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Substance Abuse


 Darren’s Story of Addiction and Triumph

Healthy man stands with arms open happy to regain his life after substance abuse and addiction treatment at Destination Hope.

My story began as a child witnessing what I thought were the best parts of life. Up late on weekends, little supervision, and get to hang out with grown-ups. My parents were young when they had me and as an only child, I got to see a lot of stuff. Growing up we weren’t poor, I always had a roof over my head, hot meals, and clothes. So, from an outside perspective our family looked like we had it together. Behind closed doors is where I got a close up of madness and chaos. I witnessed domestic violence, rowdy friends, little to no respect for females, let alone anyone, strong hate for certain races, sexualities, and authority. My parents divorced at the age of 5 and the new man in the picture was of the same nature as my father. Party lifestyle. Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll. The next 3 years of my life, I moved to a different city each year – new friends, new town, new house, new beginnings. At the age of 8 I had my first drink on a camping trip and I remember loving the feeling. I had snuck drinks before in the past and had grown up in the bar scene, being back and forth with my mom and dad. Finally landed in Fort Collins, Colorado where I would remain until I graduated.

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Substance Abuse: America’s Problem

Drug tablets and capsules arranged to spell out detox, the first step in many substance abuse treatment programs at Destination Hope In Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Substance abuse overdose is epidemic in our society. Statistics show that in 2019 over 7 million adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20 reported that they drank more than a sip of alcohol in the previous month. 20% of seniors in high school report they have taken prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them. And the overall overdose rate in Americans rose by 4% from 2018 to 2019.

Not only do Americans begin to abuse drugs and alcohol an earlier age, but the abuse is following many in our society through the remainder of their adult lives. For example, substance abuse has reached outrageously high levels in the senior citizen community. Studies indicate that 33% of alcoholics developed their problem in their later years of life.

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The ABCs of Choosing a Treatment Plan

Clients in Support

Admitting you have a substance abuse problem and seeking treatment takes courage. The ideal treatment option depends on your age, physiology, medical history, and whether you have other pre-existing mental or physical health conditions. Before treatment, you should understand the ABCs of choosing a treatment plan, plus what to expect from your clinician and from yourself. The primary objectives of addiction treatment include education, detoxification, and developing positive coping strategies.

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Stress Management at The Front Lines of Medicine

Stress management is an important issue in our modern world, and some occupations are more acutely associated with stress than others. First responders like our EMTs nurses and doctors, especially with the current COVID-19 crisis, face enormous levels of stress daily. Without optimum stress management, these frontline medical professionals are vulnerable to the effects of stress, which can be extremely damaging to their physical and mental health.

Stressed Man With Head in Hands

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How Substance Abuse Increases the Risk of Infection, Even Coronavirus

While the coronavirus has yielded staggeringly high infection numbers around the world and even in the United States, the death rate has remained in single digits for most people and extremely low for healthy younger individuals. However, for the elderly and those with immunocompromising conditions, the risk of severe complications and even death is exponentially higher. While we are still early on in the epidemic, and we don’t know much, it is very clear that those with medical problems are at the most risk.

To that end, it is extremely important that substance abusers and their loved ones prioritize recovery and abstinence in the form of appropriate medical and therapeutic treatment as soon as possible. Research performed on substance abusers show a strong correlation with abuse and complications associated with flu and other infectious diseases. We expect this is no different with coronavirus. Ultimately, the problem rests in the fact that drugs of abuse and alcohol can suppress the immune system, making the body less able to fight off infection.

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Substance Abuse Treatment Must Continue Through the Coronavirus Outbreak

With coronavirus and related shutdowns dominating the headlines over the past few weeks, it can be difficult to see past that and remember that many of the societal crises that were top of mind just a couple months ago, still exist. One of these is the extreme rise in opioid addiction and overdose that the United States has been experiencing for the past few years. As we refocus on this new and exotic medical threat to our society, the substance abuse and addiction has taken a backseat. Well there’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic needs to be dealt with immediately, ignoring the very real and continuing scourge of addiction is at our own risk.

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How Common Is Addiction?

We hear heartbreaking stories of addiction, overdose and relapse virtually every day. In most cases, these stories relate to celebrities or otherwise well-known people that have succumbed to the disease. Alternately, we hear of truly shocking behaviors that happened under the influence. Sadly, the day-to-day stories about addiction are too many to cover and have, for most people, become normal and expected. Overdose deaths often become the norm, in many people’s eyes, with the overwhelming statistics we see on drug use and addiction. This is not totally surprising. Indeed, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that almost everyone has been affected by addiction or knows someone who has battled substance abuse or addiction – either alcohol or drugs.

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When Does Substance Abuse Become Addiction?

When evaluating the statistics on substance use, whether it be alcohol, drugs or any other illicit or legal substance that has addictive properties, it can be shocking to see how many people use on a regular basis. And while substance use is certainly a precursor to substance abuse, not everybody who uses, ends up abusing.

Substance abuse and addiction are often lumped into one category but are, in fact, quite distinct. Both cause adverse effects but are separated primarily by how the brain and body react to the substance and how the individual continues to use despite negative consequences. Once the user develops a compulsive or uncontrollable need for the substance of abuse, they have started the path to addiction.

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3 Myths about Your First Time in Substance Abuse Treatment

1. It’s the scariest thing you will ever go through.

It’s actually not. If you can muster up the strength to finally get your life on track, the rest is easy. Once you come to drug and alcohol treatment you are already bettering yourself and have the courage to face it. It’s not going to be easy because some days are good and some days are bad. But it’s worth it at the end if you stick to the program and apply what you learn in treatment to the outside world.

It can be scary at first when you have to open up all your emotions and dig deep into the past to a therapist you barely know. But over time, you will see that talk therapy works and build a relationship with your counselor. You have to be able to trust and let your guard down to open up. That’s the only way this will work.

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Addiction Comes in Threes

Three wise men. Three stooges. Three ring circus. Many things come in threes and in the world of addiction, we see this time and time again. For example, it is not uncommon for a heroin addict to also have a food, gambling or sex addiction. Someone who is addicted to painkillers is likely to have sexual impulsivity or an addiction to money. Why does it come in threes? It has to do with symmetry, a spiritual component and the good vs. evil different parts of us. Depending on one’s drug of choice, it taps into a certain part of the…

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