If your child is struggling with addiction, it is hard to know where to turn. You may have engaged in conversations with your child about treatment and they rejected your pleas. If your child is refusing treatment, there are still options to help your child receive the care they need and provide them with the opportunity to achieve sobriety.
Can You Force Someone to go to Rehab?
If your child is under the age of 18, you can take them to rehab involuntarily. Once you child is 18 or older, however, it becomes a more difficult. Once they legally become an adult, you cannot force them to go into treatment without the following factors in place:
You must prove that the person has an addiction to drugs or alcohol>
There must also be proof that the person has threatened, attempted, or inflicted harm to themselves or others
The addiction has become so severe that they are unable to provide basic needs for themselves (such as food, shelter, or clothing) and there is not another adult willing to do so
With these factors in place, you are able to pursue a court-ordered rehab or emergency hospitalization. Each state does have different qualifications, however, so it is important to get legal counsel before attempting these routes.
What States Can You Force Someone into Rehab?
Currently, there are 37 states, including California, that will allow you to force someone into rehab as long as they meet a specific set of requirements. These requirements fall in line with the same requirements of a court-ordered rehab above.
Depending on the state, a person can be detained anywhere from 48 hours to 15 days before a hearing is set to take place. In many states, an involuntary commitment of two weeks is instated and if the person is deemed able to care for themselves outside of the facility, they are released to outpatient treatment. Failure to comply with outpatient treatment can result in them being reinstated in an inpatient treatment program.
How to Get Someone to Go to Rehab
There are numerous options when considering how to get your child into rehab. Even if a person is not willing to accept help initially, there are ways to improve their receptiveness to treatment options. You can proceed with forced rehab options or an intervention to provide them with the opportunity to accept help themselves. Rehab is more effective when a person becomes willing to accept help and take active steps to achieve sobriety. Regardless of the method you choose, getting your child into a situation where they can assess their situation without the influence of drugs and alcohol is an important step to take in the recovery process.
Court-Ordered Drug Rehab
A court-ordered rehab is not the easiest path to take, but it is an option. This can be difficult for numerous reasons. Your child may feel betrayed or angry with you for turning them in which will be unavoidable. You must also seek legal counsel before pursuing this to ensure a court-ordered rehab is executed. Qualifications vary from state-to-state which makes it imperative to seek guidance beforehand.
In most cases, a form will be filled out indicating the need for rehab
This will then be submitted to a judge for review
A hearing will be issued, and you must then plead your case
Your child will also be given the opportunity to plead their case
Once a decision is made, your child will then be transferred into custody to enter treatment
Emergency hospitalization may be an option if your child requires emergency care as a result of substance abuse. Emergency-ordered rehab is generally issued when a person experiences physical and/or mental health problems as a result of abuse. Treatment can begin immediately through the hospitalization before transitioning into a treatment facility.
Upon entering the hospital, your child will be evaluated by mental health and addiction specialists to assess their condition. In addition to receiving treatment, they will be taken into custody to undergo screenings and may be evaluated by a police officer as well.
Much like court-ordered rehab, you will need to submit a form to a judge regarding why your child needs treatment
A hearing will take place to assess the situation and determine the best course of action
Holding an intervention is also an option if the above options seem like too much to handle. The advantage of an intervention over the other options is that it opens the door for the conversation to take place with your child and gives them the opportunity to accept help rather than be forced into it.
You can hold an intervention yourself, but consulting with an interventionist can help make the process more manageable. By discussing your situation with a professional, recommendations can be made for who to include, what to say, and where to hold the intervention. From there, you can prepare for it by practicing ahead of time and preparing for any possible negative outcomes.
Typically with an intervention, an ultimatum must be issued. This generally falls under the trope of if treatment is refused, consequences will take place. This may mean no longer providing financial support, no longer allowing them to live with you, or other means of cutting off support that may enable continued use. While this can be difficult, it is essential in helping your child realize their need for help. Learn more about holding an intervention.
What’s the Best Course of Action if Your Child Refuses Rehab?
If your child refuses rehab and you have the opportunity to force them into treatment, it is recommended to proceed with that option. In many cases, a person with addiction will refuse help multiple times before accepting it (if at all) and it is not uncommon to struggle with this. Even if your child feels resentment or a sense of betrayal, receiving treatment for addiction is paramount.
Many experience concerns that forcing someone into rehab will result in it being less effective, but that is not the case. In fact, forced rehab can be an effective motivator in helping someone recognize their need for treatment. It may serve as a wake-up call and help invoke the change you seek.
It is possible, that rehab, whether it is voluntary or not, will not be successful and this is largely dependent on the individual. Helping a person achieve the clarity of mind free from the effects of mind and mood-altering substances can help them realize the need for treatment. Even if forced rehab is not successful, it puts them in a situation where they must consider their options and assess their situation, which is a vital first step.
Call Sober College When It’s Time to Take Action
If you are ready to pursue treatment options for your child, reach out to Sober College at 800.465.0142, send us a message, or learn more about our admissions process. We can work with you to assess your child’s needs and determine the best course of action. Sober College is also able to help with setting up transportation and helping your child get into treatment safely and quickly. Regardless of the path you pursue, we can provide guidance and help you improve the successfulness of your child’s transition into treatment.
