Addiction is a complex disease you shouldn’t have to fight alone. When you struggle with addiction your entire perspective changes. Your mind and body are fixated on using—despite the serious health and social consequences.
When you’re ready to begin your journey toward recovery, your counselor will ask you to select a sponsor. A sponsor is a mentor or guide who’s been there and understands exactly what you’re going through. They’ve been through the recovery program, worked through the steps and no longer feel the compulsion to use drugs or alcohol.
What are the benefits of an addiction sponsor?
A sponsor provides crucial support and a background of experience to guide you through recovery. They’ll walk alongside you as you actively work to stay sober. While sponsors are vital during the early and middle stages of recovery, they are available to you throughout your entire recovery program. Here are additional benefits of having an addiction sponsor:
Individuals new to recovery may feel isolated. A sponsor can relate to your journey in ways no one else can. They can help you see the way forward as they share intimate details about their own path toward recovery.
Getting started is the hardest part of recovery and addiction programs can be overwhelming or confusing to newcomers. A sponsor will guide you through the process and share some of the stress of getting started. They’re also a valuable resource for answering questions about program details, literature or meetings.
Personal Support An addiction sponsor is someone you can confide in without judgment. They are here to listen to your concerns, keep you accountable and provide ongoing support and encouragement.
Relapse Support While one of the most important functions of an addiction sponsor is to help you avoid relapse, relapses still occur. Though it can be a disheartening experience, sponsors are there to help you learn from your relapse and help you get back on track.
Sponsors are a vital part of recovery. They are your cheerleader, advocate, motivator, listening ear and confidant. Addiction sponsors are waiting to help you along your journey toward recovery. For compassionate and supportive drug and alcohol treatment in Alpine, UT, contact Alpine Recovery Lodge at 877-415-4060. We’ve developed leading edge treatment programs that can be tailored to your specific needs.
Substance abuse is an overindulgence or dependence on any addictive or psychoactive substance, including alcohol and drugs. Substance abuse often leads to something called dependence syndrome. Dependence syndrome is best described as a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties controlling its use, continuing its use despite harmful consequences, and a compulsive desire for its use over other activities. Substance abuse can also lead to increased tolerance, which leads to more dangerous substance abuse. The most commonly abused substances in the United States are alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, hallucinogens, ecstasy (also known as Molly), and heroin.
As of March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act requires all health insurance plans to cover mental and behavioral health services, including treatment for substance use disorders. Your specific health benefits will vary depending on where you live and the health insurance plan you have.
Substance abuse insurance coverage
Insurance plans will cover the following substance abuse treatments:
Inpatient care in an approved facility
Outpatient care with an approved provider
Medical detox, including medications
Co-occurring mental health conditions
Maintenance addiction medication
Health plans accepted by Alpine Recovery Lodge
Alpine Recovery Lodge accepts the following healthcare plans:
and many more!
Please take a moment to fill out the Insurance Screening Form that will give us the information we need to verify your benefits.
Goals of substance abuse treatment
Whether you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or another kind of substance abuse, the goals are the same and include:
Abstinence The first goal of rehab is to stop abuse patterns and avoid picking them up again.
Treatment of co-occurring disorders Most people who struggle with substance abuse are often wrestling with a mental disorder, as well.
Honesty The best way to stay sober and avoid a relapse is to work honestly and actively toward recovery.
Perseverance Recovering from alcohol or substance use disorder requires perseverance and a desire to recover.
Relapse prevention The second largest goal of substance abuse treatment is avoiding a relapse. It’s important to learn the tools for resisting temptation and avoiding old behavior patterns.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse and need help, Alpine Recovery Lodge provides compassionate, effective short-term and long-term substance abuse treatment in Alpine, Utah. Call us today at 877-415-4060 to find out how to get started on the road to lasting recovery.
Recovering from substance abuse involves much more than just clearing drugs or alcohol from your body. Addiction of any kind is a complex disease involving the brain and body. It creates a compulsory need for something despite its negative consequences.
The number of people struggling with substance abuse in the United States is staggering. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) approximately 1 in 5 American adults (aged 12 and older)—or 19.7 million—struggled with a substance abuse addiction in 2017.
What is art therapy for addiction?
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that encourages self-expression through painting, drawing, sculpting, or building. It is often used as a therapeutic tool to aid diagnosis. Art helps everyone manage behaviors, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem in addition to many other mental health benefits.
