Category Archives: Addiction

Trends in Opioid Use, Strength, and Addiction

Opioid addiction continues to rise in the United States. Americans struggle with the consequences every day. Opiates come in many different forms and strengths. Increasing tolerance and downplaying the number of pills taken often marks addiction.

Identifying the Problem

An estimated 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. In 2001, The Joint Commission labeled pain as thefifth vital sign” in pain management. It required physicians to obtain a subjective measurement of a patient’s pain on a scale of 1-10. Feeling pressure to adhere to new quality standards, physicians overprescribed opioids for pain management. The result is an epidemic in opioid abuse. Opioid overdose-related deaths have quadrupled since 1999. Opioid addiction affects the health and well-being of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, and classes. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates 2.1 million Americans abuse opioids. The Obama administration recently allocated $1.1 billion for drug abuse initiatives and treatment options.

Types of Pain Management

Opioids take different forms and strengths. Each type has a unique half-life (the amount of time it takes for half of a drug to metabolize). Below are some commonly prescribed opioids. Morphine – is known as the “gold standard” of opioids—the yardstick by which all other opioid analgesics are measured. Morphine has a half-life of 1.5-7 hours. Morphine is prescribed only in a clinical setting. It’s typically administered intravenously though it may be taken orally. Like other opioids, morphine may cause nausea, dizziness, constipation, respiratory distress, and certain cardiac problems. Unlike other opioids, morphine may also cause a histamine reaction. Tramadol –  is a synthetic opioid. It’s a relatively weak opioid with a half-life of 5-7 hours. Tramadol’s efficacy is about 10-20% of morphine. Tramadol is a centrally-acting pain reliever. It treats post-surgical, obstetric, and chronic pain of neurogenic or mechanical origin. Tramadol is the opioid of choice for those with poor cardiopulmonary function (such as the elderly, the obese, and smokers) or patients with impaired renal and/or hepatic function. Tramadol can be an effective treatment option for those who can’t take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or for whom these drugs ineffectively manage pain. Codeine – is another fairly weak opioid with a half-life of 9-11 hours. It’s often prescribed to combat chronic back pain. When combined to paracetamol (e.g., acetaminophen and Tylenol), it provides effective management for moderate-to-severe chronic pain and acute pain after dentistry. Codeine is more easily tolerated than tramadol and has fewer common side effects. However, tramadol is more potent than codeine and has fewer cardiopulmonary effects. Pethidine – also known as Demerol, is a synthetic opioid that works on mu and kappa receptors to relieve pain. Pain relief occurs quickly, making pethidine the logical option for relief of labor pains—particularly during the second stage. However, pethidine has a relatively short half-life of 2-3 hours. Pethidine is associated with a high risk of suicide. It has a high side-effect profile compared to other opioids. Hydrocodone – is a schedule II opioid with a half-life of 2-4 hours. Hydrocodone is reportedly equal to the gold standard morphine. In fact, some doctors have suggested that hydrocodone may be even more potent in analgesic quality than morphine. Hydrocodone is also more powerful than codeine or tramadol. It’s more efficacious in providing pain relief for acute musculoskeletal pain. Even though it has a fairly low bioavailability, hydrocodone isn’t available in pure formulations. It’s typically combined with acetaminophen for pain relief (e.g., Vicodin). Oxycodone – more commonly known as Oxycontin, oxycodone is a strong synthetic opioid with a half-life of 3-4.5 hours. It’s approximately twice as strong as morphine. Because of its high potency, oxycodone is only used to treat acute pain. Chronic pain sufferers are more likely to be prescribed tramadol or codeine.

Mechanisms of Action: How Do Opioids Work?

Opioids are known as mu antagonists because they work on the mu receptors of the brain. While opioids may have other differences—for example, some are also kappa antagonists—all opioids have mu antagonist qualities in common. Mu receptors are one of the brain’s endorphin receptors. Opioids work by triggering the rush of endorphins, which are the body’s natural opioids, to dull the sensation of pain. Endorphins also generate a sense of well-being.

