Why Addiction Is Dangerous

Addiction Is Dangerous | Transcend Recovery

It isn’t possible to overstate that addiction is dangerous, especially regarding drugs. Not only does the opioid crisis continue to take lives, but our society struggles with addiction in all forms. Addressing these issues can be extremely difficult. For some families, addiction is what tore apart relationships with decades of history, and turned a person you once knew into someone else. For the individuals who struggle to overcome their condition, the stigma of addiction and the fight for a clean life can sometimes be all-consuming, or seemingly hopeless

To society, the issue of addiction can be overwhelming, and is not something we can simply march to war against. Addiction is dangerous, but also misunderstood and badly represented, and the solution lies far beyond simply treating the problem with contempt.

The first step to acting against addiction is to do what you can to help those in your life – especially if you’re someone fight addiction on a personal level. It starts at home, and with the right attitude, we can help shape a better understanding of addiction and mental health, and address issues in healthcare and culture surrounding these dangers. But to begin, it’s important to learn about addiction – and find out why addiction is dangerous and as serious as it is.


How Addiction Consumes People

Addiction is mental health condition that happens on several levels. The DSM defines addiction as a “maladaptive pattern of substance abuse leading to clinically significant impairment”. The explicit reason for the abuse is not strictly important for the diagnostic criteria, as the development of a harmful habit can be either physical, psychological, or both physical and psychological in nature.

Some people start down a path of addiction due to emotional trauma, coupled with unfortunate circumstances, and an unhealthy attachment to the effects of a drug given the pain they’re in. Other people slip into substance abuse through a period of “casual” use, during which their brain undergoes the process that causes a physical addiction.

On the psychological side, addiction is dangerous and can be considered a form of bad coping. Coping is important for all people – we all need ways to cope with our issues, and we all form ways to deal with stress. Some ways, however, are more healthy and helpful than others. Drugs are an example of a very unhealthy, and very unhelpful coping mechanism. But the psychoactive effects of most drugs make them extremely alluring anyways.

On the physical side, continued use of a substance triggers the development of tolerance, and cravings. There is no concrete time frame for addiction – it takes longer to develop in some people than it does in others, and the addictive potency of the drug plays a key role – but over the course of continuous use, addiction develops as a brain disease that alters a person’s perceptions of pleasure and reward, and cause powerful cravings for a drug. Over time, the body adapts to the effects of drugs and develops a tolerance to it, which leads to an increase in usage, and often an overdose. This unpredictability is part of why addiction is dangerous.


Addiction Hides Problems From You

Aside from an addiction’s potential to trap you in a vortex of cravings and highs, and its complicated origins in the brain, the emotional impact of drug use can have drastic and long-lasting repercussions in your life. Aside from physical dangers, such as breaking down your organs, endangering your heart, causing brain damage and potentially triggering cancer growth, years of addiction can cause you to forget how to deal with problems, or even recognize them at all, lending a whole new meaning to the idea addiction is dangerous.

When someone relies on a coping mechanism like drug use due to an addiction, one of the hardest parts of recovery include confronting issues without an equally effective way of coping. The emotional toll can be significant to begin with, and many people experience a rollercoaster of emotions within the first few months of recovery, especially as they ease their way back into a sober life of responsibilities and commitments.

Addiction is dangerous because it causes you to be blind to life – and while this can keep you from having to look at the bad, it also keeps you from realizing and enjoying the good. Not seeing the bad also means that when you do go sober, you’re forced to deal with a bigger problem. These dangers – robbing you of a healthy way to cope and regressing emotional maturity for months or even years – are significant, and can take a while to get used to. That is why many treatment options concern themselves with not just giving you the tools to stay clean, but giving you the tools to deal with life once you’ve been clean long enough.


A Comprehensive Response To How Addiction Is Dangerous

Just as addiction is dangerous because it is multifaceted and complicated, and the antagonist of a unique struggle in every individual who gets diagnosed with it, the answer to addiction is never simple or straightforward. Even on an individual level, it would be tough to summarize the right approach to overcoming addiction as any less than creating a “comprehensive response”. In other words: to help someone overcome addiction, their treatment must address psychological issues, physical issues, and provide both answers and solutions in the short-term, and a long-term plan.

