Friends & Family Can Contribute to Drug Addiction

There is truth to the expression, “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.” That’s because ripe apples produce ethylene, a ripening agent. When you store apples together, the ethylene prods other apples to ripen further and eventually rot.

It takes a single apple to start a domino chain that ruins the rest of the bunch. And guess what? The same holds true for drug users. You’re very likely to abuse drugs when you hang out with people who abuse drugs. Not because of weak morals, but because of several mechanisms that we’ll cover in this article.

Understanding addiction

The initial decision to use drugs or alcohol is voluntary for most people. However, repeated use changes the brain in ways that make it hard to quit, even for those who want to. Those recovering from a long term substance abuse disorder have a higher risk of drug use, even after years of leading a sober life. This is especially true if they’re dealing with mental health problems or are hanging around places or people connected to the addictive behavior.

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Friends or family members, who participated in the addictive behavior, are potential triggers for relapse, irrespective of whether or not they’re still using drugs. That’s because they bring back the memories of addiction. In some cases, they may ask you to go out or even tell you stories and share images of their happy moments in your absence. All these can lead you back to addiction.

But relapse is not the only way friends can contribute to drug addiction. This article will discuss different ways friends can worsen your drug use problems. But before we do, let’s look at the relationship between peer pressure and drug use.

Social learning theory

Social scientists who study peer pressure see it through the lens of social learning theory. According to this theory, when people observe other people’s behaviors and reactions using addictive substances, they may wish to replicate what they saw. For example, an agitated friend walks into the room.

They then sniff cocaine or smoke meth. After a few minutes, they’re relaxed and fun to be around. The person observing all this will know that the drug is a good way of coping with stress – because it’s what they’ve seen. So, any time they feel stressed or agitated, they may use the drugs to calm down.

Social learning is the most common way that people learn. When you observe your friends abusing drugs, you become more likely to try out drugs too. That’s because you have learned through observation that drugs achieved a positive result. You could also use drugs out of a need to be part of the group.

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Human beings have a strong need for social interaction. So, it becomes critical to consider the compelling social nature of many addictions. Most addictions need at least the cooperation of other people. And as the addiction progresses, the chances of a person interacting with healthy, non-using individuals become slimmer.

That’s because family and friends eventually disengage. At the same time, addiction takes up most of the addict’s time. In the end, the addict’s entire social circle is dominated by role models associated with the addiction.

How friends and family can contribute to drug addiction

Negative peer pressure

Negative peer pressure can be divided into two parts:

Direct negative often involves peers or friends directly asking you to try something, like abuse illegal drugs. It may be difficult to say no, especially if you are young and are concerned about how they’ll think of you. In some cases, they may hint that you’d be “uncool” if you didn’t take part or even provide reasoning that’s hard to argue against. The fear of losing friends or facing mockery can make you yield. Direct negative peer influence includes your friends or peers:

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Indirect negative is a subtle type of peer pressure and isn’t as apparent as direct negative. It happens when you try out drugs or alcohol just to fit in. Your friends don’t encourage you to participate in risky behaviors, but you feel pressure to do so to continue being part of that social group. Indirect negative peer pressure includes things like:

An NIH study assesses the group influences on an individual’s drinking and other drug use at clubs. A total of 368 social groups representing 986 people were anonymously surveyed. The study found that social groups had a definite impact on the individual outcome.

Group members seemed to know about other members’ drug use or drinking patterns, which were related to their drinking and other drug use. This suggests that normative patterns are established for the group, and social modeling happens within the group.

Signs your friends are making your drug use problem worse

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Positive peer pressure

Not all peer pressure is bad. Friends can influence you into making the right choices. Positive peer pressure is when friends bring a good change in your life – and this can be a useful tool in addiction treatment. In fact, many treatment facilities use this strategy to influence patients’ behavior. The same way a person in a drug-using circle uses drugs to fit in is the same way a person in a sober circle will want to stop using to fit in.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with substance abuse as a result of hanging out with wrong company, we can help. Contact us today to get started. 

People Use More Drugs in the Summer

You guessed it right – people use more drugs during summer than any other time of the year. But have you ever wondered why that’s the case? Well, according to a post published on the National Drug Institute on Drug Abuse, summer offers more idle time along with social activities like outdoor dance parties and music festivals that increase exposure to drugs. In fact, the post also reveals that most drug problems begin in the summertime.

In 2017 alone, close to 790,000 people tried ecstasy (MDMA/Molly), 800,000 tried LSD, and 3 million tried marijuana for the first time. NIDA funded a study to determine whether this first-time use was related to seasonal changes. Researchers looked at data from the 2011 - 2017 NSDUH, observing about 400,000 people and their first-time use of these illegal drugs.

Participants were asked whether they have used any of the drugs and what month and year they initiated use in the study. Most of them said they tried the drugs during summer than any other time of year. Findings showed that initiation was more likely to happen during summer, accounting for 34% of LSD use, 30% of marijuana and ecstasy use, and 28% of cocaine use. More people started using marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and ecstasy during the summer months.

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Why does drug use increase in summer?

Most people look forward to summer - warm weather, trips to the beach, endless parties, and lots of free time. Teens, in particular, fondly anticipate the summer months because they have no school and are free of responsibilities. Here’s why most of them try out drugs during summer.

More free time

Many young adults find themselves with lots of free time during summer. They have no classwork or projects going on. And even when they’re working, they still have a chance to enjoy summer Fridays and long holiday weekends. With lots of free time in their hands, they are more likely to jump into any activity that will keep them busy – including going to parties (which are all the rage during summer).