Art therapy for addiction and substance abuse disorders was first introduced in the 1950s. It is widely used as a complementary and alternative medical treatment to help people overcome addiction. It is a non-confrontational approach for helping individuals acknowledge their addiction, accept medical intervention, discuss their feelings, and lessen any embarrassment or shame they may feel about their disorder.
Benefits of art therapy for substance abuse
The benefits if art therapy for addiction include:
Resolving emotional conflicts
Developing social skills
If you or a loved one is in need of a compassionate, effective, and individualized treatment program, call Alpine Recovery Lodge in Alpine, Utah at 877-415-4060. There is hope, there is help, and there is recovery. And you don’t have to do it alone.
If you’ve ever taken a walk or gone for a hike in nature, then you know about its healing effects first hand. The fresh air, natural light and sounds work in harmony to bring many people a sense of peace. Reconnecting with nature can also have a powerful and positive effect on symptoms of depression, tension and low self-esteem.
What is nature rehabilitation?
Nature rehabilitation is a type of experiential therapy that involves actions, movement and activities, rather than the more traditional, “talk therapy.” It is often very effective for those who have a difficult time expressing themselves verbally. For those struggling with addiction, rehabilitation using nature offers a unique approach that focuses on healing not only the body, but also the mind and spirit.
What types of activities are typically offered?
Wilderness therapy programs usually offer a wide array of physical activities, including:
White water rafting
Benefits of nature rehabilitation
Nature rehabilitation, also known as adventure therapy, acts as a catalyst for long-lasting change because it teaches skills that are transferrable to real world situations. It helps individuals learn to share control, give control to others when necessary, and assume aspects of control and responsibility for themselves. Here are just some of the benefits:
Increased sense of trust
Ability to work effectively as a team
Increased feelings of belonging and connectedness to both nature and other people
Improved mental health
Better control over moods
Mastery of basic survival and self-care skills
Embracing nature, experiencing an active lifestyle and participating in a comprehensive addiction treatment program helps affirm that a life without drugs is well worth living. For more information about nature rehabilitation at Alpine Recovery Lodge, call 877-415-4060.
No matter how helpless or powerless you feel right now there is hope. Domestic abuse and addiction are some of the worst things that can happen to a person. It is especially distressing when it’s happening to a loved one.
The road to helping your loved one that is not only in an abusive relationship, but struggling with addiction isn’t going to be easy. It will test your personal and emotional strength. But, if you begin with the end in mind you will double down on compassion, love, support and determination. Your loved one is counting on you, whether they realize it or not, and you can help begin their healing process.
Taking the first step in any situation is often the most difficult and this is no exception. The only way to break the cycle of abuse and addiction is to encourage your loved one to confront their problems. That is not to say they need to confront their abuser, but simply acknowledge both the abuse and the addiction are no longer acceptable.
Next, help them understand they are not to blame and they are loved, valued and worthy of a better life. Tell them they are not alone and remind them of all the people who will be there to support them.
Once they are ready to accept help, it’s time to do what you can to get them away from the abusive relationship and into a recovery center. You can start by filing a restraining order against the abuser, if necessary, and moving their belongings to a private location. Once your loved one is away from their abuser, it is time to check them into a recovery center. One that is dedicated to providing individualized and effective drug detox and post-traumatic stress disorder programs. Alpine Recovery Lodge provides safe, compassionate emotional processing support to individuals who need to work through their emotions in a judgment-free environment.
When patients finally begin to deal with the underlying emotional issues at the heart of their addiction disorder, life-transforming breakthroughs are achieved.
For safe, effective, and compassionate emotional processing therapy in Alpine, Utah, contact the Alpine Recovery Lodge’s licensed emotional processors at 877-415-4060. It is our mission to help your loved one overcome past perceptions and discard patterns of thinking and behaving that are harmful.
Alcoholism impacts people from all walks of life. At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we understand the difficulty of identifying and dealing with alcoholism, and believe more information always helps. It’s surprising when you realize how many people are turning to alcohol to help them cope with life’s challenges. People who suffer from alcoholism are often very good at hiding it from their friends, family and co-workers. It’s part of the reason why so many people don’t seek help sooner: they think because they are successfully hiding it from people that they must not have a problem.
In Utah, which is a largely Mormon state (which means that many don’t consume alcohol), some surprising facts have emerged that show just how damaging and far-reaching alcoholism is for people.