For some, that might involve a special residential treatment, medical help to fight withdrawal symptoms, and frequent one-on-one therapy. For others, a short stay at a sober living home and a few months spent meeting new people and making one or two meaningful connections might be just what is needed. Treatment facilities must account for limitations and specifications, time and budget restraints, and more.

Beyond that, every case of addiction is best treated on more than just an individual level. When treatment is done, and therapy comes to an end, the family and friends of a person effectively continue to be their therapist. A lack of understanding or well-intentioned mistakes can undo months of therapy, and bring someone to the brink of relapse.

If you’re struggling with addiction, the best thing you can do is go see a professional. There is no be-all-end-all path to long-term sobriety – but getting help in exploring all the options instead of going with the first one you can find may make a significant difference.


What Are The Warning Signs Of Opioid Abuse?

Opioid Abuse Signs | Transcend Recovery Community

We’re living in a time when opioid abuse is at an all-time high in the US. Not only is the United States the world’s biggest consumer of opioids, but it’s struggling with one of the worst heroin epidemics in recent memory.

The only comparison that doesn’t pale completely is 18th century China, when roughly a third of the country was addicted to opium. At the time, it took several reforms, international intervention, major changes in trade, a war and a cultural revolution before the opium epidemic began to lessen in severity. That alone should hint at how much of a scourge addiction is.

Opioids are also not just any addiction. Opioids, in all their forms, are among the most powerful and addictive drugs on the planet. Derived from the poppy plant, opioids describe any non-synthetic and synthetic derivatives of a special alkaloid compound that attaches to receptors in the human brain, causing an analgesic and euphoric effect.

In other words, we’re talking about a family of substances that act as powerful painkillers, and cause feelings of pure joy. While that sounds great on the surface, these substances also come with a side-effect: an often-lethal addiction. Here are a few common opioids, as well as more information on how the addiction develops, and can be identified.


Here’s What Classifies As An Opioid

Opioids are both natural and synthetic derivatives of opium (either chemically derived from the poppy plant, or designed with opium’s function in mind), including:

  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Carfentanyl

These are the generic names for most well-known opioids, but they have separate brand names as well. Commonly known brand names for opioids include:

  • OxyContin®
  • Percocet®
  • Vicodin®
  • Percodan®
  • Tylox®
  • Demerol®

Beyond that, an opioid may also refer to any substance that exhibits very similar symptoms or functions to natural or synthetic opiates. An opiate, on the other hand, refers to any derivative of opium. Opium itself is addictive and effective as a painkiller, but is nowhere near as powerful as its later derivatives, most famously codeine, morphine and heroin.


Physical Symptoms Of Opioid Abuse

Opioids in and of itself have great medical applications, particularly as painkillers for post-surgery or emergency room situations. They’re also often used in end-of-life care, particularly with terminal cancer patients. However, when subject to misuse, they can cause significant physical side-effects including:

  • Constipation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sedation
  • Confusion
  • Respiratory difficulty/respiratory arrest
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Drowsiness

As an addictive drug, opioid abuse can lead to withdrawal symptoms, which are mostly flu-like. Although opioid withdrawals are not as fatal as alcohol withdrawals, they can be quite painful and uncomfortable.


Behavioral Changes

Beyond the physical symptoms of opioid abuse, there are a few other ways in which an opioid addiction will change someone – specifically behaviorally. Opioid abuse can lead to:

  • Dramatic mood shifts
  • Unexpected and noticeable euphoria
  • Social isolation
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Recklessness

Most forms of addiction will lead to behavioral changes, as people typically try and cover up their drug use. They may go out of their way to create an illusion that everything is fine, which inadvertently can cause suspicion.

Other common changes from opioid abuse include financial trouble, excessive amounts of stress, and erratic behavior at work or at home. Finding drug paraphernalia is an obvious sign of use as well.


Long-Term Effects

Heroin and other opioid abuse can cause long-term changes in the body, some of which may be irreversible. For example: there may be evidence to suggest that heroin use leads to the deterioration of white matter in the brain. This affects learning and can slow cognition.