Less adult supervision

But with the fun and freedom comes a risk of drug use and addiction. Teens are susceptible to a range of influences, including pop culture, social media, and peers. And with lots of free time during summer and less adult supervision, it’s easy to see why a blend of these factors can influence experimental behavior.

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Social gatherings and parties

House parties, beach parties, music festivals, birthday parties, and so many events are happening, and teens are spoilt for choice. And guess what keeps the party lit? Drugs and alcohol. As we’ve mentioned earlier, teens are vulnerable to lots of things. So they may do things to try to feel good or fit in.

However, these are not always the only reasons teens try out drugs during summer. Some of them have mental health problems that they’re unwilling to address or resolve in some other way. Mental illness and drug use tend to go hand in hand.

Besides, the teen might assume that some drugs are acceptable or even somewhat safe because many other people in the same situations as them are using.

Dangers of using different drugs in summer

Abusing drugs – both prescription and illicit drugs – comes with a range of risks. But using drugs over summer poses even more danger because of the heat. As the temperatures rise during hot, humid summer months, health experts warn of an increased risk for developing heat stroke.

High doses of drugs can cause the body to lose its temperature-regulating abilities, preventing it from cooling down through sweating. This may lead to critical health issues like dehydration and drug-induced fever.

When excessive heat combines with drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and meth, the results can be deadly. Drugs and alcohol can mask signs of overheating. People who use drugs or alcohol during summer may not notice the temperatures rising beyond the normal levels.

As a result, the body and brain overheat from drugs, putting them at high risk for stroke and death. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, an average of 702 heat death-related deaths occurred in the US annually between 2004 and 2018. Here are drugs that are especially dangerous in summer.

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Cocaine

Cocaine disrupts the body’s natural ability to regulate temperature and simultaneously makes one agitated. So, even as the body temperature rises to dangerous levels, one is driven to constantly move about – pushing the body temperatures to extremes. This can result in fatal overheating, which explains why cocaine deaths spike during the summer months.

Ecstasy

People have assumed that ecstasy is a safe drug for a long time, but this isn’t true. Ecstasy causes lots of extensive and alarming symptoms that can worsen with heat. MDMA is particularly dangerous because it disrupts the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This puts users at risk for heat injury, dehydration, and fatal heatstroke.

Alcohol

Alcohol causes dehydration, and that’s what makes it dangerous during summer. It suppresses the production of water reabsorption hormone, causing more fluid to be lost through urination. Besides, alcohol use can cause vomiting that further reduces body fluids. Consequently, this may lead to sleepiness, sticky mouth, headache, decreased urination, and dizziness that can cause the body not to regulate heat.

Amphetamines

Amphetamines like meth delay sensations of exhaustion and heat, and that’s what makes them dangerous in summer. Users don’t just know when to stop, so they’ll keep overworking themselves until they overheat.

Prevention and treatment

Dr. Joseph Palamar, an associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine, told CNN that prevention efforts should target young adults about to finish the school year and inform them about the dangers of using drugs during hot months. According to the doctor, trying drugs for the first time puts one at a unique risk of overdose and death because they might not have prepared for the use or are unfamiliar with the drug.

It’s also important to encourage people to stop using drugs to celebrate because of the associated problems. Instead, they can try sober activities like hiking, learning a new hobby, swimming, doing service, etc. All these can still be fulfilling and come with zero risks for heat stroke and death.

TV Shows About Drug Addiction (And What They Show Us)

Society views addiction as a choice or weakness. So, when someone gets caught up in an addiction, they tend to see themselves as falling short of the standard. They feel guilty of their perceived shortcomings and end up with a negative mindset. The public stigma around the “failings” of those with addiction doesn’t encourage anyone to seek addiction treatment. It also makes it hard for those struggling with addiction to speak about their habits and get immediate help. Luckily, some TV shows about drug addiction are helping to fight the negative stigma.

And since addiction is a chronic disease, it can be challenging for individuals to pull themselves out of it without help. Some try but slip back as soon as the withdrawal symptoms set in. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a person’s ability to not indulge in addictive behavior becomes compromised. Unless they get quick access to medically reviewed treatment, addictions, whether to substance use disorder or behavior, can lead to death.

All these may seem like “usual” words until you experience the struggles of addicts and the damage that addiction does. With that in mind, here are some TV shows about drug addiction to give you a glimpse into how it works and its effects.

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Intervention on A&E

Intervention is an American series that profiles one or two people who struggle with addiction. The addicts in this Emmy-winning series believe they’re being filmed for a documentary until their family and friends stage a dramatic intervention. Launched in 2005 on A&E, Intervention is among the first series that highlights the lifestyle of those who suffer from substance or behavioral addictions. It also captures what these addictions can do to families and teaches the various reasons behind the addiction.

Tackling everything from the opioid crisis to alcoholism to eating disorders, Intervention follows addicts whose loved ones have submitted a request for help in getting them into treatment. The series has some disturbing images that depict the realism of addiction that may make you afraid, but that’s the point. Intervention partners with different addiction treatment centers in the US and provides resources for each individual profiled in the show.

As its name suggests, the series sheds light on addiction and its ugly effects on addicts and their loved ones and takes action to improve the situation. According to Screenrant, 70-75% of addicts who appeared on the show are still sober.

Mom on CBS

Set in Napa, California, Mom follows a dysfunctional mother-daughter duo. The two - Bonnie and Christy Plunkett - had been estranged for years due to addiction. Christy, a single mother of two, Violet and Roscoe, encounters a series of challenges.