Despite being occupied by what is largely a dry population, Utah has some of the most unique alcohol consumption characteristics in the country. In our experience, these statistics add complications to the available treatment for alcoholism in Utah.
These alcoholism facts related to Utah may surprise you and have you thinking twice about what alcoholism may look like in your own neck of the woods.
1. UTAH TEENS ARE MORE LIKELY TO GET WASTED THAN THEIR PEERS NATIONWIDE.
A 2016 report on underage drinking in Utah found that while Utah teens are less likely to drink than teenagers in other states, Utah teens who do drink are actually more likely to drink to excess. Compared to a report released in 2013, the numbers have remained steady with teenager alcohol consumption amongst the worst, when it occurs.
According to the report, compiled by The Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, 17 percent of Utah high school seniors polled said they drank alcohol in the past 30 days, compared with 40 percent nationwide. However, of the Utah teens who drank, 72 percent engaged in binge drinking.
This is much higher than the 55-percent national average. The new data collected in the 2016 report shows that it has only declined a small amount. So while the average US teenager has actually begun to consume less alcohol than the generations before them, Utah remains largely stabilized.
This disturbing statistic means that many young Utahns are at risk of developing alcoholism, according to the report. With no change in over 10 years, the risks remain ever-present.
2. UTAH DRINKERS ARE JUST AS PRONE TO DANGEROUS DRINKING HABITS AS PEOPLE IN OTHER STATES.
Utahns are less likely to consume alcohol than people in other states — about 25 percent of the adult UT population consumes alcohol in any given month, compared to a national rate of about 50 percent. Based on this statistic, you might think that Utahns would consume alcohol only lightly or moderately. But this is far from the truth — among Utah residents who drink, unsafe drinking habits are just as common as in the rest of the country.
There is an interesting tension that exists here with stereotyping based on alcohol laws in the area and what is actually happening. Reconciling that tension is not made easier by the fact that people assume alcohol rates are low in Utah because of religious beliefs. As is the case with many social expectations, the influence of religion can actually drive people to participate in unfavorable activities. Living up to social norms and religious expectations can have the opposite effect that it intends with some people or communities.
According to a recent Utah Statewide Substance Abuse Epidemiology Profile, rates of heavy drinking and binge drinking among Utah drinkers are consistent with national rates. Since heavy drinking and binge drinking correlate highly with alcoholism, this means that Utah drinkers are just as prone to alcoholism as the rest of the nation, despite the low state-wide consumption rate.
This means that there are often pockets of people who are influencing or accessing alcohol consumption in a non-traditional way in the area. This tension can be confusing for people to navigate and ultimately can contribute to more alcohol consumption as a way to cope with what is right and what is wrong, according to society, family, or religion.
3. UTAH ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION HAS A HIGHLY UNUSUAL AGE DISTRIBUTION.
One way in which Utahns’ alcohol consumption patterns are unique is that problem drinking is just as prevalent in older people as it is in young people. In almost all other states, young people are much more likely to drink alcohol and to engage in risky drinking (e.g., heavy drinking, binge drinking) compared to older adults. This is not the case in Utah.
Utah has a flatter distribution of alcohol consumption and abuse, with adults in their 30s, 40s, and 50s actually consuming slightly more alcohol than people in their teens and 20s, according to the National Alcoholism Center (NAC). Older adults are also more likely than young people to engage in heavy drinking. According to NAC, this unusual pattern may actually complicate statewide alcoholism prevention efforts, as alcoholism awareness campaigns are usually targeted at the youth population.
It’s interesting to think about why this might be: is it because of the zero-tolerance related to underage drinking? Does the risk of drinking at a young age deter people from trying it and then indirectly impact alcohol consumption later in life? It’s hard to know how these statistics play out in real life and what the lasting impacts of them really are.
4. UTAH ALCOHOL LAWS DON’T STOP THOSE DETERMINED TO DRINK.
We know that the law does not stop people from getting their hands on alcohol, drugs, or other illicit substances if the person is determined enough. If teenagers want to drink alcohol, they will find a way. Alcoholism or substance abuse doesn’t mean you drink alcohol: some people drink high concentrations of cough syrup or huff gasoline to get high. It’s not always drugs and beer that get people in trouble.
Utah’s alcohol laws are much more restrictive than those in other states, particularly when it comes to serving alcohol in public. Nevertheless, some statistics indicate that these laws might not do much to curb problem drinking.