Other long-term behavioral changes include difficulty in decision-making and a difficulty with mood regulation and behavioral control. In short, heroin use can lead to long-term deficiency in brain function, thus impairing your thinking, reasoning and memory. This can also affect your ability to plan, solve problems, and multitask.

The brain is a remarkable organ, but it takes time to recover from abuse. Any damage to the brain can take decades to resolve, or even be permanent. The only way to know for sure is to keep working on improving your brain health after an addiction, through exercising, a healthy diet, and regular mental challenges such as tackling math, literature, or certain strategy games.


Treating Opioid Abuse

As dangerous and powerful as opioid abuse is, it can be “defeated” – or in more apt words, an addiction to opioids can be overcome. But it isn’t easy. Heroin and other opioids continue to be one of the harder addictions to beat, because of their inherent addictiveness, and availability. If it isn’t through prescription medication on the black market, then it’s through the heroin on the streets.

Overcoming addiction is difficult no matter what you’re addicted to, but some vices give you a longer period to cut yourself off from them. With heroin, your chances are a bit slimmer – but they’re there, and you’re by no means hopeless.

It’s not as easy as just checking into a treatment facility or Los Angeles Sober Living, though. Recovery is a life-changing process, and you’ll need all the help you can get. But with the help of your loved ones, your friends, and a little bit of luck, you can reclaim your life and live drug-free again.

Dewshine and Other Cheap Highs Can Be Deadly

You probably haven’t heard of Dewshine. It’s a mixture of Mountain Dew and gasoline. Yes, that’s right – the soft drink plus fuel for your car. Two teens in Tennessee came up with the brew as a way to get a cheap high. The teens are now dead and two others were taken to the emergency room.

Dewshine has mostly methanol in it, which is a form of alcohol used in industrial vehicles and automobiles. To be clear, it is not the same form of alcohol found in beer, wine, and liquor. According to an article in US News, methanol is poisonous in even small amounts. For an infant, methanol would be deadly, as it was for two of the adolescents who drank the mixture. Additionally, those who drank Dewshine might have experienced severe headaches, blurred vision, rapid or deep breathing, drowsiness and confusion, ​nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or blindness, depending on the amount used. Perhaps these symptoms aren’t worth the cheap high they initially hoped for.

In fact, a cheap high often is not cheap at all. For instance, those who are addicted to prescription drugs often turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative. In some parts of the country, bundles of glassine bags can sell for as low as $3, which can then be sold elsewhere for $10. Whether its $3 or $10, the cost is incredibly cheap, making it attractive and easily accessible. Yet in the long run, the use of substances that appear cheap can later require the costs of hospitalization, addiction treatment, rent at a sober living facility, and can even cost one their life. Cheap highs aren’t cheap if they later require ongoing medical and psychological care.

The same is true with inhalants. An inhalant is any substance that can be turned into a chemical vapor, which is inhaled by users to get high. There are many household products that can be used as inhalants, which is why this type substance use can be challenging to control. Inhalants provide a very short high, lasting from 15-30 minutes. For this reason, a person is likely to repeatedly use them. According to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are at least 18 million people have tried inhalants at least once in their lifetime.

Like Dewshine, the products that people use to get high sound astronomical. Instead of gasoline, they may inhale cleaning solutions, correction fluids, degreasers, deodorant sprays, felt markers, hair spray, leather cleaners, or nail polish remover. And just like the symptoms listed above for drinking Dewshine, those who ingest inhalants can experience a variety of unfortunate symptoms. These include:

  • Delusions
  • Distorted thinking
  • Euphoria
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of sensation
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you or someone you know is brewing something with dangerous compounds, such as fluid, be aware that it could cost you your life. A cheap high may not be so cheap in the end.


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Licit vs. Illicit Drug Use

Sometimes when words are used over and over again, they can lose their meaning. Or the depth of its meaning gets lost. For instance, some people might know that the phrase “illicit drugs” refer to  drugs that are “illegal” or “forbidden”. However, many people don’t realize that these drugs are not only illegal to use, but they are also illegal to sell and make. This article will review the differences between licit and illicit drugs and why drugs have been classified as illegal.