Her young daughter, Violet, gets pregnant and decides to put her baby up for adoption. She later gets engaged to an older guy and moves out. Roscoe opts to stay with his dad, even though he’s a drug dealer and deadbeat. Despite all that, Christy strives to maintain her newfound sobriety. She moves to Napa, and works as a waitress, and also attends Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.

But her wayward mother, Bonnie, reenters the picture and criticizes her life. Bonnie is also a recovering alcohol and drug addict attending AA meetings. The CBS series has been applauded for addressing themes of real-life issues like substance abuse disorders, gambling, teen pregnancy, cancer, domestic violence, homelessness, rape, palsy, overdose, stroke, ADHD, etc. It has been praised for striking a perfect balance between the humorous and dark aspects of these issues.

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This Is Us on NBC

This Is Us is an emotional and heartwarming story about a unique set of triplets, struggles, and caring parents. While not the central theme, this NBC series shines a light on different types of addiction, including addiction to food, alcohol, and pain pills. Kevin, the first-born Pearson, got hooked on alcohol and painkillers. He struggles with depression and finds it hard to understand that Jack, his dad, had an addiction. Rebecca, his mother, never mentioned it because of shame and fear of stigma.

Sophie, Kevin’s sister, is a nurse but can’t connect his erratic behavior to addiction. That’s to be expected since loved ones usually have no reason to suspect substance abuse disorder. Earlier on, Jack confesses to Rebecca that he didn’t quit drinking when he said he had. But after another attempt to quit, he was successful.

He attends AA meetings and leads a clean life. Kate, Kevin’s sister, also can’t get over binge eating. She attends an eating support group where she meets Madison, who struggles with not eating enough. 

This Is Us shows us that genetics is one of the risk factors for addiction and that sometimes, loved ones won’t realize there’s a problem. It also uncovers the aspect of shame about addiction and that skinny people struggle with eating problems too. Lastly, it shows us that relapse can be a part of recovery.

Addicted on TLC

Addicted is another one of the American reality TV shows about drug addiction that follows the lives of addicts through intervention, detox, and rehab and behavioral therapies. Kristina Wandzilak, a recovered alcoholic, prostitute, and drug user turned family interventionist, guides the addicts and their loved ones through the process as a sponsor and advocate. It’s incredibly raw and shows those struggling with addiction getting drunk and high in close-up detail. Due to its graphic nature, warnings pop up at every commercial break to prepare you for what is coming.

In the show, you see people consuming large amounts of alcohol, injecting drugs into arms, and getting high. You also see the tricks they use to acquire substances. Kristina intervenes and gets them to rehab; some refuse, some get themselves kicked out of rehab, and some successfully go through it. The show also depicts the pain that addiction inflicts on family. You’ll see the anger, anxiety, and other emotions that families experience dealing with a loved one who struggles with addiction.

Celerity Rehab on VH1

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Celerity Rehab revolves around a group of famous individuals as they undergo substance abuse treatment with Dr. Drew Pinsky and his team at the Pasadena Recovery Center in California. The reality TV show premiered in 2008 on the cable network VH1 and was later renamed Rehab with Dr. Drew, which focused on non-celebrities.

It shines a spotlight on celebrity and their substance abuse or behavioral addiction problems and their journey through rehab. Pinsky, a board-certified physician and addiction expert, adds an air of credibility and makes the show more educational.

If you’d like to see more on celebrity addiction, you can stream Too Young to Die on Pluto TV or Prime Video. It bases its stories on celebrities whose lives were cut short due to addiction and overdose. The episodes of Too Young to Die cover American stars like John Belushi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kurt Cobain, who died from drug abuse. The documentary series shows how serious the drug addiction problem is and how it can be too late to help someone.

Reference to a diagnostic and statistical manual can produce more insight into this problem. As well, various treatment approaches exist to help those struggling with short- and long-term addiction. So, if someone close to you is struggling with any form of addiction, it can be a good idea to help them get treatment immediately.

Call us, 24/7:

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Alcoholism is Getting Bad Thanks to the Pandemic

Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, creating feelings of relaxation. It also lowers inhibitions, memory, and judgment. Because of these qualities, many people turn to alcohol to distance themselves from the challenges or stressors they’re facing due to COVID-19. The pandemic is associated with negative economic and health impacts, loss, grief, isolation, prolonged uncertainty and stress.

Recent studies show that people are binge drinking to cope with the negative impacts COVID-19 pandemic. One study found that American adults have sharply increased their alcohol consumption, drinking on more days per week.

The study released by RAND Corporation compared the drinking habits of adults between spring 2019 and spring 2020. Reviewing over 1500 adults across America, participants were asked about their change in alcohol use between 2019 and 2020 during the first peak of the virus.

The study found a 14% increase in alcohol use among adults, compared to the same time last year. This was a 19% increase among all adults ages 30-59. Women, in particular, showed a 41% increase in alcohol use.

Experts warn that the pandemic’s stress could be could be prodding some people to drink alcohol. In the previous years, surges in alcohol use were noted following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 2003 SARS, and September 11th terrorist attacks. Such traumatic events and their resulting stressors tend to lead to increased post-disaster alcohol use and abuse.

Why are people drinking during the pandemic?