When a drug overdose occurs, it may be accidental or intentional. Someone can accidentally ingest something they should not have or may have taken too much of a medication by mistake. Someone can also be intentionally misusing a substance to get high or hurt oneself. Regardless of the way in which an overdose has occurred, it is important to recognize the warning signs and react quickly to minimize the consequences and connect with medical assistance as quickly as possible.
What is an Overdose?
An overdose occurs when the body is unable to cope with the amount of drugs in the system and cannot react to the level of toxicity. Under normal circumstances, the body reacts and takes action to minimize potentially harmful consequences, but at a certain point, the body is no longer able to detoxify, leading to dangerous physical and mental side effects. A person experiencing an overdose can sometimes not recognize it is occurring due to being under the influence.
Overdose may occur for a number of reasons. Tolerance levels vary from person to person. It may occur because the person has never used the substance before or because multiple substances were mixed. If a person has not used a drug they previously used frequently and tolerance has decreased, using the same amount they did before can inadvertently lead to overdose. The way the drug is administered can also impact the potential for overdose. For example, when a drug is injected, it can produce side effects more intensely and more rapidly than when taken in another form.
What Does an Overdose Look Like?
Drug overdose affects the entire body and can present differently depending on individual factors. A person’s age, weight, or history of substance abuse can all impact symptoms of overdose. While some substances may only produce slight symptoms of overdose, others can present life-threatening effects that may lead to severe life-long consequences and, in some cases, death.
Drug Overdose Symptoms
Although symptoms of an overdose may vary based on the substance used and the amount taken, there are some common signs that present themselves in most cases of an overdose. These symptoms include:
Pale or flushed skin
Increase or decrease in body temperature
Skin may become cold and sweaty or hot and dry
Gurgling or snoring
Rapid or slow heartbeat
No response to stimuli
Disorientation or loss of coordination
Passing out or unconsciousness
Signs of Opioid Overdose
Opioid overdose can be life-threatening, making it important to intervene as soon as symptoms begin to present themselves. Opioid overdose often causes the brain to become deprived of oxygen which can lead to permanent damage. When a person overdoses on opioids, they often exhibit the following symptoms:
Slowed or stopped breathing
Pale, clammy skin
Purple or blue lips and fingertips
If it is possible, keep the person alert and upright, and call for help immediately. If medical care is not administered as soon as possible, the consequences can be life-long or deadly. If the person is no longer breathing, providing CPR (if able to do so) until medical professionals arrive is critical. Depending on the severity of the overdose, an antidote medication called “naloxone” may be administered. Learn more about opiate abuse, addiction, and treatment.
Warning Signs of Meth Overdose
Meth overdose may be acute or chronic. Acute overdose generally occurs when a person has used a large amount of meth at one time and it can be fatal. Chronic overdose generally occurs in those who have used meth for a long period of time and is the result of cumulative use and may be fatal as well. Symptoms of overdose may include:
High blood pressure
High body temperature
Extreme mood changes
When a person overdoses on meth, they may enter psychosis and experience irritability, suicidal ideation, and psychotic episodes. They may begin experiencing tactile hallucinations, such as feeling as though bugs are crawling all over their skin. A meth overdose can be fatal, but it can also produce long-term hallucinations, paranoia, and permanent damage to the brain and the body.
Warning Signs of Cocaine Overdose
Cocaine produces a number of psychological sensations and changes. When an overdose occurs, a person becomes overstimulated and may experience:
High blood pressure
Dangerously high body temperature
Elevated heart rate
Overdose is difficult to predict with cocaine because it can be largely dependent on the purity of the substance used, if other substances were used with it, and the overall health of the person. Cocaine abuse is incredibly dangerous and even a first-time user can die from cocaine overdose. It occurs quickly and requires immediate medical attention to address.
Warning Signs of Heroin Overdose
Heroin is one of the most lethal substances in the world and an overdose can be fatal without immediate medical attention. The likelihood of an overdose is largely dependent on the purity of the substance used, if other substances were used with it, and the person’s age and weight. Symptoms of an overdose include:
Bluish nails and lips
Loss of consciousness
Heroin is an opiate and overdose requires immediate medical help. Naloxone can be administered to counteract the effects of an overdose. Although it is an illegal substance and you may fear legal consequences calling for help, most states have laws in place to provide protection against an arrest in the case of an emergency. Do not hesitate to reach out for help and provide CPR (if able to do so) if it is required. Learn more about heroin abuse, addiction, and treatment.
What to Do in the Event of an Overdose
If an overdose has occurred, it can be incredibly scary, but every second counts. You must act immediately to minimize the risk of life-threatening consequences. Be sure to seek help immediately: the sooner medical professionals can administer care, the better.
Call 911 immediately
Do not leave them unattended and stay by their side until help has arrived
If they are unconscious, be sure to lay the person on their side in case they vomit
Do not attempt to give them food or anything to drink
Try to identify what substance(s) they have used so that medical responders can begin administering the appropriate care as soon as possible
If you are concerned about potential legal consequences for possession of an illegal substance, most states provide protection from drug-related crimes. The Good Samaritan Law is enacted in 32 states, reducing fear of seeking help and minimizing the window between when overdose occurs and when responders arrive.
Prevent Overdose by Exploring Treatment Options
A person can experience overdose after using a substance only one time. Assessing your child’s history of substance use will help you determine the best course of action for treatment. Most people who experience an overdose have a history of substance abuse and treatment is vital in identifying the underlying reasons substance abuse began. It can also help identify co-occurring disorders that contribute to continued use.
