Posts Tagged ‘drug addiction’
Monday, December 13th, 2010
By Steven Reinberg
THURSDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) — One in five high school students in the United States has taken a prescription medication that was not prescribed for them, a new survey shows.
Conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the survey covers a variety of risky behaviors among American youth.
“We are very concerned that 20 percent of high school students are reporting this behavior,” said survey author Danice K. Eaton, a research scientist at the CDC. “It can be dangerous to take a prescription drug that hasn’t been prescribed to you.”
Studies have shown that taking non-prescribed prescription drugs can lead to overdose, addiction and death, Eaton explained. “Taking a prescription drug that hasn’t been prescribed to you is a health risk behavior,” she said.
In the survey, 16,460 high school students were asked if they had ever taken prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin or Xanax, without a doctor’s prescription.
The abuse of prescription drugs was widest among whites at 23 percent, followed by Hispanics at 17 percent, and black students at 12 percent.
In addition, the abuse of prescription drugs was most common among 12th graders (26 percent) and lowest among ninth graders (15 percent), the researchers found. But, prescription drug abuse was the same for boys and girls, at 20 percent.
This is the first time a question about prescription drugs has been asked in the survey, Eaton said. The next survey will be in 2011, with the data being released in 2012. This will be the first opportunity to see trends in the abuse of prescription drugs, she noted.
In the meantime, the “awareness that there is such a high prevalence of prescription drug abuse among high school students is the main thing that we can emphasize from our data,” Eaton said.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said there are too many prescription drugs waiting to be abused.
“When prescription drugs are available in a home to the patient for whom they were prescribed, they are also available to the patient’s teenager,” he said.
Educating teens about the potential harms of prescription drugs, and including discussion of prescription medications in all drug control programs, is warranted, Katz said.
“Parental awareness, which this report helps cultivate, and vigilance will be more important still,” he said. “But perhaps the ultimate solution to this problem is a more dedicated societal commitment to disease prevention and health promotion, so that fewer prescription drugs are in circulation, and available for such misuse.”
The survey also asked about alcohol and drug abuse. In all, 72 percent of the students said they had used alcohol. Furthermore, 37 percent had used marijuana, 6.4 percent had used cocaine, 4.1 percent had used methamphetamine and 6.7 percent had used ecstasy.
These findings were basically the same as those in the last survey, which was done in 2007, the researchers noted.
On the bright side, high school students seemed to be eating better.
- The number of students who drank a soda a day dropped, from 34 percent in 2007 to 29 percent in 2009.
- More students ate fruit or 100 percent fruit juice (30 percent in 2005 and 34 percent in 2009).
- Fewer students engaged in risky weight-loss diets, such as not eating, taking diet pills or vomiting or taking laxatives.
However, students are still engaging in other risky behaviors such as:
- 78 percent had not eaten fruits or vegetables five or more times daily in the week before the survey.
- 82 percent said they had not been physically active for at least an hour per day.
- 19 percent smoked cigarettes.
- 28 percent rode in a car driven by a person who had been drinking alcohol.
- 39 percent of sexually active students had had sex without using a condom.
These numbers are also similar to the 2007 numbers, the researchers noted.
Monday, December 6th, 2010
It was six years ago, a moment of weakness took my life into a hopeless downward spiral. In those six years was a nightmare of drug addiction and despair. For six years I lived in frustration, rage, and fear. It seems that in this time nothing went right at all. I was living a life that was not intended for me.
I was the kind of guy that really took care of his body and now I was abusing it. I knew I have to get clean, I also knew that I needed to get clean. This knowledge was the easy part. When I thought about acting on it though I felt trapped and hopeless. I looked at myself in the mirror one day and wondered who I was. I still had a family that stayed behind me even after all the things that I did to them, I lost my girlfriend why I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and also lost many friends during this journey, and essentially gave them up to chaise a high. I had been giving so much, but yet I found my life reduced to this, a series of highs and a room in my mother’s house at the age of 29. I realized to myself that this was not life that this was not living; I had lost the joy that came with being an honest man. I missed all the little things that life has to offer. I pretty much just missed life all together.
It was not the first time during my journey that I had theses realizations, but it was the first time that they really hit home. I really came to realize that it was the first time I understood or chose to understand how directly and personally I was hurting people I loved. I made the decision to surrender. My problems were too big for me and I came to realize that I could no longer kid myself into believing I could solve them myself. I could no longer fool myself into believing i’d get around to straightening up after just one more high. I could no longer fight alone.
In the past my response to helplessness would have been to use, but this time I started to pray, with tears in my eyes I asked God for help. I revealed to him my weakness and told him I was ready to live for him. And, sound crazy or not, everything just started to fall into place. I found Turning Point and I started to take my recovery piece by piece. My face started to fill out again, the dead look in my eyes was replaces by something resembling the person I used to be. I was broken but I was healing. Piece by piece I was healing. Day by day went by and everything got easier, I could feel the strength returning to my body and I enjoyed the freedom that came with stating down my demons by facing them instead of running, Piece by piece everything started to come back. I am laughing and smiling again, and my mind was so positive again along with my body. I am really blessed for all the support I got from turning point along with my family, nobody was more hopeless than me, nobody more aimless or tortured or imprisoned by his own bad choices. I made it out of my own terrible darkness and into this bright light.