People are consuming alcohol as a way to manage emotional stress. The pandemic has created collective grief and loss of security and safety with incredible uncertainty. Before the pandemic, alcohol use was already a significant public health concern. The pandemic seems to be fueling this even further with its vast effects, like:

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, people would go out and blow off some steam. They’d go to the gym for a workout or the movies to calm down. But with the lockdown and less social contact rules, that’s not an option anymore. People can’t hang out with their friends and loved ones as they used to. They can no longer engage in activities that help them reduce stress and enhance well-being. But they can access alcohol because liquor stores were deemed essential businesses and stayed open.

When you combine anxiety and stress with the ability to order alcohol through an app and have it delivered to your doorstep within an hour, you get a perfect pathway towards excessive drinking and abuse.

The effects of alcohol on the body

These studies show that many people could be turning to alcohol to cope with pressures created by COVID-19. Drinking alcohol to cope with life situations like boredom or stress can become a habit that leads to substance abuse disorder. When a person self-medicates with alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues, they can develop co-occurring substance use disorder.

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Alcohol is a depressant and sedative that affects the central nervous system. At first, drinking alcohol can reduce fears and take the mind of troubles. It can help an individual feel less anxious, boost mood and make them generally relaxed.

In fact, the effects of alcohol can be the same as those of anti-anxiety medications. That’s because alcohol slows activity in the amygdala, a brain part that prepares the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress.

Repeated use decreases the amygdala’s dampening effect. It also causes tolerance and dependence. So a person has to drink more alcohol to achieve a similar level of high. At this point, they can’t stop drinking because of withdrawal symptoms, like tremors, nausea, anxiety, headache, confusion, and insomnia.

Mild alcohol withdrawal can be treated at home. But severe cases need supervised care in a hospital setting to avoid potentially dangerous complications like seizures.

Who is more vulnerable to increased alcohol use during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The measures to curb the spread of coronavirus have been hard on everyone. So, everyone is susceptible and may end up with problems with alcohol. However, studies show that some groups are more vulnerable than others.

Younger people

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol use has led to at least four deaths on college campuses since spring 2021. Young adults face unprecedented stressors: loss of income, the uncertainty of the future, and social isolation, resulting in conditions like loneliness, depression, and anxiety which can increase the risk of heavy drinking.

Women

The psychological stress associated with the pandemic was also linked to greater drinking for women. A study by RAND Corporation and supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism shows that heavy drinking among women has soared. In the survey, 1 in 5 women had heavily consumed alcohol at least one additional day per month compared with the previous year.

Physicians

A survey of 12,000 physicians found that over 40% of physicians experienced burnout, which was amplified mainly by COVID-19. Of these physicians, more than a quarter were drinking to cope with the burnout and resulting stress.

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More studies point to the increase in alcohol use thanks to the pandemic

BlueCross BlueShield survey dubbed “Behavioral health by the numbers: a closer look at the impact of COVID-19” reveals a 23% increase in alcohol consumption since the outbreak began.

Another survey on 1,000 American adults 18 years and older by The Recovery Village found that 55% of the participant had an increase in past-month alcohol consumption, with 18% reporting a significant increase.

How to cope with the negative impacts of COVID-19 without alcohol

Healthy coping involves taking part in activities that directly reduce stress or improve wellbeing. This includes exercising, getting enough sleep, following creative pursuits, eating nutritious food, and staying hydrated. It is also a good idea for people to reach out for help and get support to make healthier life choices.

Those recovering from alcohol can take part in online Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. Such support groups can serve as a pillar to help avoid relapse.

How To Spot A Possible Heroin User

Heroin is an extremely dangerous and addictive illicit drug. It can come in many forms and goes by many different names but it often comes in a fine white, brown, or black powder. Another popular form of heroin is black tar heroin, and as the name implies, it looks like black tar and is sticky and gooey. Heroin is an opioid that was originally derived from the seeds of the poppy plant. It has been used by millions across the globe for some time now but it has recently grown in popularity in America, particularly in the last decade. According to data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 170,000 began using heroin for the first time in 2016, a number that had doubled since 2006. Even worse, data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018 shows that 128 people die in the United States every day from an overdose on opioids.

A possible heroin user will likely have an addiction that is difficult to treat

An addiction to heroin can be particularly difficult to overcome, especially considering it often leads to death via unwanted overdoses. A lot of times heroin on the street is cut with harmful chemicals, including substances like fentanyl. Unfortunately, fentanyl has become a favorite among dealers as it is particularly powerful, around 100 times stronger than morphine, and it’s also cheap. This is part of the reason as to why there are so many overdoses associated with heroin and the use of other opioids. That is why it is extremely important to get help for your loved one if you believe they might be suffering from a heroin addiction or other type of substance use disorder. If you are unsure whether or not they are a possible heroin user, then here are some tell-tale signs that they are using heroin.

How to spot a possible heroin user:

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Of course, these are just a few of the signs that someone you know may be a potential heroin user. They may also display things like slurred speech, memory problems and a reduced sense of pain. Their pupils may appear constricted and they may also have a constant runny nose or nose sores if they are prone to snorting the substance. If you are still unsure, then please reach out to us for help! We have many trained professionals with years of experience on treating, managing, and helping people cope with heroin use and other addictions. We have the tools necessary to help begin a successful road to a lifetime of healthy sobriety. We hope that your loved one gets the help that they need and we hope to hear from you soon!

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Common Ways Addicts Store or Hide Their Drugs

Anyone who has ever known or loved an addict knows just how far they would go to continue getting high and they would also never question their ingenuity when it comes to trying to conceal or hide their drugs from others. If there is one thing in common between all people who suffer from the disease of addiction, it would certainly have to be the fact that they all lie, at least in one way or another. Many will tell you until they are blue in the face that they haven’t been using drugs or alcohol, even though they are under the influence at the same time they are telling you that.

