Archive for April, 2010

Basic Components of Drug Rehabilitation

While we all know how a drug rehabilitation program can be very useful to a drug abuser, we must be aware that there are many methods of treatment being offered by different facilities these days. The decision then becomes a little more difficult than simply entering a rehabilitation center. A professional will be able to help determine which methods will work best for specific circumstances.

drug rehabNo matter what the rehabilitation program is, there are 3 basic components that must be included in it – detoxification, therapy and integration.

Detoxification aims to remove the toxins and chemicals in a drug abuser’s body. This may be the most painful phase in the program since the symptoms of withdrawal may be difficult to bear. The body has been used to the effects of the drugs and the absence of such drugs may lead to chills, vomiting, pain and hallucinations. Drug detoxification can be a lengthy process, and extreme patience is crucial.

Therapy is the process in which the patient tries to learn how to physically and mentally cope with the substance withdrawal. It is an important phase in the rehabilitation process as it is during this that the patient reconciles with his wrong decisions and resolves to avoid drugs.

During the integration phase, the patient prepares himself to go back to society and become a responsible, useful member of the community. This stage aims to help the patient avoid relapses while living a normal life outside the rehabilitation center.

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Why Drug Rehabilitation Programs Fail

Drug rehabilitation programs are not foolproof. Why does a drug rehabilitation program fail? These are the basic reasons.

1. Not carefully planned rehabilitation programs. Programs must fit the unique needs of every individual seeking treatment. The programs must follow general guidelines that have been tested and proven to work for many past patients, but must also also consider the special needs and circumstances of every new patient.

drug rehab2. Incompetent rehabilitation facility and facilitators. The success of rehabilitation programs heavily rely on how experienced and competent the facilitators and their working tools are. They will guide the patients on the road to recovery and their role is thus very critical.

3. Patient’s weak resolve to undergo treatment. No matter how carefully the program was planned and how competent the program facilitators are, it can fail if the patient himself is not willing to seek help. It is important for the patient to recognize the problem and work towards his full recovery. However, a patient’s willingness to undergo treatment is not a requirement. A drug abuser’s decision-making process may be impaired, and the intervention by family, friends or other groups will be very important.

4. Lack of support from family and friends. In this crucial time, the drug abuser would need all the support he can get. He will not be able to hold strongly to the program if he sees that not all family members or friends find the treatment useful or needed. A support group, composed of family members and friends, united to help the patient overcome drug abuse will be very helpful.

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Answers to Common Questions on Drug Addiction

We’ve heard about substance addiction so many times and we probably know someone who is addicted to marijuana, alcohol or other drugs. Addiction is a complex, chronic disorder characterized by the compulsive need to use a substance despite the harms it may cause. Here are some of the most common questions asked about addiction and the answers to them.

drugsIs addiction a disease?

Yes. National Institute on Drug Abuse researches suggest that addiction or the compulsion to take drugs is linked to changes in specific neurons in the central nervous system. It can thus be considered as a brain disease.

What are the common signs of addiction?

As addiction has 2 components — physical and psychological — it manifests both physically and psychologically. Physical manifestations include shills, weird smell, vomiting, sweating, and weight loss. An addict may also show signs of aggression, anxiety, burnout, irritability, lack of energy, poor motivation, slow reaction time, denial, depression, and paranoia.

Can an addict quit using drugs if he has strong will power?

Most people suffering from an addiction to drugs cannot stop on their own, no matter how willing they say they are. It is important to seek help from organizations offering structured rehabilitation programs.

Can someone use drugs without being addicted to it?

It depends how strong the effects of drugs are. Many people are able to enjoy alcohol without suffering from alcohol addiction. Addiction happens when a person’s drug use becomes a central part of his or her life. This can be seen on the amount of time and money he or she spends on drugs, and on what he or she is willing to give up for it, such as relationships, jobs or school.