My dad being an addict once told me that it’s a shitty world out there a real shitty world and I being a user as well bought into that saying it was not till I cleaned my mind that I realized it’s a great world.
Thursday, November 25th, 2010
Cultivating a more ’spiritual’ life can lead to greater peace of mind, less stress and better health.
Stress has long been associated with increased risk for illness including serious health problems such as heart disease. The reason? Stress, particularly if it is chronic or prolonged, can weaken the immune system. It can also lead to excessive use of alcohol and drugs which decreases productivity, depression and a lower quality of life in general.
While a certain amount of stress is inevitable (and to some degree, it can be argued, a positive force for motivation), healthier lifestyle habits — such as regular exercise, a nutritious diet, adequate sleep and strong social connections — can help you to manage dangerous levels of stress without using alcohol or drugs as a means of lessening your level of stress.
Another way to relieve stress, experts say, may have something to do with spirituality. While studies on the effects of religious belief and prayer on health and healing have produced mixed results, experts say that living a more ‘spiritual’ life can lead to better stress relief and overall mental health.
So what exactly is spirituality? While it can mean different things to different people, at its core, spirituality is generally thought to be what helps to give a person’s life context. It is not necessarily connected to specific religious worship or belief, but instead is the sum total of a person’s individual value system, connections with others, and search for life’s meaning. Spirituality can be manifested in a variety of ways including religious observance, meditation, prayer, family life, nature, music or art.
How is it good for you?
Spirituality offers a myriad of benefits for stress relief and overall mental health. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can help by:
Providing a sense of purpose. Cultivating your spirituality can help you define what is most meaningful in your life. And if you are able to identify and stay focused on what’s truly important to you, it becomes easier to put things that are less important in perspective and thereby, reduce stress.
Facilitating a connection to the world. If you feel you have a purpose in the world, you’ll feel less isolated and solitary, even if you’re alone. Feeling a part of a greater whole not only provides a sense of inner peace, but it also helps you to release responsibility — and worry — for things you have no control over.
Expanding your social support network. Whether you express your spirituality by attending a church, mosque or synagogue, in your family life, by volunteering in your community, or by taking walks with a friend through nature, this sharing can help to build and strengthen relationships. Strong social connections have been linked with less stress, as well as improved health and longevity.
Leading a healthier life. People who consider themselves spiritual are not only less stressed, but they appear to be able to heal faster from illness and addiction.
Ways to cultivate spirituality
Looking for a more fulfilling spiritual life? Try these 4 tips:
Seek inspiration. Read inspirational books, stories or essays to help you evaluate different life philosophies. Try to connect with others whose spiritual lives you admire — and don’t be shy about asking questions about how they found their way to a more fulfilling spiritual life. Keep a journal to record your thoughts and insights.
Think positive thoughts. Even during difficult times, it’s important to try to maintain an optimistic outlook and to see the good in people and in yourself. Studies have shown that people with a ‘positive emotional style’ are not only happier, but do better at warding off stress and illness. Try to focus on positive steps to find solutions to your problems, such as talking to a trusted friend or advisor.
Reach out to others. Life, at times, can seem overwhelmingly busy, but make it a priority to nurture your relationships with family and friends. Contribute to your community by volunteering. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, don’t suffer in silence. During difficult times, it’s particularly important to reach out to your network of friends, family, co-workers and other people for practical help or a sympathetic ear.
Practice relaxation techniques. Get in touch with your inner self — and reduce stress at the same time — with good relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep-breathing exercises and meditation. Or simply give yourself a relaxing evening by turning off the news and your cell phone, and tuning into a good book or your favorite relaxing music.
These are just a few thoughts and suggestions to consider instead of turning to alcohol or drugs. As well these are options to use to maintain your recovery from addiction.
Brenda Herzog B.A.Psych.,ADLC, Bs.SAAC
*information source Mayo Clinic studies on stress and addiction
Monday, November 22nd, 2010
I am writing this not to persuade or to dissuade anyone from taking or not taking any prescription medications. It is purely my experience with the prescription drug Venlaflaxine (Effexor) and I believe that the more knowledge one has, the more informed decision they are able to make.
About 4 years ago I hit an incredibly rough patch in my life. My doctor, who is also a long time friend, told me that there are 7 indicators of stress that doctors are supposed to watch out for in patients. Any single one of them is a sufficient reason for a person to have a mental health crisis or reaction. Apparently I was simultaneously dealing with 5 of the 7.
I had been laid off from a job that I had just won the top sales person of the year in Canada for. I guess that doesn’t account for much when they are giving out 1700 lay off packages at the same time. I was in the midst of a steadily worsening divorce (relationship indicator). My ex-wife moved my four children 5 hours away from me. I had left a strict religion that I had been part of for 30 years and with it lost most of my social and friend network. I also was on the verge of bankruptcy and was about to lose 3 properties that I owned.
