively and in order to do this, it’s essential that you share and release your pain with others. It’s often beneficial to talk with others who have also lost a loved one to addiction, such as groups that are designed specifically for loved ones of men and women who had a substance abuse problem. For instance, Al-Anon groups are typically located in most cities, and they will not only be able to provide you with information regarding addiction but direct you to additional support groups that help with the grieving process.

Grieve in a Healthy Way

It is essential for your emotional as well as physical health that you allow yourself to not only grieve but to grieve in a healthy way. There are many stages of the grieving process, and your health depends on your experience in all stages. Over time the shock and the denial will gradually fade, so focusing on living in the present will help ground you through the denial phase of grief. Another phase is anger and you’re entitled to be angry, so allow yourself to be angry by expressing the anger in healthy ways. It is critical that you remember that you were and are powerless over what has happened. Depression is also a stage of grief that you must get through, but once you have worked through the anger and hurt, it will eliminate the risk for harboring resentments, which creates unnecessary distances between you and your loved ones when you need them the most. Although it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel-acceptance will eventually come.

Living Your Life Well

One of the best ways to honor your lost loved one is to live your life the way they would want it for you. So, don’t forget to take care of yourself. The grieving process is stressful and overwhelming, but it’s critical that you not lose yourself in the process. Participating in activities you enjoy, such as taking a walk, listening to your favorite music or finishing that book you started is a great way to calm your mind and rejuvenate your emotional and physical strength.

After losing a loved one to substance abuse, it is common for family and friends to blame themselves, to look for ways that they could have helped or try to look for what they may have done wrong. Do not blame yourself or others! Harboring these feelings will prevent you from moving on and prevent you from healthy grieving. It’s important that you are gentle with yourself and give yourself space, time and patience you need to work through the loss.

How To Quit Using Cocaine

If you’re looking for how to quit using cocaine, you’re in the right place. And, you’re not alone.

A 2014 study showed that over one and a half million people misused crack cocaine in the United States alone. Today, this epidemic affects teens, young adults, middle-aged and elderly people alike.

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to quitting this (and other) addictive drugs. The high from cocaine, in particular, is very strong and fast — dopamine rises, euphoria ensues, and afterward, the user craves that feeling even more.

Cocaine addiction can greatly harm a person over time; it’s very difficult to quit without the proper support system and guidelines in place since the drive to get high is often very strong. The first thing you should do when attempting to quit injecting, smoking, or snorting cocaine is to seek addiction treatment from trained professionals.

Here are several things you should know about quitting cocaine use.

How To Quit

As stated, the only way to quit cocaine is to quit. Everything that comes along with that — detox, withdrawal, rehab — makes this trying. Here is a quick guide on things that can help manage:

-Find a constructive hobby

Fill your time with other things. Revisit an old passion. Discover a new one. Go to the gym; take a painting class; volunteer; join a flag football league. If you find something else to invest in and hold you accountable, it can make recovery easier. Also, cravings can revolve around timing. If you fill your time, the craving will subside.

-Find a Group

It helps to find a strong, reliable group of people who can help you stay out of cocaine usage. This could be friends, family members, support groups, a counselor, or anyone who helps you stay on the right path.

-Find Motivation

Quitting cocaine is no easy task. Remind yourself why you’re getting clean: a parent, a child, your own health. Create a reward system for yourself when you don’t use — treat yourself to your favorite meal or something to keep you moving forward.

Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions surrounding addiction treatment. People may think they are too hooked, too poor, or too weak to quit drugs.

The reality is, with the right system in place and a dedicated team of professionals helping you, you can quit using cocaine. Getting clean ultimately requires a system and structure. There are options in place for people attempting to stop using and avoid falling victim to the harsh withdrawal effects.

Withdrawl

Withdrawal from cocaine is difficult, and often insights relapse. People experience mood swings, anger, depression, insomnia, anxiety, exhaustion and a host of other symptoms. The good news is that these are temporary. The bad news is these symptoms can feel unbearable. Additionally, avoiding any type of addictive substances is important to recovery.

Treatment

Addiction treatment can vary. Here are some options for treatment:

-A detox center can help monitor your withdrawal symptoms. Cocaine withdrawal is intense and often causes a relapse. This can be managed with something like a detox center, in which a medical team can help monitor your vitals and keep you on track when quitting.

-Sober Living Communities may be an option. These are places dedicated to helping people get clean. Addicts find these support communities therapeutic and helpful in the treatment process. They can be used at any stage.

-A one-on-one counselor can help you manage cocaine addiction, as well as other factors that may contribute to your addiction. There are many psychological and emotional stressors involved in cocaine withdrawal and usage in some cases. A counselor specialized in drug abuse can help you quit and stay sober.

