Posts tagged "substance addiction"

The Addicted Brain

The Addicted Brain

March 20th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Disease of Addiction 0 comments on “The Addicted Brain”

Addiction is a complex brain disease and changes the brain chemically and physiologically. The brain is a vital organ in the human body. It controls how we move, walk, talk, and speak. The brain adapts to environmental changes and allows us to cope with negative emotions, form memories, and learn.

Drugs and alcohol affect the brain’s neurotransmitters, which release an excess level of dopamine causing temporary pleasurable feelings and euphoria. The brain registers all pleasures in a similar way, whether they begin with a psychoactive drug, reward, sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal.

“Repeated exposure to an addictive substance or behavior causes nerve cells in the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain involved in planning and executing tasks) to communicate in a way that couples liking something with wanting it, in turn driving us to go after it.” (Harvard Medical School, 2011). This prompts us to seek the source of pleasure.

Over time, the brain adapts in a way that actually makes the sought-after substance or activity less pleasurable. Eventually, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the release of more dopamine to feel the same pleasure. This makes a person want more drugs and alcohol with a higher potency, or more risky and addictive activities.  

According to Dr. George Koob, director of NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2015), “The brain actually changes with addiction, and it takes a good deal of work to get it back to its normal state. The more drugs or alcohol you’ve taken, the more disruptive it is to the brain.”

Even if people understand the cycle of addiction and how it changes the brain, they cannot stop on their own. When in treatment, a person’s brain needs to be re-trained to function normally, without toxic substances. It will take time for the brain to re-adjust to a sober, healthy lifestyle.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Get help today so you can enjoy a fulfilling and healthy life in sobriety. There is hope in recovery.

Serenity Springs Recovery Center focuses on rejuvenating men’s holistic spirit for success in addiction recovery. Our unique dual-diagnosis treatment program with a 12-step completion model helps men change their lives inside and out. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life in sobriety. For information, call (386) 423-4540

How Addiction Makes it Difficult to Quit Drugs and Alcohol

How Addiction Makes it Difficult to Quit Drugs and Alcohol

March 19th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Disease of Addiction 0 comments on “How Addiction Makes it Difficult to Quit Drugs and Alcohol”

Addiction makes it difficult to quit drugs and alcohol, and puts a person at risk of developing serious mental and physical health problems. Drugs and alcohol hijack the brain and change the way the brain works to control a body’s functions. Eventually, the brain becomes dependent on the drugs and alcohol and needs more of the substances to make the individual feel comfortable.

Drug and alcohol use interferes with the brain’s neurotransmitters, which release increased levels of dopamine. This causes the individual to experience pleasurable feelings. Quitting drugs or alcohol alone is not recommended.

Ending drug use alone can cause intense withdrawal symptoms, depending on the type of drug used, duration of use, and the severity of addiction. Some withdrawals from drugs such as heroin will cause flu-like symptoms. The uncomfortable and sometimes painful withdrawals can influence a relapse and increases the risk of overdose or death.

Many people use drugs or alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. Drugs and alcohol can increase the symptoms of mental health problems. When drug or alcohol use stops, the person can feel very sick and experience strong cravings. Medication-assisted detox is a safe and more comfortable way of quitting drugs and alcohol. Medical professionals can monitor the detox process and manage medication if needed.

There will be challenges during detox, rehab, and throughout the lifelong recovery process. Support groups and meetings provide a great network of other people recovering from addiction who can give advice and encouragement.

In recovery, an individual needs to learn how to live without substances to cope. People, places, and things associated with drug or alcohol use must be avoided. Meeting people in support groups can lead to new, sober friendships. Strategies for staying away from things that can cause a relapse will help avoid some difficult situations.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help now. Addiction is isolating, but you are not alone. Make the life-saving decision to get help today.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.”

