Addicts and Lies
Addiction is such a powerful force that it causes most people to do things they wouldn’t consider “right” or “moral” if they weren’t fighting addiction. Many people will steal, hurt others, skip appointments or important events, as well as exhibiting other behaviors. But, the most common thing addicts do is: they lie.
Common lies addicts express include telling others things like, “I can stop any time” or “I’m only hurting myself –not anyone else – so why do you care?” Many addicts live a double life and keep the lie of their existing addiction a secret from many people in their life. There are many reasons why addicts lie — most are obvious—but, when trying to help an addicted loved one, understanding why they are lying may give you insight into how to better help them.
Addicts lie to avoid facing the reality they live in. The reality of their addiction may be too painful/embarrassing for them to face so they just lie about their behavior or their whereabouts, etc. Addicts will also lie to keep their addiction intact. In order to keep using, addicts will say or do pretty much anything. They lie to preserve themselves in their addiction.
Many addicts lie because they can’t stand who they’ve become and they certainly don’t want their loved ones to know. Addicts will lie to avoid seeing the disappointment in those they love. They will say they are clean when they may have gotten high a few hours ago just to avoid the guilt that comes from upsetting their loved ones. Many addicts are ashamed by their behavior and do and say everything they can to make people believe that their life is great and normal.
When dealing with an addict who often lies, loved ones can take steps to help both themselves and the addict. They can recognize that lies are a part of addiction. The lies that the addict tells are not ok, but they are usually not to be taken personal either. It is also vital that loved ones do not enable or ignore the lies of an addict. Allowing addicts to hit rock bottom, suffer for their actions and choices, and refusing to rescue them can help addicts see the web of lies they live and possibly have started to believe themselves.
Most importantly, loved ones can create a loving, supportive environment where lies are not overlooked or tolerated, but where concern and love continues to abide regardless. This will facilitate honesty rather than encouraging threats or power struggles. When addicts feel safe, they will begin to step out into the light of telling the truth and they can heal and recover, relying on the stable love and support of those who care about them. Encouraging addicts to get help will also be more effective when they can trust more and rely upon those in their life to support them in recovery.
Anorexic Teen Hid Weights in Clothes to Appear Heavier
A recent investigation in the United Kingdom, concerning an anorexic teen who tragically died 9 years ago, has found that the teen hid weights in her clothing to fool the school nurse into thinking she was heavier.
Emma Carpenter, just 17 at the time of her death due to anorexia, appears to have lost more than a stone (14 pounds) in the week just before she died. Her organs failed her and she passed away just three days before Christmas in 2006 with a body mass index of only 10.5. Emma had battled anorexia for three years prior and was being monitored by the nurses at her school. The nurses would weigh Emma often, but appear to have been fooled by the weights she hid in her clothing before being weighed.
When questioned, the nurses both expressed that with Emma’s anorexic condition, she should have been hospitalized sooner. Emma was only hospitalized 10 days before her death. Doctors at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham claim that she would not have died if she had been referred to hospital sooner. Dr. Timothy Bowling, a consultant gastroenterologist at Nottingham Universities Hospital Trust, said: “(Anorexic) Patients who come to me with a BMI of between 12 and 13 are normally saveable. When they come to me with BMIs of nines and 10s then I am really breaking sweat. Had I got Emma when she had a BMI of 12 plus, I believe, on the balance of probability, she would have survived.”
Emma’s grandmother was also concerned about her anorexia at the time just before her passing. She decided to “strip” weigh her (making her remove all of her clothing) and found that her weight had dropped 16 pounds since the last time she had weighed her. The hearing at Nottingham Coroner’s Court is still continuing.
Anorexia is a devastating emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat. Many individuals, both girls and boys, and women and men suffer from this debilitating disease. Instilling healthy body image and being aware of those we love can help prevent these damaging thought patterns that drive individuals to starve themselves (many to death) by becoming anorexic.
Anxiety and Drug Abuse
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States. In fact, it has been reported that 18% of adults suffer from anxiety disorders in the U.S. Interestingly, only about a third of that 18% seek and receive treatment for their anxiety. Drug abuse and addiction can be made worse when anxiety disorders are involved.
An important thing to consider when seeking treatment for both anxiety disorders and drug abuse is a facility that focuses on dual-diagnosis cases. In these types of programs, individuals will treat the underlying problem as well as the drug abuse, as they go through detoxification, rehab, and are possibly prescribed medicines to help them.