How Does an Opioid’s Potency Relate to Its Addictive Qualities?

How Does an Opioid’s Potency Relate to Its Addictive QualitiesAny opioid can be abused, but some have a higher likelihood than others. The distinction lies in both tolerance and potency. Opioids work by triggering natural opioid receptors, but over time, synthetic opioids can actually inhibit the body’s endogenous endorphins. When the body can’t produce enough endogenous opioids on its own, patients experience the following feelings of withdrawal:

  • Discomfort
  • Shaking
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms, coupled with the return of moderate to severe pain, results in addiction-seeking behavior. Patients build a tolerance to the drug and seek more to experience the same effect.

Other Forms of Abuse

Abuse may begin when patients seek alternate delivery routes to achieve the “high” associated with a rush of endorphins. Patients may take their oral medications and crush them into a fine powder and snort them. For example, oxycodone is known for both its high potency and long half-life. Yet when an oxycodone pill is crushed and snorted, it not only produces a strong high, but it also increases the risk of negative side effects—such as respiratory depression, cardiac arrest, coma, or death. Extended release formulations are particularly dangerous. Abusers have access to all of the medicine at one time if they crush, snort, or smoke them. This increases the strength of the opioid and thus the high. Addicts may also find other ways to increase the relative strength of an opioid. A patient may take a relative’s Vicodin when a codeine prescription runs out. Since Vicodin has a stronger potency and a longer half-life relative to codeine, the patient’s body will inhibit his or her own endogenous opioid systems more quickly.

Spotting Addictive Behaviors in Opioid Abusers

Those who abuse opioids may display behaviors similar to alcoholics or other addicts. Much like an alcoholic may downplay how much he or she drinks in a day, an opioid abuser may downplay his or her habit. While admitting to taking a much weaker Tylenol with codeine recreationally, he or she may actually be taking hydromorphone or oxycodone, which are extremely potent and dangerous opioids. Addicts can become incredibly good at lying (even to themselves) about the extent of their problems. It’s important to realize that many opioid prescription problems have roots in real moderate to severe pain. When prescriptions run out, addicts may turn to other drugs of abuse, like heroin, to dull the pain and trigger a euphoric feeling. Indeed, heroin use is on the rise: according to NIDA, the number of heroin users doubled from 380,000 in 2005 to 670,000 in 2012. Prescription drug addicts are at risk for more than just an overdose, especially if they turn to heroin. Intravenous drug abuse can lead to other complications, such as HIV, Hepatitis C, and other blood-borne disease transmission from dirty needles.

The Dangers of Opioids and The Solution

The addictive qualities of an opioid depend on its potency and half-life. The stronger the drug, the quicker the path to addiction. As tolerance develops, abusers may turn to alternate avenues to experience the “high”, from crushing and snorting pills to switching to a stronger opioid to using heroin. Addicts are creative with the way they administer prescription pills, leading to an increased risk of overdose because opioids continue to build in their systems. High amounts of opioids can lead to organ damage, tissue death, respiratory depression, and cardiac arrest. As the full extent of the opioid epidemic comes to light, opioid abuse is becoming less stigmatized. Loved ones should be on the lookout for potentially abusive behaviors, such as downplaying the number of pills taken. Early intervention produces the best chance of opioid abuse recovery. Our staff here at Summit Estate specializes in Opioid addiction, let us help you or your loved one recover from this dangerous addiction. Click the button below to see more about our services offered on opioid addiction.

Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment Center

America’s Surprising History With (What Are Now) Illegal Drugs

Heroin Cocaine Marijuana Illegal Drugs In US - Summit EstateMind-altering drugs have played a role in recorded history for thousands of years. Pain relief, treatment of illnesses, spiritual experiences and expanding one’s consciousness have all been cited as reasons for experimentation with well-known potent substances. Medical necessity has driven such experimentation, as has simple curiosity, for millennia.

