Struggling With Different Vices

Prescription Drug Addiction

A recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2009 revealed that prescription drug abuse is increasing. Drug abuse is defined as those who take prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription. Some experts have stated that prescription drug addiction is one of the fastest growing drug problems in the U.S. today.

Many people are able to get these drugs through means other than a drug dealer. Some people will visit several doctor’s offices and lie about their condition to get physicians to prescribe these drugs. Others may steal prescription medications from family members or friends. Amazingly, the Internet is the home to many illegal pharmacies who ship prescription medications to anyone around the world, many times without a valid prescription.

One of the biggest myths about prescription drug addiction is that they are actually safer than some of the illegal drugs available on the street such as cocaine or heroin. The fact is that these prescription drugs are highly toxic when not taken under the direction of a physician. Another commonly held myth about prescription drug addiction is they are not as powerful as some of the illegal street drugs. Actually, many types of prescription medications have higher concentrations of powerful chemicals than some illegal street drugs.

Probably the biggest myth concerning prescription drugs is that some people believe they are not addictive. Powerful prescription drugs like OxyContin or Vicodin are extremely addictive. Recovering addicts have reported that quitting Vicodin or OxyContin was as difficult as quitting heroin. Other common prescription drug addictions include Xanax, Valium, Adderall and other amphetamines.

Treatment options for those addicted to prescription medications are clear. Drug rehabilitation (rehab) is typically comprised of a number of combined treatments including detox, counseling and some type of aftercare program. Most drug rehab centers are very well-equipped to take care of patients and help them with the physical addiction as well as the psychological addiction to prescription drugs. Drug detox is designed to focus on the physical aspects of prescription drug addiction while counseling works on the psychological aspects or addiction. Aftercare programs provide assistance for recovering addicts to handle life in the outside world without the need for prescription drugs.

Signs of prescription drug addiction include depression, anxiety, severe mood swings, sleeplessness and secretive behavior. One of the more obvious signs of addiction is stealing prescription drugs or money to support an addiction. If you see signs like these in your friends or family members, contact an interventionist or local drug rehab center immediately.


Addiction to Pornography

Just a few years ago, a person would have to go out and buy a magazine or rent a video if they wanted to see what is defined as pornography. Most folks were limited to their exposure based on the amount of space they had for storing these magazines or videos. That is not the case today with an estimated 420 million adult web pages online. Today, the amount of pornography viewed is limited only by the storage space available on computer hard drives. Combined with the almost universal acceptance of pornography as a legitimate entertainment medium, it is very easy for people to become addicted to pornography.

Psychologists say that some porn addiction could actually be classified as a compulsion rather than an addiction. Some experts say that a compulsion may produce porn addiction – like behavior, but not actually be a true addiction. Other experts disagree and claim that porn addicts exhibit the classic signs of addiction including developing a tolerance for the addictive substance. Similar to drug addicts that need higher doses of drugs to get the same high, those addicted to porn typically need to see more extreme material to feel the same excitement experienced when they first started viewing pornography.

Still others claim that pornography is harmless and can actually be part of a healthy relationship. When used as a way to act out fantasies or fill a need that is not fulfilled by a partner, these people claim pornography can fill in those gaps and keep a relationship from breaking up. Other experts disagree and claim that one partner viewing images and fantasizing about sex with other partners destroys the very fabric of intimacy within a relationship.

Due to the widespread use and acceptance of pornography by many in today’s society, some do not believe that addiction to pornography is a legitimate addiction. Some psychologists would define it as more of a compulsion than an actual addiction. The facts show that pornography causes some people to do the very same things that drug addicts do to get their illicit drugs. Pornography, like drugs, may break up relationships, destroy families and may cause some to lose their job, home or their money. Some porn addicts will do just about anything to get their “fix.” In an online WebMD article by Martin F. Downs, Dr. Mary Anne Layden states, “the therapists who treat pornography addicts say they behave just like any other addicts.”


