Substance Abuse and Addiction

Recently Answered

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    About 19 women die every day of a prescription painkiller overdose in the U.S. You can prevent overdose in the following ways:
    • Avoid taking prescription painkillers more often than prescribed.
    • Dispose of medications properly, as soon as the course of treatment is done, and avoid keeping prescription painkillers or sedatives around "just in case."
    • Help prevent misuse and abuse by not selling or sharing prescription drugs. Never use another person's prescription drugs.
    • Get help for substance abuse problems by calling 1-800-662-HELP. Call Poison Help 1-800-222-1222 if you have questions about medicines. 
    The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the US Government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.
     
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    APaul Hokemeyer, PhD, Marriage & Family Therapy, answered
    Made famous by Justin Beiber, Three 6 Mafia and Lil' Wayne, "Sizzurp" (or "Lean" or "Purple Drink") is a combination of prescription cough syrup which consists of codeine (highly addictive opiate) and a prescription grade antihistamine. The combination of these two, when taken in extreme dosage, has the impact of suppressing one's cardiovascular system, which means the heart can stop, and the pulmonary system, which means the lungs could stop breathing.

    Typically, kids are getting the ingredients from their friends or their parents' medicine cabinet. I would encourage everyone to take a hard look at the phenomenon of “sizzurp," which is a lethal, addictive and intoxicating substance that has been glamorized by pop stars.
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    AEliot LeBow, CDE, LCSW, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answered

    Most drugs stop intimacy in its tracks. The addicted individual is more interested in the drug, including alcohol, than you. They tend to lack motivation and are detached from reality. Motivation and emotional connectedness is a very important part of intimacy. Most drugs reduce both of these, causing a lack of intimacy in a relationship.

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    ADavid Vittoria, MSW, Addiction Medicine, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida

    Gender differences exist in patterns of drinking, treatment and recovery. The Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center at South Miami Hospital provides each patient with personalized addiction treatment plan. Using a multi-discipline strategy, the Center addresses the different factors that trigger addiction for each patient, including mental health problems. And because of societal, cultural and physical differences between men and women, personalized treatment plans reflect gender-based factors. For women, problems with sexism, self-esteem, relationships and age-related conflicts may be key elements of therapy sessions. With every patient, it’s important to identify and treat the physical, mental and emotional factors that trigger drinking or other forms of substance abuse.  

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    ADavid Vittoria, MSW, Addiction Medicine, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida

    Substance abuse is a significant health concern for women and men, according to various research reports. About 40 million people in the U.S., approximately 16 percent of the age 12-and-older population, are addicted to drugs, alcohol or nicotine, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. Based on those research findings, CASA has labeled addiction as the largest preventable health problem in the country. 

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    ABrenda K. Wade, PhD, Psychology, answered
    When do certain behaviors or habits become an addiction?

    Certain behaviors or habits can become an addiction when we use it to feel better; to compensate for something we are missing. Watch as psychologist Brenda Wade, PhD, discusses how a behavior that takes over your life can become an addiction.


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    APaul Hokemeyer, PhD, Marriage & Family Therapy, answered

    There is a lot of focus on the physical and financial repercussions of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), often ignoring the incredible emotional toll on those who take the supplements and their families. 

    Those who regularly take PEDs are often male patients who are high-octane and have achieved great success by exceeding their competition though discipline, hard work, intelligence and street smarts. They demand exceptional performance from themselves and the people in their lives. These men see PEDs as part of the formula that keeps them at the top of their game. What they fail to see is how these drugs can impede their developmental process. 

    Often those taking the supplements are in the period of life known as middle adulthood, between 40 and 65. It’s a period that Erik Erickson referred to as Generativity v. Stagnation. In order to negotiate this phase successfully, people must focus on things outside of themselves by creating positive change that benefits other people. 

    By relying on PEDs to bolster their performance and keep them relevant, these men fail to embrace the natural progression that comes from life, and its attendant benefits. They also trap themselves in self-absorbed and narcissistic prisons. They fail to successfully negotiate this developmental stage and to find the peace of mind, gratitude, satiety, and renewed sense of purpose and direction in life that should be the fruit of their labors.

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    AHealthCorps answered

    Having addictions in your family is considered a risk factor for developing addictions. Patients who receive a prescription for opioids to treat pain can also be at risk of developing an addiction to this medication if they have the following risk factors:

    • Depression, anxiety or other psychiatric issues present at the time of opioid treatment or in their past history. 
    • Ongoing substance abuse with alcohol or other drugs.
    • Poor coping skills and a tendency to imagine “worst possible outcomes” in difficult situations. An individual with these traits may be primed to become addicted to these powerful drugs. 

    It’s always a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor about the pros and cons of taking any medication, especially an opioid that falls within the Schedule III classification of controlled substances.

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    ADavid Vittoria, MSW, Addiction Medicine, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida

    There are many human conditions which can seriously affect our health, our happiness and the quality of our lives. All of us are familiar with the signs and symptoms of coronary artery disease, cancer, stroke and the potentially devastating disabilities caused by physical and emotional trauma. Addictive illness can produce physical, mental/emotional, social, family, legal and financial consequences just like any other serious, chronic, relapsing disorder.

    Addiction does not come about overnight. At the outset, the person with an early-stage addiction might look normal in every regard; might be above average in intelligence; might have potential for a happy and successful life; may be highly productive, charming and talented.

    As the addiction progresses, the physical health, mood, judgment and behavior will gradually deteriorate. A substance (such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, or a variety of pills) or a compulsive behavior (such as gambling, spending, aggression and stealing) may be identified as contributing to an unexpected downward spiral in the person’s former stability and level of function.

    When the addiction is fully active, life does not look balanced and happy. The effects of the repeated alteration of brain function cause loss of control, loss of values, loss of self-esteem, loss of position in the family, and loss of standing in the community.

    Life through the eyes of the addicted person looks dark, depressed, tense, anxious and afraid. It is at this point that the individual can no longer help themselves. The organ system with which healthy decisions are made is itself impaired.

    There is hope for the person’s recovery if the signs and symptoms of addiction are recognized and professional help in concert with family support is sought.

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    • Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to tobacco or any of its components (e.g., cocoa, menthol, licorice, colophony, and formaldehyde).

    • In general, allergic reactions to natural tobacco leaves are rare. However, some research suggests that secondhand tobacco smoke may increase allergic responses. Tobacco smoke should therefore also be avoided in people with any known allergy.

    • Limited evidence suggests that exposure to tobacco smoke may increase the likelihood of developing a food allergy, asthma, or allergic diseases.

    • Allergic contact dermatitis (allergic skin inflammation), lip coloring, lip scaling, skin redness, and tissue swelling have been seen following exposure to various components of cigarette filters, paper, and tobacco.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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