-A rehab facility is the best way to stay clean after detox. Some people use rehab facilities for several months to encourage positive and sober behavior. Rehab facilities like Newport Beach Recovery can help build a support system and strong foundation for a post-cocaine life.

Summary

No matter your situation, quitting drugs is difficult to do alone. It’s important you have a dedicated and strong team by your side in this process.

If you or someone you love is attempting to quit cocaine, we can help. Newport Beach Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehab in Costa Mesa, CA. Learn more about us at newportbeachrecoverycenter.com

Depression and Substance Abuse: A Guide for Women

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women are twice more likely to suffer depression than men.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse also places the number of women above age 18 to have used drugs in their lifetime at 19.4 million.  With such compelling statistics, it is clear that depression and drug abuse are key issues among women in the country.

Below is a depression and substance abuse guide for women:

The relationship between depression and addiction

Research shows that there is a strong connection between major depression and substance abuse. This is mostly because the main factors that contribute to depression also play a part in substance abuse disorders. Similarly, the various effects of addiction can mask or worsen the symptoms of mental illness. If you notice that your loved one has co-occurring depression and substance abuse, you should consider discussing the problem with them affectionately and compassionately before seeking a structured intervention.

Facts about depression and substance abuse

To identify the most effective treatment program for depression and addiction, here are a few facts you should know about the two disorders.

  • Generally, women have various reasons for using drugs and will use these substances in a different way than men.
  • There are times when women will respond differently to substances. For instance, they could have more drug cravings, become more sensitive to the effects of drugs due to sex hormones, or experience significantly different brain changes.
  • The risk of dying from a drug overdose or the effects of certain substances is higher in women than in men.
  • Women who are addicted to certain substances can experience panic attacks, anxiety, or even depression.
  • Factors that can trigger substance abuse and depression in women include domestic violence, divorce, death of a partner, or loss of child custody.

Substance use during pregnancy can pose a serious health risk to mother and unborn baby, both in the short and long term.

Common causes of depression

While the exact causes of depression have not been identified, there are several theories about the roots of the condition.

  • Brain structure and chemistry – brains of individuals with depressive disorders have a different structure from those without. The areas responsible for cognition, mood, sleeping, and metabolic function will have a unique appearance. Depression has also been linked to imbalances in brain chemicals that regulate moods, appetite, and energy levels.
  • Environmental factors – a history of emotional, sexual or physical abuse and a disorderly home environment during childhood can contribute towards depression in adolescence or adulthood. The good news is that trauma therapy can help heal the wounds inflicted by these experiences. Some scientists have also linked depression to genetics, with people who have relatives suffering from the condition being at risk of developing the same condition.
  • Situational factors – some of the experiences and setbacks we face in life can also result in depression if the emotions surrounding the events are not resolved.

Signs and symptoms to look out for

It is important to identify depression and substance abuse in good time to seek the necessary interventions. Here are some of the signs and symptoms to look out for.

  • Mood swings, erratic behavior and shifts in personality
  • Substance abuse affecting school, work, family obligations and responsibilities
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Withdrawing and loss of interest in hobbies and daily activities
  • Unintentional weight loss or gain, poor hygiene
  • Suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts
  • Inability to control the amount of time spent using drugs
  • Financial problems

Consequences of untreated depression and substance abuse

When ignored or left untreated, depression and substance abuse disorders can have serious consequences. Long-term health problems may include

  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory complications and diseases
  • Liver and kidney damage or disease
  • Skin infections
  •  Stroke
  • Brain damage
  • Overdose or death
  •  Cognitive defects

In case one abuses drugs during pregnancy, the baby may be born with several health problems. These include low birth weight, congenital disabilities, premature birth, small head size or sudden infant death syndrome.

Types of depressive disorders

Depression comes in many forms, making it important to know the different subtypes of the condition. The different forms are influenced by the cause of the symptoms, duration, and severity. Some common types of depressive disorders are major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, bipolar, postpartum, seasonal affective disorder, and psychosis. All these types require attention and specialized treatment.

Treatment options and programs

Since depression and substance abuse affect women differently, treatment for the two conditions may be different than for men. Struggling with these conditions can bring feelings of isolation, loneliness, and worthlessness. Similarly, family members can feel frustrated and stressed. It is important, to be honest about the problem as you seek help.

In most cases, depression and substance abuse disorders will be treated using a combination of therapy and medications. Effective interventions and depression treatment will include antidepressant medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, trauma therapies, and family systems therapy.

There are different treatment options that you can choose from. These include outpatient services, intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization program, medical detox, residential treatment programs, and inpatient rehabilitation. It is important to choose the right treatment for the patient’s condition.