The word licit means “within the law”. In other words, anything that is licit is allowed or legal. Licit drugs include alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. It is legal to purchase and use these substances. Legal drug use include prescription drugs that are used according to doctor’s instruction as well as by the person for whom it was prescribed. Legal drugs also include medicines used for an illness and over the counter drugs when used as directed.

However, illicit drugs are those that have been classified as illegal because they pose a threat to one’s health and in some cases, their life. As a result, these drugs might also be dangerous to society as well as the national and even global economy. Examples of illicit drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Crack cocaine
  • LSD
  • Ecstasy
  • Mushrooms
  • PCP

In addition to being illegal, some drugs are classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into groups based on risk of abuse or harm. Those drugs with high risk and no benefits are banned from medical practice and are considered to be Schedule I drugs.  Of the drugs listed above heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, and ecstasy are considered to be Schedule I drugs. Schedule II drugs are also considered to be dangerous, particularly because they can create a physical and psychological dependence. These include methadone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine. The classification of drugs continue with III, IV, and V, depending upon how dangerous it may be.

Despite these classifications and despite the fact that drugs are considered licit or illicit, many men and women would argue that even legal drugs, such as alcohol and nicotine, can be incredibly harmful. For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nicotine kills over 400,000 Americans each year. And, more deaths are caused each year by tobacco than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Furthermore, a British study revealed that alcohol was the most harmful drug overall compared to the effects of other drugs. For instance, alcohol is a factor involved in the cause of thousands of car accidents and a large percentage of crime.

Because of this, you could argue that the reasoning behind making certain drugs legal and other illegal is nonsense since alcohol and tobacco are legal and they are killing people every day. With this in mind, it’s important to not let the law decide for you when it comes to substance use. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean that it’s going to be safe to use it.

If you’re drinking or using another type of substance on a regular basis, you may be at risk for an addiction. Contact a mental health professional for help today.


If you or someone you know has a problem with either licit or illicit drugs, contact us today to see how we can help: 800-208-1211


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How to Help a Woman Who Is Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol

When it comes to addiction, women and men are vastly different. Historically, treatment centers haven’t recognized these differences nor have they changed their treatment modalities accordingly. However, today, there are a wide number of sober living homes and addiction treatment centers that are catering to the different needs of men and women. If you are a woman or you know of a woman struggling with addiction, this article will address some key components to a successful recovery.

First of all, it’s important to know that men and women do not respond to stressful experiences in the same way. Typically, when men exceed their stress level, they tend to retreat into their cave, such as going into the garage to work on their projects. Yet, women who have gone beyond their stress level tend to do the opposite. They don’t retreat; they seek out someone to talk to. Women tend to want to talk out their thoughts and feelings. However, if women don’t find someone to talk to, they can be vulnerable to coping with their stress in different ways – including through the use of drugs and alcohol.

For those women who do choose to manage their stress through substances, they might eventually try to hide the fact that their drinking or drug use has become an issue. The stigma of substance abuse is a problem for many women struggling with addiction. In fact, the stigma and the associated shame keep them from seeking treatment. But in addition to the stigma, there are some very real matters that keep women from getting treatment. These include:

  • Fear losing custody of their children.
  • Can’t find a way to take care of their children while in treatment.
  • Can’t find a treatment center that can help them with financial resources.
  • Can’t find a treatment center that is culturally appropriate for them, as in having Spanish-speaking staff.
  • Don’t want to enter treatment while pregnant.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests that addiction treatment centers and sober living homes should consider a woman’s needs, the severity of the addiction, and her financial situation. Studies show that once a woman enters treatment, she is just as likely as a man to stay in treatment. However, there are certainly factors that will keep her in treatment, such as the presence of childcare, a collaborative approach to treatment, and a supportive environment. Also, treatment centers that can help a women find work and can help with other areas of life tend to also help a woman stay in treatment. Studies show that women who are employed and have support systems will have fewer relapses and will be more likely to maintain their sobriety.