For any parent of an addict, it can be extremely difficult to trust or believe your child when they tell you that they are no longer getting high, especially if they haven't changed any of their behaviors or actions. Perhaps you have found drugs and paraphernalia in your child’s bedroom before and insisted that they throw it out, never to be brought back in the house again.

Even though they may have the best of intentions, sometimes quitting drugs and alcohol just isn’t that easy. If you are the parent of a teen, or young adult, and have concerns that they are still abusing drugs or alcohol, then keep reading.

Here are some of the most common ways that addicts hide their drugs.

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Writing Utensils

A popular way that teens hide drugs is inside of writing utensils. While that highlighter sitting on their desk or hiding in their pencil pouch may seem harmless enough, it may be used to store pills, marijuana, or even powdered substances. Simply pop off the back and the highlighter instantaneously turns into a pipe for marijuana. There are many videos on the internet teaching teens or young adults how to do just that.

Prop Soda Bottles, Cans, or Candy Containers

A quick search on the internet will turn up tons of fake items used to conceal or hide drugs. Things like unopened soda bottles, soda cans, or candy boxes can actually be stash spots for drugs. If you see the same soda bottle all the time or the same candy wrapper, try opening it up to see what's really inside. If it is a fake item, it will usually have a place to twist open, revealing a hidden compartment.

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Belt Buckles

Who knew that belt buckles were not just for fashion anymore? Well, apparently, they are often used as a way to conceal drugs. Somehow, people have found a way to change these buckles into a secret compartment to hide their drugs. If you suspect that your child is using their belt buckle to conceal drugs, try flipping it over to see if the back slides off.

Hygiene and Makeup Supplies

That makeup bag on the floor in the bedroom, or on the counter in the bathroom, may be serving a more illicit purpose than you might originally think. A lot of make-up supplies come in a tube that can be hollowed out for drug storage. Things like lipstick, lip balm, deodorant, mascara, or hair products can be great hiding spots for people trying to conceal their drugs.

Posters, Wall Hangings, Picture Frames

Don’t let that seemingly innocent boy band poster fool you, teens or young adults have been known to flatten their drugs and hang them behind posters or other wall hangings. Picture frames also make a great spot to hide their drugs, as they can open up the back and stash them inside. Look for tape that is constantly peeling or a corner that looks like it's been folded back and forth if you suspect your child of hiding drugs.

 

Socks and Shoes

Socks and shoes are also extremely common, but not in the way you might think. While some have been known to stash drugs just inside the sock or the shoe, many also have hidden pockets that can be used to conceal drugs as well. Try looking inside the shoe to determine if there are any other areas that might be used to hide drugs. Socks can also have hidden pockets, so be sure to check those too.

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Vehicles

While not necessarily in the home, vehicles are another common way that people hide their drugs. You may be prone to searching their room, but how often are you checking their car? If you suspect your child of using drugs, it may be wise to thoroughly inspect their vehicle. Check places like behind the dashboard, under the seats, or even under the hood.

Vents and Toilets

Air vents are easy to remove and put back on, making it an ideal spot to put something that isn't meant to be discovered. Another popular place to hide drugs is underneath the toilet tank lid. Both are easy, quick, and inconspicuous options when it comes to concealing drugs. Many would not think to check in the air vent or under the toilet tank lid, which is why these are popular options. A quick look in both of these places may ease your mind if you suspect your child of hiding drugs.

Inhalers

When an item is necessary for one’s health, it tends to fall under even less suspicion. But, nevertheless, inhalers have become a popular place to hide drugs. Once the inhaler has been taken apart, it becomes a clever place to stash drugs. This is a great place to check if you are concerned about your child, especially if the inhaler doesn't belong to them.

Game Consoles or Electronics

For those who are even slightly inclined, storing drugs in game consoles or electronic devices can prove to be very easy. Loosen up a few screws here and a few screws there, then voila, a perfect hiding place for drugs. Look for signs that the electronic has been tampered with or taken apart and put back together.

These are just a few of the most common places that people may use to hide their drugs when they don’t want them to be found. If you suspect your loved one may have developed problem with drugs or alcohol, we are here to help! Our trained addiction specialists at More Than Rehab can help answer any questions you might have. We know how to treat and manage substance abuse disorders, and would love the chance to offer help for your family.

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The Military and Drug Use

America is known for having a strong military, whose members are strongly supported by other American citizens, because we recognize that their duty and sacrifice are what allows each of us to enjoy the freedom we all share. Unfortunately, the United States has participated in many conflicts across the globe, most recently in Iraq, in 2003 as a response the 2001 terrorist attacks that took place on American soil on 9/11. American troops are still currently active there, to this day. While many know the long history of the United States, and our involvement in a number of wars, a newer topic in the American discourse is the tumultuous repercussions of these conflicts to our soldier’s mental health. The military and drug use are not mutually-exclusive. Many active duty military personnel and our returning veterans can easily face the very real challenge of developing a substance use disorder.

Military combat veterans and drug use.

Some things that Veterans in our country are forced to deal with, usually upon returning home from war, range from issues like homelessness, unemployment, and mental health disorders such as PTSD (or post-traumatic stress disorder). These issues are certainly not unexpected and they are relatively common. Another issue with members of the military, and their immediate families, are substance abuse disorders, like an addiction or chemical dependence to drugs or alcohol.