Sober College offers a variety of treatment programs and individualized treatment options for young adults in need of substance abuse rehab. Reach out to us today at 800.465.0142 or send us a message to discuss your situation and determine the best course of action for your child’s needs.
While the terms “drug abuse” and “drug addiction” are often used interchangeably, there are several differences between the two. Substance abuse can often lead to addiction, but that is not always the case. In fact, it is possible for a person to abuse drugs or alcohol without becoming addicted. Regardless of whether or not abuse becomes addiction, both forms of substance use are incredibly dangerous and can have detrimental effects on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Identifying the differences between the two can help you determine the next steps to take in acquiring help.
What’s the Difference Between Substance Abuse and Addiction?
Whether or not abuse develops into addiction is dependent on numerous factors. Generally, the following factors play a role:
Family history of substance abuse (genetic predisposition)
The age at which substance abuse began
Frequency of use
Length of time a person has used drugs or alcohol
The biggest difference between substance abuse and addiction lies in how a person functions without use of substances. Drugs and alcohol affect the brain’s reward system, making those who use them feel good, encouraging them to continue using. When the brain becomes dependent on drugs or alcohol to feel this way, addiction develops. Use of substances begins to supersede everything else and a person will not feel “normal” without it. The desire to use drugs or alcohol outranks everything else that would otherwise make a person feel good.
Drug abuse can develop into addiction, but it does not always happen. Addiction, however, is always prefaced by substance abuse. Both abuse and addiction can have numerous consequences on a person’s overall health. Even if full-blown addiction does not develop, drug abuse is still problematic and should be addressed.
Signs of Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction
It is difficult to differentiate between substance abuse and addiction. Both can produce the same effects on a person but may present differently based on the substances used and the frequency of use. Signs of drug abuse also present themselves in a person struggling with addiction making it imperative to intervene at the earliest indication.
You may be able to tell the difference based on the frequency of the symptoms. Generally, a person who abuses drugs or alcohol still maintains some level of control over their use. They are not fully dependent on it to function normally and their frequency of use may not be so patterned. When abuse becomes addiction, it affects every area of their life. It causes their mental, physical, and emotional health to deteriorate and use becomes vital to their everyday lives. While both are detrimental to a person’s health, those who are addicted tend to exhibit worsening symptoms of use at an increased rate and may be at risk for more dangerous consequences.
Signs of Drug Abuse
If your child is abusing drugs, there are several telltale signs that are common across the board. You may notice the following physical signs of abuse:
Bloodshot or glazed eyes
Dilated or constricted pupils
Sudden changes in weight
Bruises, infections, or track marks
Your child will also begin exhibiting behavioral changes as well. Sometimes, you may be tempted to attribute these to the normal growing pains of adolescence, but substance abuse can change the way to brain responds to situations in monumental ways. Behavioral changes may include:
Changes in habits or priorities
Increased agitation and irritability
Changes in social circles
Recognizing these symptoms of drug abuse early on can help you intervene before addiction develops. Discuss your observations and concerns with your child to try and open the conversation about potential substance abuse.
Signs of Drug Addiction
Drug addiction can be identified by numerous factors and is generally defined by if two or more of the following develop within the same year:
It causes relationships to deteriorate and social problems to develop.
A person begins to experience withdrawal symptoms once use ceases.
All other activities and responsibilities take a backseat to substance abuse.
There is no desire to stop or minimize use and a person continues to use despite being aware of the consequences it is producing.
They begin to experience cravings for it.
Tolerance develops and a person must begin using higher doses to experience the same effects.
Pay attention to changes in mood, behavior, and physical appearance in your child to identify signs of a developing problem. Be sure to stay engaged and discuss your concerns with your child to keep an open line of communication.
Effects of Drug Abuse
Some people believe that experimentation as an adolescent or young adult is a normal part of growing up and do not feel as though it is as dangerous as addiction; however, it can have detrimental effects without reaching that point. This is especially true for teens and young adults because of the fact that the body is still undergoing major biological changes. The introduction of mind and mood-altering substances during this time can have numerous consequences on a person’s development.
Different drugs have varying effects depending on numerous factors. The potency of the substance, frequency of use, and whether or not it is mixed with other drugs can produce dangerous side effects that can put a person at risk. Substance abuse affects a person’s thinking, mood, energy, and perception of things around them. This combined with decreased motor-functioning, impaired judgement, and poor decision-making can put a person in a dangerous situation. Drug use can also lower inhibitions making a person more likely to engage in activities or behaviors they would not otherwise.
Drug abuse also puts a person at risk for being exposed to infectious diseases and a host of other health problems. Even occasional substance abuse can put a person at risk for overdose.
Effects of Drug Addiction
Drug addiction puts people at the same risks as those who only abuse substances occasionally, but it also comes with numerous risks for mental and physical health problems. Those who frequently abuse drugs are more likely to develop mental health disorders as a result. Prolonged use can cause numerous mental health conditions to develop that range from mild to severe in nature. Some of the most common disorders that develop as a result of addiction are:
Long-term addiction can also cause irreparable damage to a person’s physical health. Substance abuse can damage vital organs and lead to the development of physical ailments and problems. The kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs are often the most at risk for damage from substance abuse. It is not uncommon for those with addiction to develop or experience:
HIV/AIDS (from sharing needles)
Hepatitis B and C (from sharing needles)
In addition, those who struggle with addiction inevitably build tolerances that cause them to use larger amounts of substances in order to achieve the same effects. This can speed up the damage caused by drugs and alcohol and puts a person at increased risk for overdose.
