What are the different types of Addictions?
From cocaine to alcohol, methamphetamine to opiate based drugs like Percocet and Fentanyl, benzodiazepines such as Xanax and its cousin Valium... each of these compounds has the potential for extreme chemical dependence. Drug and alcohol addiction is a chronic disease, characterized by uncontrollable, compulsive, drug or alcohol seeking behavior and use, despite harmful and serious consequences, as well as the potential development of permanent physical and chemical changes in the brain. Addiction to drugs and alcohol can form very quickly and can start to take over a person's entire life if left untreated. Many don't realize it, but most chemical dependencies like alcoholism or addiction to opiates requires professional care through a process of detox or rehab in an inpatient setting, then progressing to an intensive outpatient program where the addiction can be further monitored, discussed, and the necessary tools required to succeed with any substance abuse disorder, can be strengthened and reinforced. At The Bridges of San Diego, our goal is to not only treat drug addiction and alcoholism for the individual, but to also assist distressed family members through the potentially challenging stages of recovery and rehabilitation.
In its simplest definition, alcoholism is defined as an addiction to the consumption of alcohol, or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from alcohol dependency. Most don't think of alcohol as being a drug, mostly due to its widely accepted use, however, alcohol is most certainly a drug - and a very powerful one. Alcohol is consumed as a liquid and comes in many forms, from vodka and whiskey, to beer and wine - each of these beverages contains alcohol in varying amounts. Alcohol is the result of the fermentation of sugars, often from fruit, grains, or vegetables, and a catalyst such as yeast or bacteria. Alcoholism can be one of the most challenging substance abuse disorders to overcome, with many battling the progressive disease for their entire lifetime. Within weeks, consistent use of alcohol can result in true chemical dependency, affecting both a person's physiology and their emotional state. According to current statistics, approximately 17% of men and 8% of women will be dependent on alcohol within their lifetime. More than 15 million people currently struggle with alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, in the United States, but less than 8% actually receive treatment. Alcohol abuse is the third highest cause of death in the U.S., resulting in over 88,000 deaths per year - on average, those who died had their lifespan shortened by thirty years. For some alcoholics, detoxing from alcohol must occur in a facility that is equipped to deal with the addiction, as medications are administered in an effort to prevent seizures as a result of alcohol withdrawal. For others, detox symptoms may be more manageable and may not require inpatient care - intensive outpatient treatment programs, support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and strong family and friend support systems may be all that is required to break the cycle of alcoholism.
To learn more about Alcoholism, click here
Opiate addiction has literally taken the country by storm, with over 130 people dying each day from opiate related overdoses. Opiate based prescription drugs such as Vicodin (hydrocodone), Morphine, Percocet (oxycodone), and Dilaudid are used to treat extreme pain, often in surgical or post operative care, or for chronic, debilitating injuries. Over the last handful of years, a new synthetic opioid named fentanyl has emerged, with potency levels nearly 50-100 times more potent than morphine, resulting in sharp increases in mortality rates throughout the United States. Most users take the above noted drugs in pill form - some opiate addicts may even crush the pills into a powder, then melt into a liquid and administer via intravenous injection. In 2017 alone, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffered from addiction related to prescription based opioids. During that same year, opioids were responsible for 47,600 deaths, constituting 67.8% of all drug related overdose deaths in the country. Opiate drugs essentially mimic the naturally occurring opiates that exist in our brain and are an essential and complicated component to our physical makeup as human beings. Exposure to opiate based drugs create feelings of euphoria, happiness, relaxation, and an overall reduction in physical pain. Alternatively, all opiates carry an entire host of negative side effects with prolonged or excessive use such as nausea, dizziness, constipation, sexual dysfunction, respiratory depression and failure, liver failure, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. True opiate addiction can affect the user for their entire lifetime, as prolonged exposure to prescription based opioids can permanently alter a person's brain chemistry. For those that have truly formed a dependency to opiate based compounds, proper professional treatment in a rehab setting is an essential step in the recovery process.
To learn more about Prescription Opiates, click here
Methamphetamine, more popularly referred to as "meth"and "crystal meth", is an extremely powerful drug. Many who try the substance even one time can become addicted. Most don't know it, but methamphetamine has been around for over 100 years. In 1919, Japanese chemist Akira Ogata developed the first crystalline form of the drug. It is reported that at the conclusion of World War II, upwards of 20% of Japan's entire population suffered from crystal meth addiction, as it was provided to pilots, members of the military, as well as those working in factories and shipyards, keeping one awake and "producing" for days on end. Users often will go on multi-day "rides", often staying awake for over 72 hours without sleep. Crystal methamphetamine is a purely synthetic compound and is classified as a Schedule II stimulant in the United States. Crystal methamphetamine looks like shards of glass, or bluish/white, shiny rocks. Most meth addicts either snort, smoke, or liquify and inject the drug. Meth's power comes from its ability to increase the amount of the naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain known as dopamine - a key chemical component that plays major roles in not only the reward process/center of the brain, but also has a major impact on a person's overall state of being, as well as reward-motivated behavior. Methamphetamine addiction is a particularly painful addiction for loved ones and family members to watch another go through, with the physical and emotional effects of the drug becoming apparent in a condensed period of time - extreme weight loss, facial sores, rotting teeth, memory loss, anxiety, confusion, and potentially violent behavior are all potential results from prolonged meth addiction. Rehab is critical for those looking to take that first step towards breaking their addiction with meth, as most who attempt to break the cycle without professional help often relapse within a fairly short amount of time.