Oftentimes, this can go both ways, as the loved one who is a member of the military may develop an addiction overseas or once returning home, or, vice versa, the family members who are not in the military may develop an addiction while their loved one is away at war.

In 2015 alone, more than 30% of active duty military personnel engaged in hazardous drinking behavior or met criteria for an alcohol abuse disorder.

- The Rand Corporation

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What types of drugs are commonly used by military personnel?

Besides alcohol, substances like marijuana and cocaine are also common among active duty service members currently in the military, however, due to the fact that testing positive to a random drug test could lead to a dishonorable discharge, many military members develop problems associated with alcohol or prescription painkillers, commonly prescribed due to injuries from combat or carrying and operating heavy equipment. For instance, during the years of 2001 to 2009, the number of painkillers prescribed to the military more than quadrupled, causing a subsequent rise in opioid use disorders as well. In 2017, one in four active-duty members of the United States military received a prescription for opioids.

According to data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than one out of every 10 veterans has a substance abuse disorder of some kind, which is slightly higher than the general population, even more so when just comparing data for male veterans aged 18-25. This number could be attributed to the fact that many veterans will also develop a mental health disorder as well. A recent report found that nearly 30 percent of active duty personnel have a mental health condition requiring treatment, and just under 50 percent of veterans have a mental health condition that also requires treatment.

The negative stigma concerning mental health prevents military and their families from asking for help.

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Another issue for military members is the stigma surrounding mental health and/or addiction. Many times, they are afraid to seek help in fear of what loved ones or other people may think. If you, or a loved one, are struggling with a mental health issue or a substance abuse disorder, please do not hesitate to ask for help! Years of experience has shown that many family members are accepting and more than willing to try to get you the help that you need. You made sacrifices to help defend American freedom, our heritage and values. You deserve to be treated with respect and care, especially when it comes to your mental health.

As always, please feel free to reach out to one of our addiction specialists today!

More Than Rehab is located just outside of Houston, Texas.

We’re always here to offer help when needed!

888-249-2191

Substance abuse among America’s Military Families.

Another important aspect of the military and drug use, is what happens to the family that gets left behind while their loved one is away fighting for the freedom and protection of our country? This is important to consider when talking about the military and drug use, but all too often it seems to get overlooked. A recent survey found that roughly 44% of people in the military are married with children, and approximately 56% are married alone. Numbers estimate that there are more members of military families then there are active duty personnel, where roughly around 1.9 million people in the United States are an immediate part of a military family.

According to the NSDUH (the National Survey on Drug Use and Health), over 30% of military wives aged 18-49 participated in hazardous binge drinking behavior within the last 30 days and over 12 percent reported abusing illicit drugs within the past year. Furthermore, they were much more likely to engage in binge drinking behavior compared to other members of the civilian population. Additionally, 30 percent of military wives aged 18-49 also had a mental health disorder requiring treatment within the last year.

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These rates of substance abuse could be due to a number of reasons: having to juggle all the household responsibilities and take care of the kids all alone while their husbands are away at war. Wondering if their loved one is going to be safe, while deployed to active duty. These things are emotionally traumatic for both parties. Unfortunately, the children of active duty service members are not unaffected by one, or both of their parents being in the military. The same survey showed that nearly 20% of children who had a parent in the military also struggled with a substance abuse disorder of some kind.

While research in this field is still relatively new, it is safe to say that not only are veterans and active members of the military affected, but their family members may be as well. There is honor in serving your country, and there is honor in loving someone who does, but it can come with its own set of consequences.

Here at More Than Rehab, we truly understand substance abuse disorders and specialize in areas like how the military may impact the entire family with things like PTSD and substance abuse disorders. It is important to remember that even though you may be suffering, you are not alone. Let us help you get back on track and show you the way to get your life back. To the members of the military and their families, we appreciate your service to this country and would not hesitate in returning the favor!

(888) 241-2191

Why Being In-Network for Blue Cross Blue Shield Is Better For Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Thankfully, there are many options for insurance out there in the world today. However, If you happen to be a member of Blue Cross Blue Shield then there are a wide array of benefits that you get from purchasing any one of their numerous insurance options. It is estimated that nearly one out of every three people in America rely on services provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield. This is because of the extensive and vast coverage that they offer. Blue Cross Blue Shield members have access to thousands of medical assistance options, doctors and hospitals across the world all while providing safe, quality, and affordable healthcare. Additionally, Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance can cover a wide array of services, including dental care, prenatal, maternity, and newborn care to things like emergency services, hospitalization and preventative care. Another one of these services is coverage for mental health and rehabilitative services, such as rehab for drugs and alcohol.

Most insurance plans cover alcohol and drug addiction treatment services in Texas.

We hope that you never have to encounter a situation where you or a loved one may require rehab for drugs and/or alcohol, but we know that for many families this situation is all too common.

It is estimated that nearly 21 million people suffer from a substance abuse problem in our country nearly every day, not to mention people who live outside of the United States.

A substance abuse problem, otherwise known as an addiction, is very common. It is when a person is unable to stop using drugs or alcohol even if they have gone through negative experiences as a result. Things like homelessness and job loss are consequences of their addiction, something that has taken over the functioning of their brain.

Simply put, a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol does not have the same brain as someone who is not addicted to drugs or alcohol, they are literally not able to stop doing them. That is why, in most cases, professional help from an addiction specialist is needed in order to help save their life from this debilitating disease.