What to do When Abuse Escalates to Addiction
If you recognize any of the symptoms of drug abuse or addiction in your child, it is important to take action as soon as possible. Intervening as soon as possible may help minimize the long-term effects of drug use. Contact Sober College to discuss your situation with a specialist who can provide guidance and set you on the right path. If you suspect your child may need more immediate help, learm more about our treatment options.
If you suspect your child is using drugs and is being dishonest about it, you may be looking for ways to find out the truth. While there are several signs your child can exhibit that indicate substance abuse is a problem, you may still want concrete evidence of what they are using and how serious the problem may be.
Administering a drug test is one of the easiest ways to determine what your child is using. There are numerous types of drug tests available and each one has the ability to detect different forms of drugs and the presence of substances in the system for different periods of time after use has occurred.
The Most Common Types of Drug Tests
There are numerous types of drug tests available and it is important to understand the differences between them before proceeding. The most common drug tests administered are:
Some drug tests are more effective at detecting substances than others and may be able to identify a wider array of substances in the system. The type of drug used, the form of drug test administered, and the individual are all factors to consider when evaluating the results. While some options are more inexpensive, they may not be as effective at identifying levels of a substance in the system or may be easy to cheat. For example, urine samples and at-home drug tests may be easy to cheat, especially in situations where the collection of the specimen is not monitored.
At-Home Drug Tests
Home drug tests are one of the first many opt to try. They serve as both a preventive measure and an investigative option. Because your child knows they will be regularly tested, they should be less likely to use drugs. If you suspect they are already using, it can help you determine if there is a need for treatment, but actions must be taken following positive results.
At-home drug tests are relatively inexpensive and can be ordered online or found in stores. These kits typically come with a collection cup and test strips to administer at home. There are options for both 5-panel and 10-panel tests.
5-panel tests can identify:
A 10-panel test can identify these as well:
Because they can only identify a limited amount of substances, they may be able to identify the type of drug your child is using. Additionally, at-home tests can make it easier for your child to cheat the test. With access to the Internet, your child can easily find ways to work around the test and pass it.
It is also important to consider the potential backlash that may develop as a result of administering an at-home drug test. Your child may feel as though it is an invasion of their privacy and possibly damage your relationship. Be prepared for your child to be resentful and possibly develop other behavioral issues as a result.
Hair Drug Tests
Hair drug tests are minimally invasive and can be purchased over the counter in some places. Hair drug tests can identify:
These types of drug tests are becoming more popular because they are nearly impossible to cheat. Hair testing can detect drugs for up to 90 days after use and substance use is impossible to wash out or mask. You can choose different panels of tests and these are able to detect the same substances a urine test would find.
This form of test requires a person to provide a sample that is 1.5 inches in length. If the person shaves their head, it is possible to also test body hair. If no hair is available, a urine test may be administered instead.
Blood Drug Tests
Blood drug tests are the most expensive and the most invasive, but they are also the most accurate. This form of testing is often used in legal situations, such as testing a person who is suspected of driving under the influence. Blood drug tests must be administered in a medical setting. While they are the most accurate, they also have the shortest detection period, meaning that the test must be conducted relatively close to the time use occurs.
Blood testing can identify:
This form of testing is virtually impossible to cheat, but they can be passed if a person engages in behaviors to try and flush the drug out of their system.
What Drugs are Undetectable in a Drug Test?
Some drug tests are unable to detect specific drugs making it important to try and find evidence of what substance you think your child is using. This can help you choose what form of drug test to use. For example, at-home drug tests are unable to detect hallucinogens or psychedelic drugs such as LSD or mushrooms.
Additionally, some drugs are unable to be detected because they are constantly changing. Synthetic drugs, also known as designer drugs, are substances manufactured in labs. Substances such as bath salts are constantly being changed to make them undetectable and avoid laws regarding legality.
How Far Back Can a Drug Test Detect Drugs?
Timing is key if you suspect your child is using drugs. Depending on the substance abused, some can pass through the system more quickly than others. It is important to administer a test as soon as possible to identify what your child is using. Below are detection periods for some of the most commonly abused drugs:
How Soon After Use Does it
Show on a Drug Test?
How Long After Using Will it
Continue to Show on a Drug Test?
How Accurate are Drug Tests?
Drug tests help you identify if substance abuse is occurring, but some are more effective than others. For example, at-home tests are often used because they are the least expensive and easy to administer, but they are not as advanced as lab testing. While they can identify drugs are in the system, they cannot tell you the amount. In this case, it is recommended that a positive at-home test be sent to a lab for further analysis.
Hair drug tests have become more popular recently because they of their accuracy, however, they can be expensive and can take a long period of time to process. Blood tests are the most accurate form of testing available, however, they are not often conducted because they require a person to be in a medical setting, can be quite costly, and are more invasive than other options. Unlike other tests, blood tests can tell you how much of a substance is in a person’s system at the time of the test.
Common Ways to Beat a Drug Test
There are numerous ways a person may try to beat a drug test. It is important to not give your child advanced notice of the test in order to minimize the likelihood of this occurring. If your child is aware of an upcoming drug test, they may research the window of time drugs are able to be detected to ensure the test does not return positive.