Also sober living homes and treatment centers that are for women only also show a high success rate. In these healing environments, women can be mutually supportive by relating to one another and sharing personal stories. And, SAMHSA recognizes important factors that play a role in the sobriety of women, which include having a support significant other, having a family that cares, being older, and having at least a high school diploma.

These are the factors that can help a woman get sober and stay sober. Perhaps educating women on these key points can facilitate their recovery from addiction.


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Alcohol Is a Poison That the Body Works Hard to Eliminate

For some, it might be hard to realize that alcohol is actually a toxic chemical. Sure, it can make a party more lively and it can bring out the social side of people, but at what cost? The body is severely affected by the continued use of alcohol, and it’s important that the general public know this.

Essentially, there are two toxins in alcohol that the body needs to work hard to eliminate. These are acetaldehyde and acetic acid. Acetaldehyde is a colorless liquid created by oxidizing ethanol. And alcohol is a colorless, flammable liquid that comes in various forms. However, the form that is used in beverages such as wine, beer, and liquor is known as ethyl alcohol. It is produced through the fermentation of grains and fruits, which happens when yeast acts upon certain ingredients in food and creates alcohol. Beer and wine are drinks that are fermented and can contain anywhere from 2% to 20% alcohol. And other drinks that are distilled, such as liquor, can contain anywhere from 40% to 50% of alcohol.

No matter the type of alcoholic drink, however, alcohol is dangerous to the body. The liver does the majority of the hard work in processing alcohol and removing it from our system. However, about 10% of alcohol is also eliminated through our breath, sweat, and urine. Whatever is left in the body will slowly be eliminated over the next 7-12 hours following drinking.

Although the liver does the hardest work in eliminating toxins, alcohol use impacts all the other major organs as well. In fact, the head scientist of a study on alcoholism reported the following: “Clearly alcohol abuse can compromise the structure and functionality of several human organs, thus directly increasing the risk of death,” The study mentioned here also revealed that alcoholics may be more at risk for certain types of cancers. This study and other research studies have found that alcoholism can contribute to the following health problems:

  • Hypertension
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Impotence
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Pancreatitis
  • Stroke
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Cirrhosis
  • Dementia
  • Seizures
  • Gout
  • High blood pressure
  • Nerve damage
  • Night sweats

Furthermore, regular use of alcohol can contribute to glucose intolerance as well as obesity, which are both linked to Type II diabetes.

It should be noted that most countries have a guideline for alcohol use for men and women, For instance, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse, men should avoid drinking no more than 4 drinks in a day or no more than 14 drinks per week.  Women should avoid drinking no more than 3 drinks in a day or no more than 7 drinks per week. However, these guidelines are put into place to minimize the damage that alcohol already has on people’s health and well being.

It goes without saying that alcohol also contributes to crime, deadly car accidents, and other forms of substance use. It can also play a role in suicide attempts and one’s overall psychological health.

If you or someone you know is regularly drinking alcohol, consider the above health risks. If you feel you need support in bringing your drinking to an end, contact a mental health provider today.


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Why Drugs Are So Addictive

Most people who get caught in an addiction don’t realize what’s happening in the brain each time they drink or use drugs. Instead, what they experience is the high and the immense pleasure that comes with ingesting a new substance. What they experience is something new, a feeling that puts them on top of the world, and perhaps a widening of an otherwise narrow view of themselves.

And of course these experiences are going to draw someone back again and again to using a drug. This is especially true if someone has never experienced anything like it before. Something about the experience captivates them. However, it’s not only the high that gets a person hooked; it’s also the way the brain responds to the high. Experts believe that addictive drugs activate the brain’s reward system. The drug increases the release of dopamine from neurons in critical areas of the brain.

Typically, dopamine is released after pleasurable experiences take place, whether you’re high on a drug or not. For instance, after eating food or after having sex, a person’s brain will release dopamine. However, taking certain drugs can induce dopamine too. In fact, there are certain drugs that artificially induce the presence of dopamine in a person’s brain, which might cause them to want more and more of the drug. And to make matters worse, some people have a genetic disposition that cause the brain to develop an addiction more rapidly than others.