There are specific anxiety disorders that most often occur with drug abuse. These include: social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), agoraphobia, acute stress disorder, panic disorder, specific phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Each of these anxiety disorders is defined briefly below:
- Social phobia. An anxiety disorder consisting of fear of public embarrassment or humiliation.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder. (PTSD) An anxiety disorder caused by any event that results in psychological trauma. The most common events that lead to PTSD are exposure to death or the threat of injury.
- Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is when someone has anxiety in environments that may be difficult to escape from. Usually, the individual believes getting help or getting out of their difficult situation many be hard or impossible, and this can set off an attack
- Acute stress disorder. When someone is exposed to a traumatic event, acute stress disorder can develop within about a month, causing severe anxiety or stress.
- Panic disorder. When an individual has panic disorder, they may have behavioral changes lasting up to a month and experience severe panic attacks.
- Specific Phobia. This anxiety disorder is characterized by having anxiety about specific objects or situations. When exposed to these things, people with specific phobia experience irrational or unreasonable fears.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Signs of people with OCD may include repetitive behaviors such as: being compulsively clean, checking locked doors again and again, hoarding, or having nervous rituals, like turning a lock back and forth before several times before leaving the room. This anxiety disorder is related to a feeling of uneasiness and nervousness or fear.
- Generalized anxiety disorder. Constant fear, worry and anxiety, is what makes up GAD. Women are more prone to this anxiety disorder and it is the most common of the anxiety
Treatment for anxiety and drug abuse together can be done in an inpatient or and outpatient setting. However, most agree that more progress is made in these cases when individuals use inpatient therapy for recovery. Many facilities utilize anti-anxiety medications and if patients are being monitored and watched in an inpatient facility while adjusting to medications, there is a higher rate of successful recovery in relation to anxiety and drug abuse.
If you’ve noticed any of the signals related to drug abuse listed below, you may want to press your teen further and ask some important questions like: “Have you been offered drugs?” If yes, “What did you do?” or “Have you been drinking or using drugs?” Even though no parent wants to hear a “yes” response to any of these questions, be ready for it. Don’t be afraid to err on the side of caution. Ask the difficult questions and decide, in advance, how you’ll respond to a “yes” answer. Not all teens are going to fess up to drug or alcohol use, and sometimes the signals are masked as other behaviors. The following list can help to identify signs and symptoms to watch out for. If you find yourself responding “yes” to many of these signs and symptoms, teaming up with a professional can help to stop and redirect the course of your teen’s life.
- Missing money from your purse or wallet
- The use of incense, fragrance sprays, or excessive perfumes/cologne to mask the smell of smoke
- Frequently breaking curfew
- Reckless driving, car accidents, or unexplained dents in the car
- Avoiding eye contact
- Excessive mints, mouthwash to cover the smell of alcohol
- Eye drops to make eyes that are bloodshot or dilated appear unimpaired
- Nosebleeds or runny nose, not caused by allergies or a cold
- Frequently sick: queasy, nauseous, vomiting
- Wetting lips or excessive thirst (known as “cotton mouth”)
- Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain
- Missing medications (over the counter and prescription)
- Over the counter materials that can be used for getting high such as computer cleanser, nail polish/nail polish remover, white out, hairsprays or other inhalants are found in personal belongings
- Increased sleeping due to depressants or decreased sleep due to stimulants
- Drug paraphernalia such as pipes, bags of seeds, rolling papers, empty bottles, baggies of pills etc.
- Secrecy regarding activities, interactions, phone calls and/or conversations that have coded language
- Bedroom is always locked and/or strictly off limits
- Messy, shows lack of caring for appearance, poor hygiene
- Red, flushed cheeks or face
- Clenching teeth
- Track marks on arms or legs (or long sleeves in warm weather to hide marks)
- Burns or soot on fingers or lips (from “joints” or “roaches” burning down)
- Loud, obnoxious behavior or laughing at nothing
- Personality changes due to mood altering drugs
- Unusually clumsy, stumbling, lack of coordination, poor balance
- Withdrawal and decreased interactions with proper friends
- New friends/people that are not allowed to meet you or be brought home
- Truancy or loss of interest in schoolwork, sudden bad grades
- Loss of interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, or sports
There’s no easy way to figure out if your teen is using drugs or alcohol. As you’ll see, many of the warning signs and symptoms of teen substance abuse listed below are also, at times, typical adolescent behavior. Many are also symptoms of mental health issues, including depression or anxiety disorders. But if your teen exhibits more than 6-9 of the behaviors listed above, it’s probably time to start asking the “hard” questions and getting some solid answers.