It’s safe to assume that much of this drinking takes place at home, but the fallout of the drinking spills over into other areas of life for people who suffer from alcoholism. It might not present as a problem right away, but over time, alcoholics have a hard time controlling their drinking and it impacts their lives, work, and relationships. Not only does drinking at home void the effects of public serving limitations, but it could also lead to problem drinking. Drinking alone at home is a major warning sign that you might have an alcohol problem, and it is especially dangerous when you are depressed.
The underlying cause of an addiction is often very difficult to pin down. People suffering from addictions don’t fully understand the addiction themselves, and a lot of work needs to be done to address both the addiction and the root cause of the addiction. At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we are well acquainted with this type of work, and we understand how painful and complicated it can be to go through this discovery process.
In some instances, an addict’s family history plays an intimate role in their addiction. For example, addiction and mental illness are known to be found in family units, and if a mother or father, siblings or even extended family members have battled addiction in the past, others are more likely to become addicts in the future.
What can make identifying the root cause of addiction difficult is that some individuals with addiction problems have no such family or personal health history. In fact, the true underlying causes of addictions may even surprise the person who is struggling with the addiction in the first place.
To illustrate the challenge of finding the root cause of addiction, we’ve outlined three unexpected causes of addictions, as we’ve come to see and understand them throughout our practice.
Addiction is an Adaptive Response
Under normal circumstances, humans are very good at adapting to new surroundings. We often feel overwhelmed at first, but then quickly settle into our new situation. If we are struggling with difficult things at work or at home, we find ways to cope with those feelings and issues.
For some people, however, adaptation is not so easily achieved,and people look outside themselves for ways to cope with their work or home life. Addicts, according to some experts, report that there is a deficient brain-reward system that occurs, which can feed into the adaptive response that we normally experience and turn it into a vicious cycle.
Even without suffering from an addiction, it’s easy to see how a deficient brain-reward system can cause someone to become addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, shoplifting, or a whole host of problems that may occur: it gives them “the high” they are chasing. When something feels good, even for a few minutes, we want more of it. In the brain of someone who is not an addict, they feel the “reward” of opiate-like neurotransmitters when receiving affection from a loved one. They get “the high” from things that happen in everyday life.
In the addict brain, however, some people have less of these neurotransmitters or experience a faulty system of releasing these chemical resources. To adjust to this internal deficiency, the addict may use a substance such as heroin to regulate their emotions in an attempt to find inner balance.
Of course, addicts don’t realize this is what is taking place neurologically; most people don’t give it any thought, actually. It becomes an automatic response: they feel negative emotions or have negative thoughts, and they reach for the drugs or alcohol to rid themselves of that feeling.
In other instances, people who have been diagnosed with conditions and been given medication to treat it, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, may decide to self-adjust their medication to have more focus or feel better. Over time, the effect of the medication becomes weakened and people turn to other illicit drugs to help them stabilize their focus. Cocaine, for example, is known to provide an acute focus for short periods of time, but because someone with Attention Deficit Disorder is always lacking focus, they continue to turn to the drugs to help them maintain that feeling of being in control.
Negative Reinforcement Can Cause Addiction in People
The positive “reward” system that drug or alcohol use provides people is often thought to be the main reason people use them to the point of becoming addicted. There are several theories, however, that show the opposite is also true: people turn to drugs or alcohol more and more often to rid themselves of the negative side effects of drug use.
When you take a hit and feel that euphoric feeling, it lasts for a little while. The withdrawal or “come down” experience, however, is much longer and often more painful for people who use illicit drugs. In order to cope with that withdrawal sensation and feel better faster, people use drugs again and the cycle continues. So it’s not that they are chasing the “high”, but they are avoiding the “low”.
Without realizing it, addicts can find themselves constantly just trying to feel normal again. A lot of people say they drink alcohol or take drugs first thing in the morning because it gets them to “normal”. That might be the reason in the beginning, but over time the reason can switch to avoiding pain and discomfort.
According to Dr. George Koob of the Scripps Research Institute, interviewed in this NBC News article, recent research has shown that while cocaine causes euphoria, the drug also releases brain chemicals related to stress and fear. These negative feelings linger long after the euphoria fades, and the only way to treat them is to use cocaine again, resulting in a vicious cycle. We all know how stress and fear can disrupt our lives and we often can feel like we’d do anything for relief. For addicts, that relief is just one more hit away…and then another…and then another.