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Short and Long Term Effects of Anabolic Steroid Abuse

Sports celebrities have been plagued with stories and rumors of steroid abuse. Athletes give out their best performances every time, but some athletes find their best not good enough. But instead of trying harder, giving more time for practice, learning new strategies and modifying game plans, some athletes go for the easier route — use steroids.

steroidsWhile steroids are useful to males experiencing abnormally low amounts of testosterone as well as to people suffering from osteoporosis and AIDS, many use it to increase muscle and bone mass to improve performance in competitive sports.

However, the abuse of anabolic steroids has its consequences, which are more dangerous for teens whose bodies are still developing.

Short- term effects include acne, hostility and aggression. Males can experience shrunken testicles, hair loss, difficulty or pain in urinating, increased risk of prostate cancer, and development of breasts. Females can experience decreased body fat and breast size, changes in the menstrual cycle, excessive growth of body and facial hair, male-pattern baldness, and a deepened voice.

Long-term effects include severe acne, fluid retention, high blood pressure, increased risk of blood clotting, increase in bad cholesterol, decrease in good cholesterol, jaundice, liver cysts and cancer, and kidney cancer.

Since steroids are often administered through injection, there is also an increased risk of acquiring hepatitis and HIV from the use of unsterile needles or syringes.

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Warning Signs of Abusive Relationships

When one is young and relatively inexperienced in handling relationships, one may not be able to tell when he or she is already being abused and may decide to stay in a relationship no matter how abusive it is. Here are some of the signs of an abusive relationship. If you feel you, your child or your friend is suffering from relational abuse, seek help and find a way out.

abusive relationships1. Jealousy

This is the most basic and primary symptom of abusive relationships. Your partner tries to control you by demanding most of your time and keeping you away from your family and friends.

2. Violence

Your partner easily loses his or her temper and may inflict bodily harm on you by slapping, punching or pushing. Remember, though, that bodily harm is only one of the many warning signs. The absence of physical abuse does not mean that he or she is not abusing you.

3. Humiliation

Your partner shame, humiliate, demean or embarrass you. It does not matter if he or she does it privately or in front of other people. A healthy relationship must allow you to grow, not to lose confidence in yourself.

4. Drug Abuse

Your partner abuses alcohol and drugs, and pressures you to abuse drugs as well. People in abusive relationships may eventually find drug abuse an attempt to manage the pain.

5. Sexual Pressures

Your partner demands sexual activities even if you have already made it clear to him or her that you are not ready. He or she may make you feel that not giving to his or her demands means you don’t love him or her enough.

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Marijuana Is Not For Everyone!

Medical marijuana has been found to help patients manage their pains and other symptoms associated with certain conditions such as nausea, neurogenic pain, glaucoma, asthma, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, Tourette syndrome, childhood mental disorders, alcohol abuse, epilepsy, hepatitis, cancers and more. This usefulness has prompted advocates to promote and fight for the legalization of marijuana in different states. Some have already heeded the calls; there are now 14 states with medical marijuana laws in place.

marijuanaWith medical marijuana getting the approval of legislators in certain U.S. states, questions are being raised — why is marijuana still prohibited in several other states?

The answer is simple — it is not for everyone.

While patients of specific illnesses may benefit from the effects of marijuana to the body, some should not even try it.

Impact of Marijuana to the Brain

THC finds brain cells, or neurons, with high concentrations of cannabinoid receptors, and binds to them. The areas of the brain most affected by marijuana are the hippocampus, the cerebellum, the basal ganglia, and the cerebral cortex. The hippocampus has a big role in the learning process, and THC may thus interfere with learning and memory. This is especially critical for children or teens whose brains are still developing.

Marijuana may also affect judgment, coordination and perception. Under the influence of marijuana, remembering things you have recently learned or driving a car may seem to be a challenge.

This is why a patient who needs marijuana must get a medical transcription from a doctor to make sure that one can really take benefit from the use of marijuana.

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