Resources Are Available For ALL Addictions
Did you know that debilitating addictions can begin with access to common, everyday substances?
Take a look at alcohol, which is legal in the United States, and available everywhere from restaurants to grocery stores.
Sometimes having a few alcoholic drinks is fine. But when it takes more and more alcohol to get the same buzz, or you find yourself more interested in drinking than anything else that you used to enjoy, you may have fallen into the trap of substance abuse.
This can happen with both illegal and legal substances.
In fact, some of the most commonly abused and addictive substances are legal and COMMON, such as alcohol, tobacco, and over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
They’re not hard to get your hands on, but you CAN STILL BECOME ADDICTED.
Resources Are Available For ALL Substance Addictions
With the opioid crisis being addressed in the legislature, and scary news stories circulating about which town is the “heroin capital” of your state, it may seem like all the resources are focused on only on addictions to illegal drugs or hard-to-obtain substances, like prescription drugs.
This is simply not the case.
Roughly 41 PERCENT of rehabilitation center admissions are for alcohol dependency. Almost half.
Furthermore, misuse of over-the-counter drugs is rising in some segments of the population, especially in adolescents. Recently in California, 26% of 9th graders reported using OTC drugs to get high, exceeding the previously most common substance, marijuana.
The same study illustrated that 32% of youth drug recovery admissions were related to abuse of OTC medications.
There are programs for all sorts of dependencies, as we at Recover at Home know well.
Below is some more information about the effects of these common substances.
Effects Of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is highly prevalent in the United States.
College towns usually have a street or an entire neighborhood that is famous just for its number of bars. Drinking is portrayed on television in every genre of show from comedies like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which partially takes place inside a bar, to dramas like Gilmore Girls, in which characters are encouraged to drink liberally to ease the tension of family gatherings. It’s even a tradition to go out and celebrate the age at which an American can legally drink by, you guessed it, drinking as much as possible.
In the short term, alcohol can make those drinking it feel more relaxed, or “buzzed” as many describe it. However, extensive use over long periods of time can heavily impact physical and mental health.
Some long term effects of alcohol are:
Blackouts and other effects on the memory
Fatigue, brought on by anemia, which can also be caused by excessive alcohol consumption
Liver damage, making your body less able to rid itself of toxins
In extreme cases, cirrhosis can occur, which leads to lack of blood flow through the liver
Stomach distress, such as painful gas, bloating, and ulcers
Strained relationships with family and friends, due to time spent drinking, risks incurred while drinking, and many other factors
Dependency, known as alcoholism
Effects Of Smoking Tobacco
Tobacco use in America is declining somewhat, but at least 38 million Americans still smoke.
Like alcohol, tobacco is legal in the United States, and often encouraged in social settings, such gathering around “the smoke pit,” to swap stories. However, it is still one of the leading causes of preventable diseases in the nation.
Diseases associated with tobacco use include:
Cancers, including, lung, mouth, and throat cancers, sometimes resulting in death
Lung diseases like COPD and emphysema, which impair the smoker’s ability to breathe
Cardiovascular conditions such as blood clots or high blood pressure
Pregnancy complications, including low birthweight, distress on the fetus, and even stillbirth
Effects Of Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medication Abuse
Over-the-counter medications are drugs that can be purchased without a prescription. When their manufacturer-provided directions are followed, they are considered safe, and highly useful for health issues ranging from the common cold to allergies to joint pain.
When directions are ignored, however, these usually beneficial drugs become harmful instead.
Commonly abused OTC medications include, but are not limited to, caffeine pills, pain medication, cold and flu medications, decongestants, and laxatives.
OTC medication abuse occurs mainly in two different ways: either directed dosages are ignored in an attempt to get the desired result faster/better, or the drug is taken for a reason other than its intended purpose (sometimes called diversion).
For the former, someone may think the ibuprofen they took for their twisted ankle isn’t working fast enough, so they’ll take a double dose. For the latter, people sometimes drink cough medicine to get “buzzed,” or take laxatives because they believe it will help them lose weight.
The effects of misusing OTC medications varies depending on the drug being abused. But the most dangerous risk associated with OTC drug abuse is overdose, which is potentially fatal.
What do I do if I think I have a substance abuse problem?
Substance abuse comes from using a substance in a way that was not intended, and is often marked by the early stages of dependency on the substance.
Symptoms of substance abuse are:
Lack of interest in previous hobbies and activities
Neglecting to care for yourself
Spending more time alone than before
Eating more or less than normal
Sleeping at odd hours
Having problems at work or with family
Rapid mood shifts
There are many treatment options for addiction and substance abuse, including addiction to common, legal substances like the ones listed above.
Here at Recover At Home, we recommend contacting us to get a consultation. You may require in-patient detox and medical care, at which point we can make some recommendations for you, or you could be a good fit for online telehealth right from the comfort of your own home.
Most people qualify for Recover At Home and the cost is far below that of the average in-patient program. The peer resource specialist will connect you or explain exactly how the program works, along with costs and financing options.
Learn more and see if you qualify for an at-home program or special financing here: https://www.recoverathome.org/process/