The United States has been embroiled in debates over the dangers and possible benefits of drug use since our nation’s founding, and some of the history behind American drug use may surprise you. For example, many of the most well-known hard drugs today started as over-the-counter remedies for common ailments, while others were once acceptable in medical settings.

Opiates

Opiates In The US Since The Pilgrims - Summit EstateThe opium poppy has been considered a medicinal herb for as far back as 5,000 years ago in ancient Sumer. Opium and its derivatives are some of the most powerful and useful medicines on the planet.

Some of the earliest Pilgrims to arrive in North America brought opium tinctures, especially laudanum, a potent pain and cough suppressant, as treatments for various illnesses and infirmities, such as:

  • Smallpox
  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Pain
  • Trouble sleeping

Opium-based tonics were especially popular with women at the time, as they were commonly used to alleviate menstrual cramping.

Thomas Jefferson, one of the U.S.’s most well-known and influential founders, resorted to using laudanum to treat his various afflictions, despite his marked history of skepticism toward medicine. Eventually, he began growing his own poppies at his Monticello estate in Virginia.

Recreational Use

While laudanum was an oft-used medical treatment for various ailments, many people were beginning to experiment with opium use for recreational purposes. Opiate use was prevalent during that era, and by the mid-19th century, opium dens were a common sight in the Americas. This was one of the first times that widespread public drug use was acknowledged as a societal concern, and “Yellow Peril” became a term used to describe Chinese immigrants who were accused of luring Americans into depravity and addiction with their popular opium dens.

The Arrival Of Morphine

The next major breakthrough regarding opium development came in 1803, when Friedrich Sertuerner of Germany synthesized the first batch of morphine, an injectable and highly potent opiate painkiller. Morphine was widely used and available, and wounded veterans heavily relied upon it during the American Civil War. This led to a widespread wave of addiction in the United States during the late 1800s.

Heroin: From Accepted Treatment To Epidemic

In 1895, chemist Heinrich Dreser developed heroin while working for the Bayer company in Germany, and the substance quickly gained traction as a treatment for morphine addiction. However, the drug’s immediate success did not adequately show that physicians were simply trading one addiction for another. Heroin addiction became the new epidemic.

Over the next 50 years, heroin would remain a prevalent force in American culture. The infamous “French Connection” led to an enormous supply of heroin being brought into the U.S., fueling the rebellious subcultures of the beatnik and hipster scenes. During the Vietnam War, American servicemen commonly fell victim to heroin abuse, and the addiction rate among this group was an ominous 10 to 15 percent.

Synthetic Opiates Gain Prominence

Over the years, opioids (synthetic opiates) have collectively evolved into one of the most commonly used prescription medications in the United States. Unfortunately, while opioids possess real pain management capabilities, the potential for addiction and abuse goes hand-in-hand with the drugs’ possible benefits. The CDC reports that nearly 3 million Americans are facing some kind of opioid abuse problem in 2016, and this class of meds has helped make drug overdose the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. In fact, more than half of all drug-overdose deaths are attributed to either prescription opioids or heroin.

Cocaine

Cocaine Reached Peak In Usage In 1982 With 10.4 Million - Summit EstateCocaine, a stimulant taken from the leaves of the coca plant, is powerful and highly addictive. It was first discovered by Spanish explorers who reached South America, where the indigenous people commonly chewed coca leaves for their stimulating effects. The Spanish saw an opportunity to bring this plant home to Europe, but shipments rarely survived the journey across the Atlantic.

It would not be until the late 1800s that the potential of the coca leaf would be unlocked. Although illegal today in the U.S., cocaine became known for its medical applications after its successful synthesis in 1855. The drug was a common ingredient in tonics and medicines meant to treat impotence, depression and a host of other common ailments.

Cocaine-Infused Beverages

In 1863, Angela Mariani, a Corsican chemist, developed a mixture of cocaine and wine that was sold to cure stomach ailments and suppress appetite. It was wildly popular among the European elite and led to countless copycat products.