I crashed pretty hard and went into a deep depression. I went to see my doctor who, because of some of the things I said I was feeling, put me on what I later found out was a rather strange concoction of drugs. I of course trusted that he knew what was best for me at the time and I took them without really thinking much of it because I wanted to feel better and start getting back on my feet.
I saw another doctor who immediately took me off of two of the drugs and left me on Effexor which is very commonly used to treat depression and that family of mood disorders. The first couple of weeks I didn’t really notice much other than some side effects of an upset stomach and various other seemingly minor things when compared to, in my mind, the possibility of getting back to “normal”, whatever my new normal was going to be and feeling better again.
After about three weeks I started to realize that I wasn’t feeling quite as crappy as I had been. I definitely was not feeling any better, but I wasn’t feeling worse either. Once again, a small victory but at least I seemed to be moving in the right direction towards recovery.
By some small miracle, in this time I had reconnected with on old friend from high school who I am happy to say is now my wife. For some reason she took pity on me and my situation and was there as support and comfort through the recovery.
I noticed as time went on that my moods seemed to improve, but only to a point. I could feel the feelings of happiness start to build inside of me but then I could feel the medication kick in and only let the feelings go so far and it was like an automatic emotional choke or dampener turned on inside of me and I could only feel so much. It also worked the same with negative feelings as well (except for anger, I still could feel that one very powerfully), but the “blues” seemed to not be as bad either. The best way I can describe the experience is to imagine in your mind a roller coaster. The highs and lows represent normal emotions. While on Effexor, imagine a roller coaster where all of the tops are cut off about half way up and all of the dips and valleys are cut off halfway down…it is like your emotions are only allowed to operate within a set parameter and anything above or below are squashed by the drugs. And you can feel it happening. There is a certain emotional numbness that you get use to operating.
After about 8 months of feeling this way I started to get tired of it and frustrated. I was not feeling happy. I was not miserable either, I just was…
I knew it was the medication and I knew it was doing its job, and I knew that as long as I was on it I would continue to feel that way I was. I started to research on line at what people were saying about the medication and was alarmed to read what people were saying about their experiences when they tried to come off of the medication. Some said that they had tried to come off slowly and cut back over time but even that method seemed to have varying degrees of success. I found studies on line that said that coming off of Effexor was as difficult as coming off of some of the more powerful illegal drugs. I realized I was in a bit of trouble. I read articles that basically said that if it was better once you were on Effexor that you should just stay on it for life.
I decided the best thing for me was to go off cold turkey and just get it over with. All I know is that for me, that was one of the worst experiences of my life.
I remember the being off of the drug for about 18 hours I was going into my second night. I had really missed my first scheduled dose. I cramped up and got the sweats and was nauseous and was in and out of the bathroom all night with the dry heaves. The absolute worst thing of all, and I can still feel it when I think about it was the shocks that started to go through me. It was literally as though someone had hooked wires up to my head and kept flicking the switch on and off over and over again causing me to feel like I was being electrocuted on the inside of my brain and though out my whole body. I remember texting my friend and now wife at about 3 am and telling her that I expected to be dead in the morning. In no way was I trying to be melodramatic, I really truly believed that I was dying. It was one of the longest most painful nights of my life. I made it through the night. The symptoms continued strongly for about three days where I felt sick and weak but they lessened, except for the shocks. They continued very strongly for the better part of a week and did not go away for almost a month.
I have talked to others who are on the medication and they have said that if they miss a dose, they know it because the shocks start with them too.
I don’t know how to feel about the drugs. I realize that they helped me to turn the corner and start regaining my life back a little bit. I also realize that had I stayed on them that I would have been functioning more or less as a zombie but I would have been functional. To me, that is not what life is about, we are not here only to exist. We live in a beautiful and marvellous world and we have to have our emotions available to us to discover the beauties and treasures that are all around us and to be able to recognize and enjoy the relationships that are in your life.
Knowing what I know now and what I went through, even with all of the events that I was going through at the time, I can honestly say that I would choose not to go through the experience of coming off Effexor again. I would look for alternate methods and strategies to work through my issues. That would be my preferred way of dealing with any issues. Or as crazy as it is to say, I might just stay on it forever if I had to go on it again…something that I hope never has to be a possibility. In no way do I blame my doctor or think he did anything wrong. He did what he was supposed to do under the system he works in.
I would like to say that I am totally recovered and that life is smashing and great, but it is still full of challenges and obstacles. My ex wife is moving further away with my children and causing chaos and destruction wherever she can. I am in the process of making a major change in my career again. I am remarried to a great and wonderful woman who puts up with a lot. I discovered that I have friends and family who truly love me. And I can happily report though that despite all of the challenges and stress I have been under, that I am overall coping better with it and I have not been on any sort of medication since I came off of the Effexor and that is how I plan on staying.
Disclaimer: Turning Point does not recommend taking yourself off of prescription medications cold turkey, it is recommended that you seek medical assistance to be weaned slowly and safely off of these types of medication.