Personality Disorders Can Lead to Addictions
Addiction is rarely a single problem. While the underlying causes might not be apparent right away, it is not uncommon for professionals working with addicts to discover and diagnose underlying problems, such as depression, anxiety, or even bipolar disorder. While these associations are valid, addiction experts say that conversations about what causes addictive behavior should also include personality disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder.
It’s important to point out as well that the presence of these disorders does not automatically mean a person will become an addict, but the correlation between the two does exist.
According to addiction expert Robert B. Millman of New York Hospital-Cornell Medical School, narcissists are well-represented in drug-addiction population; these individuals do not fundamentally realize that any world that exists outside of their mind is real. Without recognizing the validity of the “real world” – which includes the negative consequences of drugs – someone with a narcissistic personality disorder doesn’t have sufficient incentive not to use. In other words, to someone suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder, drug or alcohol use seems perfectly normal.
Individuals with personalities that are prone to risk-taking are also prone to addiction problems, says Millman. As risks start to provide less and less of a “high”, some people will turn to drugs or alcohol to “take it up a notch.”
According to Richard Taite, author and treatment specialist, pharmaceutical solutions for addiction do exist, but addicts must receive also receive psychological treatment to understand the root causes of why they use in order to change their lives. Without understanding the root cause, treatment cannot be as effective or long-lasting.
Identifying and Addressing the Causes of Addiction is Necessary for Recovery
Understanding where addiction comes from can be very complicated. Several factors, including your family history, responses to stress, current living situation, and potential personality disorders, can all play a role. Tackling these issues requires patient and compassionate guidance. At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we are here to help with this challenging work. To learn more about our treatment therapies for addiction’s underlying causes, contact us today.
For a parent, there’s nothing scarier than seeing your child struggle with an illness. This is also true of addiction, as it is a disease just like diabetes. In fact, one of the most common questions we hear from parents at Alpine Recovery Lodge is:
What can I do to help my teenager overcome their addiction?
That’s an important question to ask because the truth is that it’s easy for parents to make mistakes if they don’t have the resources and information they need to help a teen who has an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
It’s helpful for parents to learn how addiction affects the human brain – and in particular, the teenage brain.
The reason that some people develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol is that the addictive substance affects their brains. Specifically, they impact something called the rewards circuit, which releases a hormone called dopamine. Dopamine is what creates the high that people feel when they use drugs.
Teenagers may be more susceptible to addiction because their brains are still developing. Research shows that teenagers, in general, are:
Susceptible to impulsive behavior
More likely to engage in dangerous or risky behavior than adults
Liable to misinterpret social cues and situations
Less likely to consider the consequences of their actions than adults
When the teenage brain is exposed to addictive substances, the fact that it is still developing can amplify the affect the drug has on the brain and make it extremely difficult to stop using the drug in question. That’s one of the reasons that teenagers need their parents to understand addiction. Parental involvement is essential in the recovery process.
The Signs of Teenage Drug Abuse
Teenagers who abuse drugs and alcohol often demonstrate signs that their parents miss. Here’s what to look for:
Changes in your teen’s appetite or sleep patterns
An unexplained decline in grades and school performance
Withdrawal from extracurricular activities and hobbies
Withdrawal from old friends and acquaintances
Irritability, anger, and other changes in personality and demeanor
Bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or deterioration of your teen’s physical appearance
Unexplained weight loss
If you suspect that your teenager is struggling with addiction, keep an eye out for these signs. Anything that appears unusual, surprising, or unexplained might be a signal that there’s a problem you don’t know about.
Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Addiction
What should you do if you notice any of the above signs of drug abuse in your teenager? It can be frightening for parents to broach the topic. A teenager who is using drugs may react defensively or angrily. Here are some tips that can help you navigate the conversation.
Choose a time when you’re reasonably sure that your teen is not under the influence of drugs. It can be difficult to tell, but if you notice any physical or behavioral signs of intoxication, you’ll be better off waiting for another time.
Don’t attempt to have the conversation in public or with other people present. It may be difficult to have a one-on-one talk but speaking in public may make your teen feel ashamed or embarrassed and that won’t help either one of you.
Explain the changes you’ve seen in them and express your concern. Make sure to let your teen know that you love them and will do anything you can to help them.
Ask them if they’d be willing to tell you what’s been going on and then give them a chance to speak. Listen carefully. If you interrupt, raise your voice, or end the conversation early, you’re likely to miss out on important information.