Some of the most common ways your child may attempt to cheat a drug test include:
Getting urine from a friend: A drug-free friend may provide urine to your child so they can pass a test.
Using synthetic urine: Synthetic urine can be purchased online in both powdered and liquid form. These can, however, be detected on a drug test.
Drinking lots of water: Your child may attempt to flush substances from their system by drinking a lot of water. This can also dilute a urine sample.
Exercising and dieting: Depending on the drug they use some substances can be flushed from the system using exercise and dieting.
Your child may also attempt to tamper with a test if unmonitored when administered. They may also use detox kits to try and flush their system and minimize the presence of substances in their system.
What to do if Your Child Tests Positive on a Drug Test?
Regardless of the method you choose, taking action following a positive drug test is important. If you use an at-home kit, be sure to send the sample to a lab for further testing. Administering a drug test without follow-up does not benefit your child and may put them on high alert to be more careful with their use to avoid detection in the future.
Give Sober College a call at 800.465.0142 or send us a message for more information about next steps to take following a positive drug test. We can connect you with specialists who can assess your child’s needs and make recommendations for treatment options.
Prescription drugs are easier to obtain than ever before. Medications are prescribed at increasing rates, making them readily available in most homes throughout the United States. Even if you do not have a prescription for these medications, chances are, you know someone who does. Prescription drug addiction can develop in anyone, even if the medication is intended for your own use. These medications are incredibly potent and because they have powerful, nearly immediate effects, it is easy to see how misuse can spiral out of control.
Most Addictive Prescription Drugs and Painkillers
There are countless prescription medications available on the market and the most commonly abused of these generally fall into any of the following categories:
While these medications produce a wide array of side effects, they are all highly addictive. Any amount of regular use can lead to the development of tolerances that require a person to begin using higher doses to achieve the same effects. Dependencies quickly develop as a result and when coupled with easy access, prescription drug abuse can quickly become dangerous. Although it is treatable, those who have struggled with prescription drug abuse must always be aware that reintroduction to these narcotics later in their lives can quickly lead to relapse.
Opioids or Painkillers
Painkiller medications may be prescribed for injuries, pain management, life-long conditions or ailments, and are often used following surgery. Some of the most popularly prescribed medications and their street names are:
Street names: Lean, Purple Drank, Sizzurp, Cody
Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
Street names: OC, Oxycotton, Oxy, Perks, Roxy
Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco)
Street names: Hydro, Narco, Vickies
Morphine (Duramorph, MS Contin)
Street names: Dreamer, M, Mister Blue, Morpho
Fentanyl (Abstral, Duragesic)
Street names: Apache, China Girl, Jackpot, Goodfella
Methadone (Methadose, Dolophine)
Street names: Junk, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Metho, Dollies
Opioids are available in pill form and may be ingested by swallowing, crushing and snorting, or dissolving in liquid and injecting. While formulations have changed in recent years in an attempt to make the drug harder to abuse, it is still regularly misused due to its ability to produce euphoria and sedation. It is incredibly easy to find painkillers in most households due to the prevalence of prescribing for these drugs. It is also not uncommon for those with an opioid addiction to begin abusing other opiates, such as heroin, due to ease of access and cheaper costs.
Depressants or Sedatives
Depressants are popularly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. These powerful medications lower the levels of awareness in the brain, causing feelings of relaxation and sedation. Sedatives may also be used to treat seizures or as an anesthesia. These drugs fall into a couple of categories:
Street names: Benzos, Tranx, Bars, Stupefy, Valley Girl
Barbiturates (Luminal, Seconal, Sarisol)
Street names: Downers, Barbs, Sleepers, Tootsies
Much like opiates, depressants may be abused by swallowing, crushing and snorting, or dissolving and injecting. These medications can cause drowsiness, confusion, and impaired memory. They are popularly misused with alcohol, another depressant, which can make it more life-threatening. Depressants can slow heart rate and breathing, and too much of these medications, especially when combined with other substances, can cause breathing to stop. Sedatives are easily available through a prescription and found in many homes. Prescription sleep aids are regularly advertised in commercials which contributes to the normalization of use.
Stimulants are readily available through prescription for conditions such as ADHD to improve alertness, concentration, attention, and energy. These medications fall into the same category as other stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Stimulants fall into the categories of:
Amphetamines (Adderall, Dexedrine)
Street names: Hearts, Bennies, Uppers, Amps
Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concentra)
Street names: Skittles, Smarties, Vitamin R, Diet Coke
Stimulants are abused by swallowing, crushing and snorting, or dissolving and injecting. These drugs are commonly abused by teens and young adults because they are misrepresented as a “study drug” due to their side effects of increasing focus and energy levels. It is not uncommon to find young adults abusing these to pull all-nighters or study for exams. While misuse may come from a place of good intention, it can put users at risk for strokes, heart attacks, or seizures. Stimulants are commonly prescribed for teens and young adults making them some of these easiest prescription drugs to access and misuse.
What Makes Prescription Drugs Addictive?
Prescription drugs become addictive because they affect the brain’s reward system. Specifically, prescription drugs can have a dramatic effect on the brain’s levels of norepinephrine and dopamine.