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So, if you are one of those 21 million Americans who suffer from an addiction, or if you are a loved one of someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and you also happen to have Blue Cross Blue Shield, then do not worry. Coverage for drugs and alcohol is something that they offer coverage for, in fact, it is now required by law that insurance companies must offer some type of addiction treatment coverage, even if there is a preexisting condition. This is because of the Affordable Care Act. So, even if you don't have Blue Cross Blue Shield be sure to check with your insurance provider to see what sort of coverage they offer. The same goes for those who carry Blue Cross Blue Shield, be sure to speak with your insurance agent to see what kind of coverage your specific plan has to offer, as all insurance plans may not already cover these costs. Most insurance plans including treatment for drugs and alcohol include things like:

 

What’s the difference between in-network and out-of-network providers?

Once you figure out what kind of coverage your specific plan has to offer for drug and alcohol treatment, then there are a few things to keep in mind when trying to find the rehabilitation program that is right for you. One of, perhaps the most important questions is whether or not that treatment program is considered an in-network provider or an out-of-network provider. In-network refers to providers or facilities that are in your insurance companies network, often they have negotiated prices and hefty discounts with certain providers.

Out-of-network simply means that the provider or facility does not have a contract with your insurance agency. So, even if they may be a good facility, you are surely going to end up spending more money, perhaps on a service that is of lesser quality.

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While some insurance plans may cover part of the cost of a rehabilitation program that is out-of-network, it won't be anywhere near the coverage offered for an approved facility and provider. The same can be said for members of Blue Cross Blue Shield, though they will cover some portion of the cost for an out-of-network facility (if it happens to be one you really want to go to), it will be nowhere near the amount of coverage if you chose a facility that is in-network. One of those reasons is because not only have they negotiated a deal with that facility or provider, but they have thoroughly vetted them to ensure that they are safe and that they offer quality, affordable care.

With Blue Cross Blue Shield, it is safe to say that the majority of your costs will be covered for a number of inpatient services, outpatient services, and hospitalization. Again, be sure to speak with an associate about your specific health care plan.

 

Located just outside of Houston, Texas, More Than Rehab now accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance.

Not only are cheaper costs guaranteed, but so is the quality of the provider. Here at More Than Rehab, we accept Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and only provide the highest quality of care. If you are looking for an excellent facility who accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield, then we are here to help! It is our passion and desire to help restore an addicted person's way of life to a place where they no longer need to rely on drugs or alcohol in order to feel normal. We treat the underlying issues that led to the addiction to begin with. We understand that addiction is a complicated disease and we offer any level of care that is necessary. We know how hard of a struggle achieving sobriety can be. We have helped many who have walked that lonely road before and we have brought them to a place of happiness. We proudly help United States military and their family members. It is never too late to ask for help, everyone deserves a second chance at life.

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Find out if we can help you today!
Call us at (888) 249-2191
Or, fill out our online insurance verification form and we will get back to you ASAP.

Drug Usage Can Be Driven By Childhood Trauma

A common question in today’s world is what drives abuse of drugs and alcohol? While the answer to that isn’t exactly a 'one fits all' model, there are many things that can potentially lead to whether or not someone will become an addicted person later on in life. This can include things like genetic predisposition, how old a person is the first time they try drugs or alcohol, peer pressure, their success in school, how stable their home environment is and influence of family members. Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list of what eventually leads an addict to develop an addiction. Research suggests that childhood trauma can also have a significant impact on the likelihood of someone developing an addiction.

Addiction has become an overwhelming epidemic in our society as accessibility and acceptability have increased drug usage across the country. Today, in the United States alone, more than 23.5 million people are afflicted with this disease that changes the brain of the user over time. Often times surrounding it is the stigma or idea that addicts are somehow less capable, weak minded or criminalistic. The doctors and researchers who focus on this subject have found that that is just completely not true.

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Sadly, statistics show that one in every six boys and one in every four girls will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday. The non-profit organization RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) reports that every 8 minutes government officials respond to a report of child sexual abuse. Additionally, the National Institute of Health (NIH) states that one third of children with a report of child abuse or neglect will have a substance abuse problem by their 18th birthday. Furthermore, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly 55 to 60 percent of people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also have a substance abuse disorder of some kind.

What is Trauma?

The term trauma can be defined as an adverse and often malignant reaction to a singular or repetitive event that caused severe physical or psychological harm. It is characterized by a patient's inability to move past and process the experience without reliving it over and over again. Any type of dramatic event early on in life can be traumatic, such as;

Trauma of any kind can eventually lead someone to an addiction, especially those who develop a mental health disorder because of the traumatic event(s). Many trauma survivors will turn to drugs and alcohol to help cope with their feelings and any sort of mental health problems they may have because of their past traumatic experiences.

Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Trauma

While living with trauma can be different for everyone, there are some clear signs you can look out for if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from their traumatic experiences.

Keep in mind, this is not a complete list of signs or symptoms. If you believe you or someone else you know may be suffering trauma, do not hesitate to ask for help from a professional today!

How Childhood Trauma Impacts the Brain

Childhood trauma has become increasingly associated with addiction later on in life and can have a severe impact on brain development. According to statistical data, 37 percent of women currently in prison report abuse as a child while 14 percent of all men currently in prison report childhood abuse, but it is commonly supported that men are less likely to admit to others when they have been abused. Furthermore, research suggests that more than two-thirds of people in treatment for drug abuse report being abused or neglected as a child. It is important to understand the effects of trauma on the brain during early development in order to understand the powerful connection between addiction and childhood trauma.