~ Elbert Hubbard

Serenity Springs Recovery Center focuses on rejuvenating men’s holistic spirit for success in addiction recovery. Our unique dual-diagnosis treatment program with a 12-step completion model helps men change their lives inside and out. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life in sobriety. For information, call (386) 423-4540

4 Ways to Avoid a Painkiller Addiction

4 Ways to Avoid a Painkiller Addiction

March 13th, 2019 Posted by Awareness, Blog 0 comments on “4 Ways to Avoid a Painkiller Addiction”

Medical professionals prescribe painkillers as a way to manage pain from an injury, surgery, or trauma. Painkillers are highly addictive opioids, such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, Dilaudid, and Demerol. These medications are used to treat pain, short-term; however, opioids are also used for long-term illnesses such as cancer.

The opioid epidemic has been declared a national health emergency due to the staggering rise in opioid use, overdoses, and deaths. Eric D. Hargan, Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services, determined in 2017 that a public health emergency exists nationwide.

Painkillers cause an intense euphoria from the release of dopamine in your brain. As more medication is taken, more tolerance builds up to achieve the euphoric effects. If you take the painkiller for a long time, you can develop a physical dependence on the drug. The physical dependency puts you at high risk of developing an opioid addiction.

Here are 4 ways to prevent an addiction to painkillers:

  1. Follow the doctor’s orders. If you are taking medication for pain, take the medication as directed by your doctor. When you take more painkillers, more often than prescribed, you put yourself at risk of developing a dependency or addiction.
  2. Seek alternatives. Talk to your doctor about alternatives to opioids. There are addictive medications that can alleviate pain. Check with your doctor for other options that can minimize discomfort.
  3. Ask yourself if you still need painkillers. If your pain is more manageable and you are experiencing less pain, talk to your doctor about discontinuing the medication. If you continue to use them, but no longer need them, you could be at risk of addiction.
  4. Think about other risks. Discuss other factors with your physician that may contribute to your risk of developing an addiction. Talk about your experiences with addiction to drugs or alcohol, or mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

People are dying due to opioid addiction. Opioid addiction can be prevented if you know the risk factors, act responsibly, and maintain communication with your physician. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Addiction is treatable and there is hope in recovery. Get help today so you can enjoy a fulfilling, healthy life in sobriety.

Serenity Springs Recovery Center focuses on rejuvenating men’s holistic spirit for success in addiction recovery. Our unique dual-diagnosis treatment program with a 12-step completion model helps men change their lives inside and out. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life in sobriety. For information, call (386) 423-4540

Discovering why Your Loved One is Addicted

Discovering why Your Loved One is Addicted

March 12th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Disease of Addiction 0 comments on “Discovering why Your Loved One is Addicted”

Addiction does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone from any background, social status, race, and gender. When your loved one is addicted, it can be difficult to understand why he or she developed an addiction. Some people are at higher risk of developing an addiction than others are. There are factors that contribute to a person developing an addiction. Genetics, family history, mental health, and environment are some of the reasons why some people are more susceptible to addiction.

Addiction has an inherited component, often runs in families, and can be passed down through generations. An article on genes and addictions by L. Bevilacqua and D. Goldman for the Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health explains, “Addictions are moderately to highly heritable. Family, adoption, and twin studies reveal that an individual’s risk tends to be proportional to the degree of genetic relationship to an addicted relative.”

Environmental factors can contribute to someone’s substance abuse. Young adolescents who lack parental involvement or live in an abusive home might turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their emotions. Teens are faced with peer pressure and can easily be influenced to experiment with drugs or alcohol to feel accepted.

Metabolism is another reason why some people develop an addiction. Each person absorbs and processes compounds differently and can determine the effect a drug will have on the body. (Medical News Today (2018).

Mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety can increase the risk of developing an addiction or substance use disorder. Some individuals use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope, but certain substances increase depression and anxiety.

Alcohol is a depressant and increases symptoms of depression. Opioids are often prescribed after an illness, injury, or surgery to temporarily manage pain and recovery. Painkillers are addictive but safe when taken as prescribed. A person without any of the risk factors can also become addicted at any time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Addiction is complicated but is treatable. Take the first step toward a healthy, fulfilling, life in sobriety and get help today. There is hope in recovery.

Serenity Springs Recovery Center focuses on rejuvenating men’s holistic spirit for success in addiction recovery. Our unique dual-diagnosis treatment program with a 12-step completion model helps men change their lives inside and out. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life in sobriety. For information, call (386) 423-4540

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