When a person has the beginning elements of an addiction, he or she might go from regular use of the drug to substance abuse. Substance abuse happens when a person consumes drugs or alcohol in amounts that are harmful to themselves or others. This unhealthy use of a substance can further exacerbate the possibility of addiction. Despite popular views of addiction (e.g., that it results from personal failure or that only people who are flawed find themselves with addiction), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has determined that addiction is an illness. Just like other illnesses that come with symptoms and can be treated, so too is addiction a disease of the brain.

Addiction is not like any disease, however. It is a complex brain disease. It comes with compulsive behavior (behavior that a person cannot seem to control), cravings, and substance use that continues despite destructive consequences. Addiction affects a person emotionally, psychologically, and physically. It involves the workings of the brain, an organ that experts are just learning more about. And for all these reasons, addiction may very well continue to be misunderstood. Sadly, when the general public does not understand something, it tends to judge it or fear it. And as long as there is question about what addiction is, then the stigma of substance abuse and addiction might remain.

However, if you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, one thing is clear: treatment works. Millions of people have been able to get sober because of treatment. By attending an addiction treatment center or a sober living home, people can get sober and return to normal living. If you need help, contact a mental health professional today.


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The Cost of Addiction vs. the Cost of Addiction Treatment

When someone is preparing to get sober, he or she might search for an addiction treatment center that meets a certain budget. A search might reveal treatment choices that range from a few thousand dollars to over $100,000 per month. There’s no question that getting sober isn’t easy on the wallet. Yet, believe it or not, there is a greater cost to a lifestyle of addiction than there is to getting treatment.

Looking at addiction and substance abuse from a national perspective, there are far greater costs to drug and alcohol use than there is treatment. For instance, there are costs of automobile accidents, hospital expenses, medication-related expenses, incarcerating a person, and more police officers on duty in a certain neighborhood because of drug-related crime. Those costs are far greater for the country than treatment for those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.

For instance, in an National Institute on Drug Abuse article, it’s stated the cost of someone who is receiving methadone treatment for an opiate addiction is about $4,700 per year. However, if that person were still using and committed a drug-related crime, the cost of incarceration would be approximately $24,000 per year. The difference of $19,300 is a significant savings. It makes it worthwhile for health professionals as well as political figures to advocate treatment. It benefits everyone – the individual, family, and the community.

In addition to this savings, when someone enters treatment there are many other benefits that yield a certain savings in their own way. For instance, when a person has gone through treatment, there are the benefits of better interpersonal and family relationships, no drug-related accidents, and greater productivity at work. Just in the workplace alone, there are savings such as:

  • Decreased absences
  • Greater job security
  • Little to no fatalities or injuries
  • Greater team morale
  • Healthier work relationships
  • Little to no legal complications
  • Healthier judgment and decision-making

According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, illicit drug use cost the country $121 billion, 60% of which was due to lost workplace productivity. This number also reflected healthcare costs and legal fees that can arise when a person is using drugs while still employed. However, when a person enters treatment and remains sober, the savings for the employee and the employer are profound.

Furthermore, there are personal and national savings when a person enters addiction treatment. In fact, a comparison between the costs and benefits of treating an American citizen is clear – it is far better for a person to get treatment and do their best to stay sober. Doing so saves themselves, their families, their community, and their country a good deal of money. Of course, it’s rare that a person considers these costs when they are struggling with an addiction. However, if a recovering addict were to learn about these costs and benefits of staying in treatment, perhaps he or she would avoid a relapse.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, contact a mental health provider today for assistance.


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The Risks That Come with Substance Abuse in the Workplace

The Risks That Come with Substance Abuse in the Workplace | Transcend Recovery Community

It’s common for men and women to have a drink after work. The office staff might go to a local bar to unwind, especially after a long week. However, for those who slowly develop an addiction, the lines between working and playing may become blurred. The boundaries between when to drink and when not to drink might get fuzzy. For those who come to work drunk or high, the risks and costs can be significant. Drugs and alcohol can have a immense effect on how a workplace functions.