Crystal Meth Addiction

Of all the various types of addictions, crystal meth may be one of the hardest to kick. The latest numbers show that there are currently about 1.5 million crystal meth addicts in the U.S. today. Some believe this current situation should be classified as an epidemic that is growing in number day by day. Typically referred to as “ice” or “crank,” crystal meth is easily made, readily available and cheap. Until recently, the ingredients needed to mix up a batch of crystal meth could be easily obtained over the counter (OTC) at any local drug store or pharmacy. Recent legislation has limited the purchase of these ingredients which are typically found in OTC cold and allergy medications, but this has had little effect on the growing crystal meth epidemic.

One of the biggest problems with crystal meth is the ease with which users can get hooked and become addicted to the drug. Crystal meth has a direct affect on the dopamine levels in the human brain. The level of dopamine rises faster and may even cause levels to spike and rise sharply causing a strong tendency toward addiction. Just one puff from a meth pipe can cause a user to remain high for as long as 24 hours. This long-lasting high, extreme rush and high boost of energy are some of the reasons people become addicted to crystal meth even though the physical and psychological toll may be costly.

Perhaps one of the most common and disturbing signs of crystal meth addiction are the dried out skin, sullen facial expression and collapsed jaw present on most users. Some crystal meth addicts develop symptoms like “meth lice” which is caused by the drugs extreme drying effects on a users skin. These imaginary lice cause the meth user to continually scratch their face frantically and pick at their skin causing wounds and scars on the face. Crystal meth also dries out the gums and causes the teeth to rot prematurely and make the jaw appear as if it has collapsed.

Crystal meth takes a high psychological and emotional toll on users as well. Some users have reported long-lasting episodes of extreme paranoid schizophrenia and violent behavior leading to extreme suicidal tendencies. Some of the other emotional indications of crystal meth addiction include neglect of personal hygiene, irresponsible activity, child or spouse abuse and criminal activity to help pay for more drugs. If you see signs like these in your friends or family members, contact a local drug rehab facility or substance abuse interventionist as soon as possible.


Different Types of Addictions

Often, when the word “addiction” is heard, drugs quickly come to mind. However, addiction can take many forms and strictly defined, addiction refers to the habitual use of a substance with little or no regard for its harmful effects on the user’s physical, financial, social and mental well-being. Numerous individuals suffer from various addictions, some of which include the following:

Cigarettes

Nicotine is perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when one is considering the wide variety of addictions that exist in today’s modern world. However, numerous smokers will attest to the fact that stopping the use of nicotine is an extraordinarily difficult endeavor.

Opioid Analgesics

Another type of addition that is more common than many individuals may think is addiction to prescription opioid analgesics, which are narcotic based pain killers. Although such drugs are legitimate, and necessary for those who are suffering from painful diseases or injuries, opioid analgesics are associated with a high risk for abuse. They are commonly sold on the streets to those who cannot convince a doctor that they have a true need for the medication.

Cocaine

Cocaine is the most abused drug in America and many other parts of the world. Once used to treat tooth pain, it is now widely known that the substance is highly habit forming, and that many individuals have died from the recreational use of cocaine. Some people use the drug one time and die of heart failure, while others are able to live many years with their addiction; however, no long-term cocaine user can escape the drug’s harmful effects.

Gambling

The majority of individuals participate in gaming for fun and excitement, but most do not indulge in such activity constantly. However, when the sport becomes a perpetual habit over which the person has no control, it has become an addiction rather than a recreational activity.

Food

All human beings must eat in order to stay alive, but when one is compelled to eat an excessive amount of food on a regular basis in the absence of true hunger, an addiction to food is often present. However, it is important to rule out physical conditions that could cause a sharp increase in one’s appetite, such as diabetes or a thyroid disorder.

The aforementioned items are the most common things to which one can become addicted; however, there is a vast array of other substances and drugs that are highly addicting. Fortunately, programs exist for almost every type of dependency problem, and anyone who feels that he or she has developed an addiction to a particular substance or activity should seek professional help immediately.