The brains of children are literally shaped by traumatic experiences, which can lead to not only problems with addiction but with anger and criminal activity, along with many others as well. Early in life, the human brain is a social organ, hence the term “monkey see, monkey do”. It is shaped by experience, and if one grows up in a state of terror, the brain is wired to be on alert for danger and to make those feelings go away. The negative experience(s) teaches their brain to operate out of a state of fear and anxiety.

Additionally, scientists have discovered that there are also physical changes that can occur with childhood trauma. Brain imaging has shown that the part of the brain that is responsible for processing and emotional regulation changes in size with childhood trauma victims. This can also have an effect on memory and learning. The brain’s inner connections, the brain shape, and its size can all be influenced by the long term stress or abuse of a child.

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Reasons Why Trauma Victims Use Drugs

Aside from the change in the development of the brain, there are several reasons why trauma victims may decide to being using drugs or alcohol, research has shown that these are a few of the most common reasons;

Early childhood trauma is not something that should be taken lightly and we sincerely apologize for any trauma that you or your loved one may be suffering from. If you are experiencing any symptoms of trauma, or are struggling with an addiction, then have we experienced professionals who are trained specifically to understand and help treat victims of trauma or those struggling with an addiction. Call us today, we care about your recovery!

(888) 241-2191

Binge Drinking in the State of Texas: When Does It Become Too Much?

Binge drinking alcohol literally affects every cell in your body. Over the course of long-term binges on liquor, beer, wine and other spirits, your brain can become permanently damaged as a result of cellular nutritional deficiencies. Thiamine or vitamin B1, is an important nutrient that is depleted from the body when alcohol abuse has taken over your life. When someone drinks a lot, over a long period of time, thiamine in the body is depleted, while the body’s ability to absorb it in the digestive tract is reduced. Cells are also inhibited in utilizing thiamine from chronic alcohol consumption. For teens and young college students who may be new to experimenting with alcohol, it can seem like it’s all just fun and games in the beginning. Over time however, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause a lot of damage to our minds and our bodies. No one thinks they will develop alcohol-related dementia, or “wet brain” syndrome but sadly, it does happen.

College binge-drinking remains a problem for students in Texas.

At colleges and universities across the United States, the culture of partying and binge drinking is pervasive. When drinking to excess starts to cause a lot of problems in academic areas like grades, attendance and extra curricular activities, maybe it is time to start thinking about your regular consumption of alcoholic beverages. We have all seen this party culture at institutions of higher learning be glorified and glamorized in popular movies, television shows and music. Some say it’s kind of like a rite of passage for young adults. We all know that students want to have a good time while they’re young, but excessive drinking can lead to disastrous, life-altering consequences.

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Underage drinking is a problem that affects the residents of Texas, much like the rest of the country. The phenomenon of underage drinking leads to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year in the United States. Underage drinkers have an unfortunate tendency to participate in binge drinking, much more than the adult population does. Teens and young adults who experiment with drinking to excess are more prone to experience troubling consequences as a result. Accidents, injuries, arrests, and jail time are much more likely when alcohol is present. Plus, rates of sexual assault, rape and other types of physical assaults are all much more likely to occur when underage drinking is at play.

Alcohol abuse and binge-drinking affects public health as a whole in Texas communities.  

In April of 2018, Houston, Texas police made 36 felony alcohol arrests of drivers in the area. Felony DUI or DWI culprits in Texas can face up to $10,000 in fines, have their license suspended and they could serve anywhere between 2-10 years in a Texas state prison. Most of these arrests were the result of the subject’s third DWI, some were intoxicated even while having a child in the car with them. Two of the arrests were for vehicular manslaughter incidents involving alcohol. Cracking down on drunk driving is a supreme necessity, as more and more needless deaths occur on our streets. In 2017 alone, 1,468 people died in Texas as a result of automobile accidents where at least one driver was under the influence of alcohol. These accidents comprised nearly 40% of all traffic fatalities in Texas in 2016.

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Excessive alcohol consumption and binge-drinking comes with considerable negative health consequences.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), excessive alcohol consumption will increase a person’s risk of developing serious health problems, in addition to the other risky behaviors that are commonly associated with being drunk. According to the Harvard Medical School, liver disease, high blood pressure, heart failure, cancer, dementia and even suicide rates all go up for people who consume alcohol in excessive amounts over time.

Depression, stress, insecurity and anxiety are common emotional and mental health issues which people list as reasons that they started drinking. Yet alcohol abuse actually makes these problems worse over time, as you end up just masking these symptoms by getting drunk. Binge drinking can be exceptionally detrimental for college students who suffer from any kind of mental, or behavioral health disorder. Excessive drinking will only make these problems worse, as this can easily lead to a downward spiral of more and more drinking and experimentation with other types of drugs.

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Alcohol is the number one gateway drug, well ahead of marijuana.

According to research completed by teams at Texas A&M and the University of Florida, 54% of young people reported using alcohol as their first drug of use, before they moved on to trying other drugs. This was a lot more than what was reported for marijuana, where only 14% of respondents claimed it as the first drug they used.

How early people began using substances also serves as an important indicator of future decisions and risky behaviors that people may take with drugs and alcohol. The same study also looked at how early kids began using and found that the earlier they initiated use, the more likely they were to use harder drugs later in life.

While drinking alcohol may become a problem for many people in the Houston, Texas area, there are resources available to help you, a family member or loved one who is struggling with alcoholism or an addiction to other drugs.  More Than Rehab offers one of the most successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in the state of Texas. Give us a call and see if our addiction treatment program is right for you.

888-249-2191