To learn more about Methamphetamines, click here
Another member of the stimulant family, the drug cocaine has been extremely popular throughout the United States over the last thirty years and continues to be popular on a global scale. Cocaine is a concentrated drug that originates from the coca plant, of which generally grows around regions along the equator and Southern Hemisphere. Cocaine's origins are ancient and stem from one of the most potent and dangerous naturally occurring compounds on the planet. Over 3,000 years ago Incas in the Andes mountains chewed coca leaves in an effort to counter the effects of living at high elevations. Cocaine itself was first isolated by a German scientist named Albert Niemann in 1859 and in 1884, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud published an article entitled "Uber Coca" (About Coke), promoting the benefits of cocaine, referring to it as a, "magical substance." It wasn't long before cocaine use was widely accepted throughout the medical world during the turn of the 20th century - even the popular soft drink Coca Cola included small amounts of cocaine in its original formula. Cocaine generally comes in powder form, is white in color, and is generally snorted or smoked. Crack cocaine is another more concentrated, more potent version of cocaine and it is generally smoked versus snorted - crack cocaine resembles shiny white rocks that "crack" when burned, hence the name. Cocaine addiction can occur very quickly, and like methamphetamines, can completely take over a person's entire life. Cocaine also affects the levels of dopamine in the brain, much like meth. Once cocaine has crossed the blood-brain barrier, its effects occur quickly, resulting in the user experiencing a feeling of pronounced wellbeing, happiness, over-overconfidence, focus, and a marked increase in mental alertness or feelings of being "awake". The negative consequences of cocaine abuse are similar to those of meth - weight loss, anxiety, paranoia, memory and cognitive problems, and an increased potential for heart attack or stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths related to cocaine use has increased 42.4% from 12,122 in 2015, to 17,258 in 2016. As with methamphetamine addictions, getting professional help can often mean the difference between a successful attempt at sobriety, or not.
To learn more about Cocaine, click here
Heroin is another opiate based drug that has seen increasingly steady rates of addiction over the last twenty years. In 2017 alone, over 15,000 people died from heroin related overdoses in the United States, a rate of 5 deaths for every 100 Americans. In 1874, heroin was first synthesized from morphine by an English chemist and was eventually produced commercially by Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 1898. The idea was that heroin could possibly replace morphine as a pain killer, due to problems of widespread morphine abuse at the time. Doctors soon realized that heroin was just as addictive as morphine and opium. Heroin can be a brown or white powder, or a sticky, black substance known as black tar heroin. Heroin is often referred to as "smack" or "dope" and is either smoked, snorted, or injected. Like prescription opioids such as oxycodone, fentanyl, or morphine, heroin enters the brain quickly, binding to opioid receptors throughout the body, especially those related to feelings of pain and pleasure, as well as regions of the brain that are responsible for regulating heart rate, sleeping, and breathing. People that suffer from heroin addiction report feeling a rush of euphoria and pleasure after the drug has been administered, with many going "on the nod" - essentially going back and forth from consciousness, to a state of semi or partial consciousness. Negative, short-term effects of the drug are dry mouth, a warm flushing of the skin, severe itching, and clouded mental functioning. Long-term exposure to heroin can create for permanent, lifelong health problems such as liver and kidney disease, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, lung complications, depression and antisocial behavior, as well as sexual dysfunction for men and irregular menstrual cycles for women. Heroin use also carries with it the increased potential for contracting HIV, considering that needles used for injection are often shared between users. A heroin overdose occurs when a person administers too much of the drug, resulting in heart attack or an arrest in breathing, often leading to death. Heroin addiction can take hold very quickly, with some becoming addicted after trying the drug just a couple of times. As with all opiate based addictions, inpatient detox and rehab is critical for those that struggle with this crushing addiction. Many who successfully complete an inpatient rehab program, transition into an intensive outpatient program for six weeks while at the same time, live in a recovery residence, also known as "sober living" - this rehabilitative "recipe" ensures the best possible outcome when facing the challenges related of overcoming heroin addiction.
To learn more about Heroin, click here