In conclusion, once a patient has received the necessary treatment, family and loved ones should offer the care and support they need to resume a normal life. There is always the possibility of relapse when it comes to depression and substance abuse. A strong support network will help the affected persons feel loved and valued, putting them firmly on the path to full recovery.

A Guide to the 10 Most Dangerous Drugs

Any drug can be dangerous or even deadly depending on the dosage, oft-script use, or even based on an individual’s adverse reaction to the substance. While there are potentially harmful side effects for some prescription medications, it’s fairly easy to determine the most dangerous drugs. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tracks the data every year and then releases a list of the drugs associated with overdose deaths.

Heroin

Heroin tops the list of most dangerous drugs. Although opioids and opium have existed since ancient history, Heroin first surfaced in 1874 and the substance was marketed as a “heroin” because of the “hero” or euphoric feeling. It was mistakenly prescribed as a remedy for colds, coughs, and congestion. Heroin is now an illegal drug that is highly addictive.

Cocaine

Chewing coca, a gift from the gods, was a common practice since ancient times. Tinctures from coca leaves were first used in 1850, and cocaine was extracted in 1855. Through the next few years, cocaine was manufactured and released in various forms, popularized, and recommended for use in improving athletic performance, as a local anesthetic, and as a treatment for substance abuse. Coca-Cola also famously released their soda containing cocaine and caffeine in 1886.  Medical literature reported on the damage caused by snorting cocaine in 1910, and the US banned cocaine in 1914.

Oxycodone

OxyContin was developed in 1916 to replace other addictive substances like codeine and morphine. The generic form, oxycodone, was first released in the US in 1939, and it quickly became the bestselling narcotic pain reliever. Drug abuse and addiction can lead to breathing problems, severe withdrawal symptoms, but also a higher likelihood of heroin use.

Alprazolam

Xanax is a popular trade name for alprazolam, used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. First patented in 1971, it was approved for US medical use in 1981. Alprazolam is one of the most prescribed drugs, but it can also be misused.  Negative side effects can include paranoia, impairment, and fatigue.

Fentanyl

While fentanyl is sometimes compared with morphine, it is 50-100 times more potent. It is prescribed as a shot, lozenge, or patch in instances where other forms of pain relief have been ineffective. Illegal forms are sold as an eye dropper, pills, or nasal sprays; but it is also frequently laced with other drugs like heroin. Drug abuse, then, can lead to death.

Morphine

Morphine is derived from the poppy straw of the opium flower. With a history of opium-based elixirs dating back to ancient times, Friedrich Sertürner discovered morphine (which he first called morphium, after the god of dreams) in 1804. Morphine use can lead to constipation or other side effects. Overdose or addictive use of this drug can lead to respiratory distress and even death.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that is sometimes used to treat ADHD or obesity. Amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887. Then, Chemist Nagai Nagayoshi derived methamphetamine from ephedrine in 1893. The drug was released in pill-form by Temmler for use by German soldiers and pilots during World War II. With severe zombie-like exhaustion and violent-outbursts, the drug was discontinued. Methamphetamine is restricted or illegal in many areas.

Methadone

Max Bockmühl and Gustav Ehrhart at the IG Farben company first synthesized methadone in 1937 as an easier-to-use painkiller, with supposedly less chance of addiction. The FDA approved the drug for use in the US in 1947. Then, doctors began prescribing methadone in the 1960s to prevent addicts from using heroin. It’s called the Methadone Maintenance Treatment, and while it did help with the heroin use, methadone drug abuse became a problem.

Hydrocodone

Derived from a poppy, hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic drug, with a high likelihood of dependency and drug abuse.  Carl Mannich and Helene Löwenheim first synthesized the drug in 1920 and the FDA approved it for use in the US in 1943. It is one of the most frequently prescribed opioid, with millions of prescriptions filled every year. Severe side effects are the addiction, allergic reaction, slowed breathing, liver damage, and infection.

Diazepam

Diazepam is a benzodiazepine, most commonly known as Valium. It was approved in 1960 and released in 1963 for use in treating anxiety, vertigo, seizures, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal with fewer negative side effects when compared with similar drugs. While considered “safer” in general, the drug can still be dangerous and deadly when combined with other sedatives, particularly as an overdose. It has been popularized as a way to “take the edge off” or elevate anxiety or stress, but diazepam use has also been linked with depression, dizziness, or impairment.

Most of the most dangerous and deadly drugs have existed in one form or another since ancient times, and many of them were initially conceived to relieve pain and suffering. With increasing regularity, substance abuse becomes dangerous and deadly. If you or a loved one are struggling with any drug at all, we urge you to reach out for treatment. Contact us today for more information.