Talking to your preschooler about drugs and alcohol
Beginning the discussion about drugs with your preschooler may seem premature, but research shows that discussion between parents and their children about drugs and alcohol is one of the main ways to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. Different topics should be discussed at different ages and teaching kids about these things will open the doors for healthy discussions as your children grow and mature.
When talking to your preschool aged child:
- Discuss with your child why we need to put healthy things into our bodies. Talk about how good they feel when they eat a nutritious meal, get enough sleep, and take care of their body. Talk about how a healthy child can run, jump, and play for hours on end. Have your child name several favorite good foods and explain how these foods contribute to health and strength.
- Set aside regular times when you can give your child your full attention. Turn off the phones and other devices that distract you. Get on the floor and play; get to know them; let them know that you love them. Doing this will build strong bonds of trust and affection that will make turning away from drugs easier in future years.
- Provide guidelines and rules. For instance, teach about playing fair, sharing toys, and telling the truth, so they know what kind of behavior you expect from them. Encourage your child to follow instructions and to ask questions if they do not understand the instructions. Help your child understand the importance of following and understanding rules.
- Help them make their own choices. Whenever possible, let your child choose what to wear. Even if the clothes don’t quite match, you are reinforcing your child’s ability to make decisions.
- Explain that medicine can help people but can be harmful if taken incorrectly. Teach them that they should only allow adults in charge of them (mom, dad, grandparents, doctors, and babysitters for example) to give them medicine. Teach your child about dangerous substances in the environment. Point out poisonous substances in your home, such as bleach or kitchen cleansers, and read the product warning labels out loud to your child. Explain that harmful substances don’t always come with such “warnings,” and that your child should only ingest a food or prescribed medication that you, a relative, or other known caregiver has given them.
During the preschool ages of 3-5, children have strong ties to their family and seek their parents’ approval. This is a great time to teach kids about good nutrition, proper hygiene, and developing a healthy lifestyle. It’s also a good time to help children develop the decision-making and problem-solving skills they’ll need later in life. Although they are old enough to understand that smoking is bad for them, they’re not ready for complicated facts about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. However, they can practice the decision-making and problem-solving skills that they will need to say “no” later on. These skills will help them to stop and think before engaging in risky or dangerous behaviors related to drugs and alcohol as they grow.
FDA and E-Cigarettes Warnings
When e-cigarettes first hit the market the public immediately began fighting for ways to warn users of the effects. Most wanted lawmakers to enforce stricter packaging with warning labels and felt like, until recently, these pleadings fell on deaf ears.
Just last Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a 15-page “notice of proposed rulemaking” that requests warning labels and child-proof packaging on liquid nicotine and tobacco products (e-cigarettes). Most believe that the FDA has finally responded due to the increase in calls to poison control centers related to liquid nicotine, which is used in e-cigarettes. For instance, just in 2013, there were 1,543 calls to poison control centers. Many of these calls involved children.
USA today reports, “This historic proposal to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and require warning labels as well as federal approval is a huge step in prevention. Although it’s taken nearly three years, the FDA is moving to control not only these battery-powered devices but also cigars, pipe tobacco, hookahs (water pipes) and dissolvable tobacco products. Currently, the FDA regulates cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless products such as snuff.”
There are more battles to fight however. The proposed rules will help with warning labels and such but won’t ban advertising unless the products make health-related claims. They also will not ban the use of flavors such as chocolate or bubble gum in e-cigarettes, which public health officials say might attract children.
Why Accreditation is Key
When searching for a drug rehab, one of the first recommendations one may hear is to find a program that is accredited. Accreditation is key to finding the right rehab treatment facility. Being accredited doesn’t always ensure quality care, but it most often does.
In addition to getting licensed by the state, some addiction treatment programs choose to get accredited by a third party. In the U.S., drug rehab centers are most commonly further accredited by CARF (The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and/or The Joint Commission. When a rehab meets the CARF or Joint Commission standards, they demonstrate that they are committed to being the best in every way. They meet high standards of quality and are committed to individualized treatment and client satisfaction.