Norepinephrine is vital to the body’s fight-or-flight response. It can cause quick energy boosts that affect adrenaline levels and responsiveness. Dopamine is key in triggering both physical and mental alertness. High levels of dopamine decrease fatigue and increase energy. It’s also a vital part of the brain’s reward center and motivation. Dopamine can be released during any feel-good activities including eating good food, spending time with friends, and from sexual activity. The release of dopamine is what provides motivation to continue engaging in those activities moving forward.
Almost all drugs have an effect on the brain’s reward system which is what makes them so addictive. Prescription drugs essentially hijack the brain and teach the brain that using drugs feels good and a person should continue to do so in order to feel those effects again. Consequently, as a person begins using drugs more frequently to achieve feelings of euphoria, the body begins to build tolerances which means a person must use higher doses in order to achieve the same effects. This vicious cycle is detrimental and can quickly lead a person down the path of full-blown dependency and addiction to even feel normal.
How to Tell if a Young Adult is Addicted to Painkillers
It can be difficult to tell when addiction develops. Because a doctor prescribes these medications, use of them may seem normal or essential. It is important to monitor the frequency of use and how quickly your child may be going through their prescription. You may begin to notice symptoms of abuse due to side effects or withdrawal symptoms. Changes in behavior, energy levels, hygiene, and interactions with others are often common signs of a develop addiction.
Symptoms of prescription drug addiction largely depend on the type of drug used. If you notice priorities changing, poor performance in work or school, increased secrecy, lying, or stealing, it is often an indicator that addiction has developed. Additionally, you may find your child presenting false symptoms in an attempt to get more prescription drugs. If they are unable to obtain the prescription from a doctor, they may begin engaging in “doctor shopping” to find someone who will provide one.
Intervening in a Young Adult’s Prescription Drug Abuse
If you believe your child is struggling with prescription drug addiction, it is important to intervene as soon as possible. You may consult an addiction specialist to assess the situation and determine the next best steps. In most cases, moving forward with an intervention can help you start the conversation and move your child into treatment.
Sober College can help you connect with specialists who can provide treatment options for your child. For more information, please give us a call at 800.465.0142 or send us a message and we will be in touch to discuss your needs.
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In substance abuse treatment, counseling certifications and counselors themselves go by numerous names and titles. Depending on where you are located different titles are used to refer to professions with similar responsibilities; however, the type of certification obtained by an individual helps distinguish the level of care a person is able to provide and the career opportunities available to them.
Credentials and Certifications
The National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCCAP) has created national-level standardized certifications for addiction counselors. This standardized approach to training addiction counselors ensures that all participants have current, relevant knowledge that allows them to work within the field. It also ensures that counselors are able to perform at a specific level and it provides a baseline for quality care throughout the country.
There are various paths a person can take in obtaining certification, and each level of certification provides varying degrees of formal training. Levels of certification include:
National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I (NCAC I)
National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II (NCAC II)
Master Addiction Counselor with Co-Occurring Disorders Component (MAC)
There are also variations of these titles that are state specific. For example, in California, counselors are referred to as Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Level I (CADC I) or Level II (CADC II). The change is levels depends on the amount of experience they have actually working in the field. Another example is that a “Master” may refer to a similar credential as one that is called “Licensed.” Learn more about the specific names of certifications in your state.
Additionally, it is possible to obtain specialized certifications through credentials such as:
Nicotine Dependence Specialist (NDS)
National Certified Adolescent Addiction Counselor (NCAAC)
National Endorsed Student Assistance Professional (NESAP)
National Clinical Supervision Endorsement (NCSE)
National Endorsed Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (NECODP)
National Peer Recovery Support Specialist (NCPRSS)
The certifications a person obtains determines the title they take on in the field.
Titles in Addiction Treatment
Addiction has not always been viewed as a disease and as discussions surrounding addressing addiction treatment evolved, titles for those working the field needed to change to become more inclusive. The varying titles reflect the views or ideas about addiction at the inception of the job and do not indicate differences in the type of treatment provided.
For instance, a substance abuse counselor may be called:
Substance Use Disorder Counselor
Chemical Dependency Professional
Alcohol and Drug Counselor
Titles however, can give some indication about the level of service a person can provide and indicate their scope of practice. For example, a title that includes “therapy” or “therapist” indicates a person has a higher level of education and training in the field. Title can also indicate if a person is affiliated with a specific board or has achieved specific training.
Often times, terms such as “counseling” and “therapy” are used interchangeably and public perception frequently shifts based off the term used. Preconceived notions about what these terms mean in relation to the services provided influence the title a person chooses. Additionally, if a person chooses to explore a specific area of practice or implements particular theories or ideas in treatment, they may choose to further individualize their titles.
Certification Add Value
Obtaining a certification, license, or degree in a particular area adds value making them more desirable to employers. Not only are there laws in most states requiring employees to obtain certain certifications or degrees in order to work in an accredited program, but having “letters” behind your name means you are credible, have the hard skills necessary to perform the job, and makes you eligible for higher positions within a treatment organizations.
Interested in Getting Started?
If you are interested in working the growing field of addiction treatment get stared today with a Certification in Drug and Alcohol Counseling. Visit our website or contact us to learn more about earning the education you need.
Attention needs to be paid to the lack of oversight that exists in the substance abuse treatment industry. These issues are important to understand so that clients and families of clients struggling with substance use disorders are not taken advantage of and harmed. More and more people are becoming aware of the unethical, illegal, and dangerous practices of several rehabilitation providers but there has been little to no information or resources provided to help families locate the treatment centers that ARE using evidence-based modalities, ARE providing long-term, life-changing treatment for the millions of people in the United States who are struggling. It is unfortunate that the bad apples are hindering the programs that are doing things right and really helping those who are struggling. There are many programs and professionals that have devoted their lives to help people heal. Using a broad brush to paint a completely negative picture of the entire treatment industry, does a disservice to the millions of people who need help and are looking for effective healing.
