Breaking the Dependency
Drug abuse, chemical dependency, and drug addiction can occur with any mind-altering drug or chemical substance. They are available in almost any form imaginable, including liquid, solid, powder, pill, gas, or plant. A person suffering with addiction will find whatever they need to find and will use whatever they need to use in order to feed this deadly disease that centers in the brain and nervous system.
Today, drug problems are not limited to the standard illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine. There are also the “designer drugs” and the “club drugs” such as ecstasy, ketamine, and GHB, and the inhalants like nitrous oxide, amyl nitrate, paint, and glue. The exploding epidemic of prescription pill addiction is causing thousands of deaths from overdose and suicide and very often leads to heroin use when the pills get cut off.
Those suffering from drugs can experience:
- Loss of sleep
- Change in eating habits
- Loss of interest in sex
- Neglect of personal hygiene
- Frequent mood swings
- Poor attitude about life
- Anger & irritability
- Mistreatment of others
- Lying, cheating & stealing
- Poor relationships with family, friends & coworkers
- Problems at work or school
- Legal or financial problems
- Giving up favorite activities
Let’s face it: the use of illegal drugs is by definition a problem. The potential consequences of using illegal drugs include, of course, arrest and a criminal record, which can follow a person for life. No one sitting in jail ever expected to get caught, but the basic fact that someone would gamble with that consequence indicates a dangerous level of risk-taking that points to a problem. Just as with alcoholism, an inability to stop using, or an inability to stay stopped, indicates a problem of dependency or addiction.
However, many legal drugs are also used dangerously or illegally. Abuse of opiate and benzodiazepine prescription medication is exploding, and although these pills are readily available from drug dealers, mostly they are simply over-prescribed by doctors and misused by patients or obtained from family members or friends including those in Phelan or Lancaster.
Methamphetamine is obviously a huge societal problem today. It is responsible for a great deal of crime and addiction, and its users typically suffer a rapid downhill course. You can google “The Faces of Meth” for a dramatic and sad series of before-and-after photos that speak for themselves. Some of those faces died, some remain in prison, but some finally did get clean. So there is always hope for recovery, even for meth addicts.
Sadly, in most cases, medical marijuana has become the modern day “snake oil” that is promoted to treat almost every known symptom of almost every known disease, and the more vague the symptoms, the grander the health claims. In the opinion of most addiction medicine specialists, it’s another case of doctors creating addicts with prescription pads.
The marijuana legalization movement is being financed and promoted by hedge funds and venture capitalists and big-money companies using the same “Mad Men” advertising firms that made billions for Big Tobacco using the very same tactics. In 1978, the average THC content of marijuana was 1.4%. Today’s new strains average 18-30%, which of course makes it much more addictive and damaging. Billions more dollars will be made by getting young people addicted to weed by the same profiteers who made fortunes selling cigarettes.
Although people and their drugs and substances of choice may all be different, the disease of addiction is universal. However, it can always be treated. The brain will also heal from addiction in the same universal way, regardless of the actual addicting substance in Apple Valley, Adelanto, or anywhere else.
At First Step Recovery Center in Victorville, our goal is to empower our clients on a lifetime journey of upward improvement in every area of life, including family, relationships, citizenship, and personal spiritual growth.