Explain the risks associated with drug and alcohol abuse. They may already know, but it’s important to let your teen know that you’ve done your research.
Have someone on stand-by to call if something goes wrong. It might be a therapist or a substance abuse specialist, but it should be someone with experience.
Ask what you can do to be a better parent and listen without getting defensive or angry.
Talk about potential treatment options. You may want to include both inpatient and outpatient treatment and give your teen an opportunity to weigh the options before deciding.
If your child gets up to leave, don’t run after them. Let them go, take some time to regroup, and try again later.
The most important thing you can do is to remain calm. If you get angry, raise your voice, or threaten your teen with punishment, they’re likely to dig their heels in and ignore what you say.
If you feel that you can’t stay calm, you may want to consider hiring an intervention specialist to help you.
Resources for Parents
It’s natural to have questions and concerns about helping your teen overcome an addiction. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help you. Here are some of the ones we think are most useful.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse has a section on their website especially for teens struggling with addiction. It has information about how drugs affect the teenage brain, as well as videos, games, and other tools and resources. They also have a page for parents that provides facts about drug abuse, advice for talking to teens about drugs, and instructions for disposing of prescription medications safely.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of talking to your teen about alcohol abuse, check out the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s website. They have tools to help you find treatment for alcohol abuse in your area.
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending teenage addiction. Their website has a wealth of information about kids and drug abuse. They have a hotline parents can call to get advice about helping their child overcome addiction. You may also want to check out their parent blog, where you can read stories of other parents who have dealt with addiction.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a government agency. They have a national hotline that you can call to get advice and information. The number is 1-800-662-4357 and it operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their website has articles about substance abuse, resources for treatment, and information about a wide array of topics related to addiction and mental illness.
Before you talk to your teen about addiction, you should gather as much information as you can. If you go into the conversation understanding addiction and some of the challenges your teen will face going into recovery, you’ll be better able to help them.
The thought of talking to your teen about addiction may be a daunting one, but it’s the first step to helping them recover.
Alpine Recovery Lodge has a variety of treatment options that are suitable for teenagers. To request more information or speak to an admissions specialist, please call 877-415-4060 or send us a message.
What is new is that prescription drug abuse is in the news nearly every day. One reason is the precipitous increase in the abuse of opioid drugs, which are commonly prescribed for pain management.
At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we often get calls from people who want to know about prescription drug abuse and if it’s something they need to worry about. Here are some of the shocking statistics that tell the story of America’s prescription drug addiction problem.
#1: Drug Abuse Affects 10% of Americans
Prescription drug abuse is far more common than most people realize. The 2016 National Study on Drug Use and Health revealed that approximately 28.6 million Americans had used illicit drugs in the month prior to the survey being taken. Not all of those drugs were prescription medications, but the problem is clearly a significant one.
Taking a longer view puts the problem with prescription drugs into perspective. A study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 54 million Americans said they had used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in their lifetimes.
#2: Drug Overdose Death Have Risen Dramatically
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of deaths related to drug overdose was 63,632 in 2016. Here’s some information on what that number means:
66% of the overdose deaths were related to the use of prescription or illicit opioid drugs
Synthetic opioids like fentanyl were responsible for the sharpest increase in overdoses – 10 states doubled their rate from 2015 to 2016
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and West Virginia have the highest number of overdoses due to synthetic opioid abuse
These numbers help explain why the issue of opioid abuse has been prevalent in the news. Opioids have a powerful effect on the brain and are highly addictive.
#3: Teenagers Believe Prescription Drugs Are Safer Than Illicit Drugs
Abuse of prescription drugs has risen among all age groups, and that includes teenagers. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 6.2% of teenagers were abusing prescription medications as of 2014.
Even more disturbing, many of the teenagers surveyed said that they took prescription medications because they believed they were safer to use than illicit drugs. They thought this mainly because they are prescribed by doctors and manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. There is a profound misunderstanding of the dangers inherent in taking prescription drugs for non-medical reasons.
#4: Pain Relievers and Psychiatric Drugs Are Most Likely to Be Abused
There are thousands of prescription medications on the market, but many of them are not likely to be abused. The reason is that they don’t provide users with a high that activates the reward center of the brain.
Painkillers, especially opioid drugs. Opioids may be natural or synthetic. These drugs are commonly abused because they are highly addictive and affect the brain by triggering the release of feel-good neurochemicals. Some of the most commonly prescribed opioids include codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. Fentanyl is responsible for a large number of overdose deaths.