Yes, we need federal standards and mandates and more outcomes research to protect those in need of help. In the meantime, it is extremely important that families who are looking for help learn how to advocate for themselves and do their own research to find treatment centers that work. Read below or watch the video to the right and hear from Dr. Holly Daniels about tips for finding the right treatment center for yourself or a loved one.
What Families and Clients Can Do to Find Ethical, Evidence-Based Treatment
Do your research. Ask a local psychotherapist, medical doctor, treatment consultant, or friend you trust about which treatment centers they recommend.
Make sure the treatment centers are licensed. It is important that the program you or your loved on attended are licensed by their state (i.e. in California, the Department of Healthcare Services (DHCS)) and accredited by an independent treatment oversight organization like the Joint Commission or CARF.
Talk to other families and alumni of the program. As part of your initial search, if you talk with an admissions person and are interested, ask to speak with families and/or alumni who have gone to the treatment center to make sure that the center delivers what they promise on their website. Treatment centers should have a list of alumni and/or family members who have given permission for potential families to contact. If you have questions and specifics to asked and you will be able to tell right away if these people are legitimate.
Call and/or visit several centers. Talk to the clinical team and look at the program schedule. Ask to make sure they are using evidenced based modalities such as CBT, DBT, trauma therapies and medication management. Take a look at the facilities, ask about supervision, family therapy and family involvement and more.
Ask the treatment center about continuing care options for after leaving the treatment center. We know that addiction is a chronic condition that needs long-term support. An ethical and successful treatment center will be able to talk with you about all of the different stages of effective treatment, and how the residential phase is only a piece, although an important piece, of the long-term trajectory. An ethical treatment center will help a client build their treatment support plan for the long term after they leave treatment.
Addiction, or substance use disorder, is complex and difficult to treat, difficult to recover from. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to help people as we can, while the regulations and oversight catch up. Do not believe the message that “All Treatment” is bad and unethical and unhelpful. There are programs out there doing quality, evidence-based, and effective treatment. Please use these tips so you are able to find them.
Have questions about finding a reputable program for yourself or a loved one?
Call 800.465.0142 to speak with an admissions counselor.
So, you have done it: you have completed your certification and you are now ready to interview for jobs. Interviewing for any position can be stressful, but you can prepare ahead of time by considering likely interview questions and how you may best answer them. We have put together a list of questions to consider and advice on how to make the best impression.
Preparing for an Interview
First and foremost, if you are going to interview for a counseling job, you will need to be Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. If you are not already, learn more about how to become certified.
Interview questions for a Substance Abuse Counselor role may explore your own experiences as well as your understanding of the role of a counselor and concepts surrounding substance abuse treatment. Questions may include:
Why do you want this job? Being able to communicate what makes you passionate about substance abuse counseling is critical. You will spend a great deal of time with a variety of people experiencing many ups and downs throughout the process. Conveying examples of traits that would make you a great fit for the position in addition to connections you feel you have to the establishment itself can make you stand out.
What have you learned from mistakes in the field? Everyone makes mistakes, but the ability to learn and grow from them is important. Having specific examples is critical in interviews; vague responses without details can make you seem less credible.
What challenges are you looking for? Discussing challenges or goals can help your employer get a better idea about how you work and if you are a good fit. You can use this as an opportunity to discuss your strengths and how you would apply them to challenges. You may also describe examples of challenges you have faced and overcome in the past.
What is your biggest weakness? This is a difficult question to answer because there has to be balance. On one hand, you cannot say you have no weaknesses, but on the other hand, you want to make sure you do not talk yourself out of the running. Being aware of your weaknesses and how you may work on addressing them is a positive quality.
Why should we hire you for this position? This question is the perfect opportunity to sell yourself on all fronts. Your skills, experience, education, and personality traits can all be selling points for the interview, but be sure to have relevant concrete examples. If you do not have experience, you can also make up for it by sharing passion and enthusiasm. Loving the work you do and being invested in it is just as desirable of a quality.
What do you know about us? A candidate that does their homework and researches the place they are applying to stands out. Knowing about their services, how long they have been established, and other key information can improve your interview. Sharing information you connected with or having questions prepared about what you found is also a bonus.
In addition to these interview questions, they may ask you situational questions to assess how you would handle specific situations. Some examples of questions like this include:
How would you handle a client who is aggressive?
How do you monitor progress in treatment?
What do you do in cases where a client experiences relapse?
How do you deal with a crisis or emergency?
The interview will more than likely wrap up with “do you have any questions for us?” Always be prepared to ask a couple of questions in the interview such as what their experiences are working in the field, if they have any advice for someone coming into the position, or what do they look for in a co-worker. This shows you are genuinely interested in getting to know your potential employer and determining if you are a match. Respond to them with enthusiasm and express how their answers align with what makes you the right person for the job.
Above all else, be genuine and share your passion in the interview. Your personality, energy, and ability to connect with others is crucial to success in addiction treatment.
Have questions about becoming a certified counselor?
Call 866.61.LEARN to speak with an admissions representative.