For instance, the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that almost 75% of illicit drug users were employed in the United States. The same study also found that 80% of binge drinkers were employed either full or part time. As you can imagine, anyone who comes to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol is going to experience a change in the way they perform. The following lists some of the negative effects that arise when one or more people in the workplace have a problem with drugs or alcohol:

  • Loss of productivity.
  • Increased rate of absences.
  • Possible termination of employment.
  • More fatalities or injuries.
  • Poor team morale.
  • Impaired work relationships.
  • Unwanted legal complications.
  • Impaired judgment and decision-making.

Each of these can affect the success of an organization. In the United States, those who abuse drugs and alcohol are 2.2 times more likely to request time off and 3.6 more likely to injure themselves or another person at work. Furthermore, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, illicit drug use cost the country $121 billion, 60% of which was due to lost workplace productivity. This number also reflected healthcare costs and legal fees that can arise with drug use while working.

Because of these significant costs on an organization, as well as the country at large, many companies are taking measures to ensure that drug use does not happen on their time. Organizations are taking some of the following steps to prevent drug use or drinking among their employees on company time:

  • Employee training.
  • Employee assistance counseling.
  • Drug testing.
  • Supervisor couching.
  • Policies against drinking or drug use while working.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction and you find yourself coming to work either high or drunk, you should know that many organizations have programs to assist their employees in getting sober. Organizations would rather help the employees they already have versus having to hire new people. New hire costs can be greater than the preventive and health costs of employees who experience an addiction.

If you’re struggling with an addiction and you work full or part-time, you might contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This is a 3rd party program that most larger organizations subscribe to. EAP offers free counseling and all sessions are 100% confidential, including from your employer. This may be a great beginning resource so that any drug or alcohol problem you may have does not interfere with your work performance.


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Life Changes That Result from Substance Use

Life Changes That Result from Substance Use | Transcend Recovery Community

Over time, regular substance use/abuse can have its affect on life. Although it might not seem that way at the start, the effects on one’s relationships are immense. It can be interesting because the only thing a person is doing is regularly drinking alcohol. And you might think from the start – how can that be so damaging?

However, the regular use of a substance creates changes in the brain. It creates the brain to produce more dopamine and more pleasure inducing chemicals that make the body crave those chemicals again and again. In fact, this craving can become so strong that the drug or alcohol becomes the sole focus of a person’s life. He or she might neglect other family and work responsibilities in order to drink or use drugs. What was once perhaps a casual experience of having a glass of wine after work can, with time, turn into a full blown alcohol addiction.

The road between that first glass of wine and a destructive addiction can produce all sorts of changes along the way. Substances change a person psychologically, emotionally, and physically. Some of these changes might be subtle and some might be obvious and noticeable by friends and family. The following are examples of the types of changes that can take place with regular substance use:

  • Spending time with new friends.
  • Avoiding spending time at home.
  • Avoiding answering their phone.
  • Making excuses.
  • Telling lies.
  • Denying their own behavior.
  • Stealing money.
  • Avoiding contact with others.
  • Exhibiting aggressive behavior.
  • Becoming more anti-social.
  • Feeling more and more exhausted.
  • Feeling more and more depressed.

The above may not apply to everyone. However, some of the above behaviors can be typical among those that begin to use drugs or drink regularly. Of course, chronic drug use and drinking can then bring on larger problems. When the above mentioned behaviors become more and more consistent, they can begin to affect one’s career, family, and friends. It’s easy to begin to lose track of responsibilities and not pay the rent for example. Or worse, get fired from a job and not be able to pay the rent.

Chronic drug use, especially when using more severe ones, can begin to create psychosis. Having a psychotic experience is having a break in reality. Someone might begin to experience hallucinations, delusions, lapses in attention, memory impairment, and incoherent speech.

Of course, once these larger behavioral and life changes begin to happen as a result of drinking or drug use, this might be a strong message that it’s time to get support. Often, someone reaches “rock bottom“, the bottom of their life, before waking up to the necessity for help.  If you or someone you know is drinking or using drugs on a regular basis, contact a physician or a mental health provider for assistance. Doing so could save a life.


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