Anti-anxiety medications, which have a sedative effect on the brain. Some drugs that fall into this category include:
Alprazolam, prescribed as Xanax®
Klonazepam, prescribed as Klonopin®
Diazepam, prescribed as Valium®
Quetiapine, prescribed as Seroquel®
Stimulants, which are commonly prescribed for Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD.) Some drugs that fall into this category include:
Amphetamines like Adderall®
Methylphenidate, which includes drugs like Ritalin® and Concerta®
Over the counter drugs may also be abused, particularly cold medications and pain relievers.
People who have these medications in their homes should be wary of potential abuse and addiction.
#5: Opioids Now Kill More People Than Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is still one of the most common types of cancer. In 2016 alone, it killed more than 41.000 people.
What might surprise you is that, according to a CNN report, opioid overdoses killed more people than breast cancer in 2016. The total was 42,249, and that number is expected to increase.
That explains why coverage of the opioid epidemic has increased, but so far it has done very little to address the problem.
#6: The United States Has a Higher Per Capita Use of Prescription Drugs Than Any Other Country
Every year, the United Nations releases its World Drug Report, which analyzes trends in drug use around the world. One statistic that has held firm over many years is that the United States uses more drugs per capita than any other country in the world, including prescription drugs.
Some of the categories the report looks at it include:
The difference is most profound, not surprisingly, in the use and abuse of prescription drugs.
#7: Teens Often Prefer Prescription Drugs to Illicit Drugs
There’s evidence to suggest that teenagers may prefer prescription drugs to illicit drugs. One in seven teenagers said they had taken prescription drugs without a prescription in 2017. Some of the reasons they gave included:
Prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs.
Prescription drugs may be stolen from friends and family members
Drugs like Adderall® and Ritalin® can help them study more efficiently
Teens sometimes take stimulants to help them lose weight
While some teens may take drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets, they also sometimes buy prescription drugs on the street.
#8: Opioid Prescriptions Have Decreased
There’s no question that the opioid epidemic is a serious problem, but there’s some reason to be hopeful in the long term. A 2018 CNBC report detailed the changes in opioid prescriptions and use.
From January to December of 2017, new opioid prescriptions decreased by about 10% each month. Opioid prescriptions in the United States reached an all-time high in 2011, when the total pills prescribed averaged out to 72 for each adult in the country. As of 2017, the average had declined to 52.
Of course, it is still a significant issue. Looking at the problem over time, the 2017 numbers are still much higher than they were just 25 years ago. In 1992, opioid prescription usage accounted for just 22 pills per adult.
The same report indicated an increase in medication-assisted therapies to overcome opioid addiction. These therapies use drugs like buprenorphine to help patients who are addicted to opioids. In 2015, 42,000 patients a month were using these therapies; by 2017, it had increased to about 80,000 patients per month.
The statistics regarding prescription drug abuse are alarming, and it’s important for anybody who uses prescription drugs to be aware of the potential for abuse. Opioid abuse has reached crisis levels and substance abuse experts and government officials must work together to reduce prescription drug misuse.
Alpine Recovery Lodge has years of experience treating prescription drug addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, we’re here to help. Please click here to learn more about our treatment programs.
While many people dismiss teenage alcohol consumption with the words “oh, they’re just kids, let them experiment,” they don’t realize that this behavior can have lasting consequences. Studies have shown that kids in the United States have their first drink before the age of 13. This can lead to a number of issues, including violent behavior, alcoholism, and drug use, later in life.
People who start drinking alcohol during their teen years can severely impact their future lives. Below we share 8 dangers of alcohol consumptions for teens.
8 Consequences of Teenage Alcohol Consumption
1) Drinking alcohol can lead to promiscuous behavior
Sex and alcohol go together, especially when the participants are under the legal drinking age. It commonly happens at parties, those without parental supervision. One teenager pulls out a bottle of alcohol and the amount of peer pressure increases. Other students join in, and then sexual experimentation occurs. This is just one example.
In addition, teenage alcohol consumption is linked with unplanned pregnancies, having multiple partners at a young age, and even sexual assault. And this goes both ways. Not only are young women who’ve been drinking more likely to be the victims of sexual assault, but young men who have more than a few alcoholic beverages are more likely to commit those assaults. In fact, impaired judgment can lead to being the victim or perpetrator of other crimes as well, including robberies and physical assaults.