If you are interested in working with clients and their families through challenging life situations, social work or substance abuse counseling may be career paths you want to explore. Social work and counseling are both fields that have grown substantially in recent years. While there is substantial overlap between the two fields, there are several factors to consider when choosing which direction to go.
A Career in Social Work
Following the path to becoming a social worker allows you to provide support to individuals, their families, and at-risk populations. While a social worker does help people obtain mental health services, their work often goes beyond mental health needs. In addition to providing one-on-one counseling, social workers often assist clients in obtaining services that improve their environment including connecting them with housing programs, support groups, employment assistance, and other resources.
A degree in social work can allow you to take on careers such as:
A Career in Substance Abuse Counseling
While a substance abuse counselor can provide many of the same services to clients that a social worker would, much of their work focuses on individual growth, both mentally and emotionally, through individual therapeutic sessions. Substance abuse counselors help clients work through difficult emotional hurdles and other life experiences that may threaten their sobriety. Through regularly evolving sessions, clients learn how to develop healthy coping mechanisms and are better able to adapt to different situations.
While both a licensed social worker and substance abuse counselor can provide mental health services, substance abuse counselors largely focus on helping clients through behavioral therapy and other forms of mental health treatment while social workers help clients form meaningful connections within communities of support. Additionally, while a person can operate within the scope of both jobs, the two occupations are not interchangeable. Generally, the role of a social worker is broader than the role of a counselor.
Both paths require completion of a program and in some cases, licensure must also be obtained. These requirements are largely dependent on what state a person lives in. It may also depend on what your career goals are. If you are more interested in a concentrated area of practice, counseling would provide you with the tools and resources to focus on specific areas of interest. If you prefer an environment that allows you to work in a variety of settings and provides you with the flexibility to adapt to varying client needs, social work may grant you more freedom to explore that. Regardless of which path you choose to follow, the need for both substance abuse counselors and social workers is growing and demand is expected to continue trending upwards.
Interested in becoming a substance abuse counselor?
If you discover your child is using marijuana, you may be struggling with numerous emotions. From feeling upset about your child’s substance use to experiencing a sense of guilt regarding actions you could have taken, adolescent drug abuse is a reality many parents face. Due to perceptions regarding the safety of use and the movement to legalize marijuana, adolescents are increasingly at risk to begin experimenting with the drug. As parents, it can be difficult to navigate this terrain, but it is important to engage with your child as soon as possible to address the problem before it gets out of hand.
If Your Child is Using Marijuana
In many cases, knowing your child is using marijuana is half the battle. Many adolescents will go to great lengths to conceal substance use from their parents. Finding evidence of marijuana use can be an emotional experience, but it can also help you prepare for how to move forward in addressing your child. You may find drug paraphernalia or may notice physical and behavioral changes in your son or daughter. Approaching your child about suspected drug use can be a stressful experience so be sure to consider the following:
Wait until your child is sober to start the conversation
Understand that anger or hostility will not help the conversation – instead, focus on communicating your concern in a less confrontational way
Have evidence or examples that cannot be disputed to remove your child’s ability to deny use
Have ideas about solutions to help them stop using marijuana
Be clear that drug abuse will not be tolerated and prepare consequences of use should your child continue use – be prepared to follow through on those ramifications as well
Provide ways you can reconnect with your child and establish trust again
Be responsive to your son or daughter’s efforts to change their behaviors
Depending on the severity of your child’s individual situation, you may also consider using an interventionist to help facilitate these conversations. They can provide an outside perspective that can help you manage your feelings and approach the topic in the best way possible. Additionally, interventionists can help you and your child transition into next steps; often times, this may mean beginning treatment for addiction.
Treatment for Marijuana Abuse
After approaching your child about using weed, you may see entering treatment as the next step for your child’s recovery. While in some cases, a person can stop using marijuana without professional assistance, a marijuana treatment program can help equip your child with the tools they need to manage their sobriety effectively. Marijuana use can also be accompanied by co-occurring mental health disorders. Substance abuse may develop as a method of self-medicating for certain conditions making professional treatment an important step for most.
While many argue that marijuana is not an addictive substance, it can cause dependencies to develop in which a person must use marijuana to feel normal. The earlier in life a person begins using the drug, the more likely they are to develop an addiction. Signs your child may need professional help include:
Experiencing cravings for the drug
Increased tolerance leading to higher dosages/increased frequency of use
Cutting back on other areas of life for marijuana
Inability to stop using the drug
Therapy for marijuana addiction may include a variety of treatment methods. The goal of treatment is to help young adults and adolescents develop coping mechanisms for stressors and other triggers that they may usually use drugs to treat. Therapy often focuses on helping your child develop problem-solving skills and changes in lifestyle to support a healthier approach to challenges. Rather than relying on marijuana to escape stressors, your child is encouraged to develop the independence and confidence to manage sobriety effectively. In addition, your child will also be equipped with the tools needs to reduce the likelihood of relapse and feel comfortable in saying “no”.
Marijuana abuse can have numerous adverse effects on your child’s physical and mental health. Regardless of what treatment methods you choose to pursue, it is important to intervene early and work with your child to help them overcome addiction. Starting the conversation is an important first step, and with the aid of numerous resources, you can help your child receive the right treatment for marijuana use.
Have questions regarding how to help your son or daughter get the help they need?
Call 800.465.0142 to speak with an admissions counselor.