When searching for a drug rehab facility, it’s imperative that different places and avenues of rehab are researched. Accreditation can’t guarantee a successful outcome, but it is one of the best indicators of quality. By choosing an accredited program and asking detailed questions about the program staff, services and reputation, there will be more confidence in the drug rehab center that is chosen.
Are Cigarettes the Real “Gateway Drug?”
American kids often have a misguided concept of cigarettes because they are legal and used so casually and widely by so many. Tobacco advertising shows very respectable people smoking cigarettes, which may lead kids to perceive that they aren’t dangerous. Marijuana has often been dubbed “the gateway drug” implying that marijuana use leads to use of other dangerous drugs. However, not all kids have been exposed to marijuana, but kids have seen normal everyday people engaged in nicotine addiction with cigarettes.
Cigarette are much more accessible to many kids than other drugs, and its much more likely that a parent or adult figure in a kid’s life smokes cigarettes as opposed to marijuana. These kids are misguided by watching those they may love or respect smoke cigarettes and thinking that cigarettes are not as harmful/deadly as illegal drugs. However, nicotine will kill more people in a year then all of the hard drugs combined. And, the nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive and results in withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to stop smoking. Naively, parents may feel relieved to find out that their kids are “only” smoking cigarettes and not using drugs or alcohol, but the reality is that tobacco is commonly the first step towards drug addiction.
Nicotine addiction is a serious matter that affects millions of people worldwide. To downplay the fact that smoking cigarettes is addicting will harm our kids and society. Although marijuana and other drugs are very dangerous, smoking cigarettes truly can be seen as the gateway drug to extremely dangerous illegal drug use in the future.
Ecstasy use continues to rise among certain groups and populations in the US. Ecstasy, otherwise known as both Molly and MDMA, can be taken orally as a capsule or a tablet. Ecstasy is a chemical stimulant that is popular among young adults in the nightclub scene. The effects of ecstasy often include: changes in person’s mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain.
Ecstasy is very dangerous and can lead to fatal increases in blood pressure and heart rate due to the chemical effects of the drug. Further, ecstasy can generate confusion, depression, anxiety and drug cravings that can take effect immediately or possibly even weeks after ingestion. Some celebrities have admitted to taking the drug and have also chronicled the difficulties of fighting their addiction including: Eminem, Brittney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Jack Black.
Disturbingly, when ecstasy is taken in high doses, it can interfere with body temperature regulation, leading to liver, kidney, or cardiovascular system failure or death. Many don’t realize that ecstasy can be lethal even in its first use. Individuals who find themselves addicted to ecstasy are at a high risk for depression and anxiety as well as concentration issues and memory loss even after breaking free from their addiction. For this and other reasons, it is imperative that those addicted to ecstasy seek help in overcoming their addiction. Contact Turning Point Centers for help.
Illegal drugs in the workplace on the rise
A recent report in regards to the rise in drug use in the workplace shows a definite increase among workers. In fact, according to Medical News Today, the proportion of workers testing positive for illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, is fast approaching about 5%. The results came from a huge data-base that tested drugs in the workplace using urine analysis and other means (hair drug testing and oral fluid drug testing).
It was reported by the director of Quest Diagnostics, Barry Sample, that, “American workers are increasingly testing positive for workforce drug use across almost all workforce categories and drug test specimen types.” Quest Diagnostics is a drug testing company.
Further, Markus MacGill of Medical News Today reports that, “Data released by (Quest Diagnostics) shows that among about 6.6 million urine drug tests performed in the general US workforce, 4.7% showed positive in 2014 – up on the 4.3% proportion measured in 2013, which itself had seen the first annual rise in figures since 2003.”
The Quest director noted that they have seen prescription drug use on the rise in the past, but find it interesting that illegal drug use is also increasing now. Also interesting is that marijuana is the most commonly detected drug which is noteworthy if it means that workers are becoming more accepting of the drug since it’s legality has been passed by some states. Further, cocaine use has risen and amphetamine use has risen so high when illegal drugs were tested in the workplace that its now at its highest level on record.
These findings have many implications for the workplace. Workers may be less attentive, more impaired, and less capable of making clear decisions or acting under pressure among other things if drug use in the workplace continues to rise.