2) There’s a heightened risk of alcoholism later in life
Studies have proven that those who begin drinking at a young age are more likely to become alcoholics in their adult years. According to WebMD, teens are five times more likely to end up with an addiction to alcohol than those who waited until they were 21.
Although researchers are still determining whether early drinking and alcoholism are linked to seemingly normalized behaviors or if those teens were biologically predisposed to becoming alcoholics, the statistic is grim.
3) Violent behaviors can be common
Teenagers who drink alcohol regularly are more likely to exhibit violent behaviors. This is because alcohol impairs judgment, which affects the ability to make good decisions. After drinking with friends, they may stop thinking clearly and can become paranoid. They may believe that they are out to get them or hurt them in some way, which can cause them to lash out and hurt their friends.
While part of this is due to things like peer pressure and groupthink, it also has to do with biology. The amygdala in a teenager’s brain isn’t completely developed yet. This section of the brain is responsible for things like impulsive behavior and aggression. It explains why teens sometimes do reckless things, especially when they’ve been drinking. Alcohol impairment combined with an underdeveloped amygdala can lead to this violent behavior.
4) Alcohol can mask other issues
In Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood, author Koren Zailckas, who started binge drinking at an early age, wrote about how alcohol essentially stunted her growth. She drank to mask her insecurities and shyness, which led to an inability to socialize with her peers in a normal way. Of course, she didn’t realize this until she graduated from college and became sober.
This example isn’t a solitary case. In reality, things like social anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses can easily be masked by alcohol. It’s true for both adults and teenagers, although teenagers suffer the most. They’re at an age where they can get proper treatment for these disorders that will last into adulthood. Instead, they literally hide behind a bottle.
5) Alcohol can impact your brain’s development
During teenage years, your brain is still developing. You might think that you’re fully an adult, but this isn’t the case. Things like the amygdala, which we’ve already discussed, and the frontal cortex, which governs reason and thinking before acting, are still being developed at this point in time.
Not only does this mean that the lack of development and alcohol combine into a powder keg of sorts, but drinking can actually impair the brain. Everything that a teenager puts into his or her body while they are growing up can have an impact on the brain. In the case of alcohol, this leads to literal brain damage – the kind that means your brain won’t develop properly, hurting you in adulthood.
6) You’re more likely to drink and drive
There are numerous headlines about drinking and driving every year in May, usually around the time of the high school prom. While teenagers are more likely to drink and drive on prom night, they’re also likely to do so at any time of the year. Drinking leads to impaired judgment, and when you combine this with inexperienced drivers and teens who may not realize just how drunk they are, deadly accidents can happen.
7) Teens who drink are more likely to commit suicide
We’ve covered how drinking alcohol can mask many issues, such as depression. It’s important to note that alcohol itself is a depressant. This means that it can bring down your mood, leading to feelings of depression. When this happens, teens are more likely to commit suicide or exhibit suicidal behaviors after drinking. It doesn’t help that teens are impulsive and may do things while drunk that they feel embarrassed about when sober.
8) Experimenting with other drugs is more likely
Teenagers who drink alcohol are far more likely to try other drugs, such as marijuana, prescription pills, and even cocaine. Since they’ve experimented with one drug (alcohol) and liked it, they figure “well, why not try the others being offered?”
On top of this, it leads to scenarios where an already impaired teenager would do things, such as drugs, that they would never try when completely sober. This can lead to substance abuse issues later in life.
Know the Signs of Teenage Alcohol Abuse
The best thing that you can do is know the signs of teenage alcohol abuse. These include:
An increased (and unusual) need for privacy
Weight loss and poor hygiene
Coming home smelling like alcohol
Engaging in extremely risky behaviors
Lack of interest in things like school, sports, and hobbies
An unusual defiance of authority
Withdrawing from friends and family
What it comes down to is understanding your teenager. Some of these behaviors, such as defying authority, are typical in many teens. However, if your previously happy and well-behaved teen turns into one that no longer wants to listen to you and starts breaking the rules, then that is a sign that something is wrong.
What You Can Do
If you think that your teenager has been abusing alcohol, and/or might be addicted, then your best bet is to find them a treatment program. The best programs treat any potential underlying causes, as well as the alcoholism itself. Don’t waste another second – get your teen into treatment now, before it’s too late. We understand the consequences of teenage drinking, and now, hopefully, you do as well.