One such facsimile was a new soft drink made by John Pemberton in 1886, who was hoping to replicate Mariani’s successful formula in America. Contention over alcohol in the South led to Pemberton’s being forced to reformulate his invention with soda water. Cocaine lent its name to this concoction, and it became one of the most well-known commercial products in world history: Coca-Cola.

Evolution Of Cocaine Use

In the 19th century, cocaine was also known as a reliable local anesthetic for dentistry and oral care. Cocaine lozenges and cough syrups were very common, and syringes for injecting cocaine were later given to soldiers during the First World War.

The beginning of the 20th century saw a huge spike in recreational drug use, and cocaine was among the most ubiquitous and easily accessible. One of the major contributing factors to the increase in drug use in the U.S. was alcohol prohibition, which inadvertently steered many citizens toward other methods of inebriation.

The first half of the 1900s saw an explosion in the popularity of cocaine among the stars of Hollywood. Strangely enough, despite its popularity, cocaine’s addictive properties and potential for overdose went largely unreported. This only helped the drug’s popularity to soar, cementing its spot as a prime recreational drug over the next several decades. Several publications included depictions of cocaine use as a luxurious habit reserved for the upper strata of the social elite.

Glamorization Of Cocaine And The Emergence Of ‘Crack’

Unapologetic reports that showcased cocaine use as harmless, classy and opulent led to a dramatic spike in public consumption. This uptick peaked in 1982 with an estimated 10.4 million cocaine users in the U.S. Demand was widespread at the time, and urban areas began to see derivatives of this upper-class sensation in the form of crack cocaine, or simply “crack.” Crack was cheap to produce in large quantities, and it helped fuel in huge spikes in violent crime, as competing drug syndicates fought over territory.

One of the major incidents that helped change the public’s perceptions about the apparent safety of cocaine use was the death of basketball player Len Bias in 1986. Bias was a star rookie drafted by the Boston Celtics. While celebrating his addition to the team, he died of a cocaine overdose and heart issues the drug caused. This high-profile death coupled with a dramatic rise in violent crime led to harsher sentencing for drug-related offenses – especially those involving crack.

Marijuana

How Did Marijuana Reach Schedule I Status In US - Summit EstatePublic opinion of marijuana has swayed greatly in recent years. Many American states have decriminalized its use, legalized it for medicinal applications and/or fully legalized it for adult for recreational use. Marijuana’s history in the United States dates back to the Jamestown settlers around 1600.

Being that hemp and cannabis sativa plants contain one of the strongest natural fibers in the world, early American settlers used hemp for ropes, clothing, sails and many other products until the end of the Civil War. During this time, marijuana was prized for its usefulness in manufacturing, rather than its effects on the human body. Hashish was made from the resin of the marijuana plant and was only mildly popular for smoking in the U.S.

Recreational Use

Marijuana’s popularity as a recreational drug did not gain much traction until the early 1900s. Between 1850 and 1937, anyone could purchase marijuana over the counter at pharmacies for medicinal purposes. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 led to a drastic increase in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to America, and marijuana was widely used for recreational purposes in Mexico at the time. Marijuana’s popularity jumped again following the Volstead Act, which sharply increased in price in 1920 due to the nationwide prohibition of alcohol.

Outlawed

Eventually, marijuana use became synonymous with violent crimes, and the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 criminalized its consumption. Despite these changes, marijuana’s popularity as a recreational alternative to alcohol grew and reached new social spheres over the next several decades.

In the 1970s, Congress repealed mandatory minimum sentences for drug charges, and President Jimmy Carter’s administration pushed to decriminalize marijuana. However, public opinion swayed in the opposite direction, which led to President Ronald Reagan signing the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which reinstated mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related charges.

Evolution Of Public Opinion

In the 2010s, marijuana has become much more widely accepted for its medical applications and relative lack of dangerous side effects. It is impossible to overdose from using it, has never been linked to any fatal bodily harm, and is not physically habit-forming, like cocaine and heroin.

However, despite a great deal of public support for marijuana decriminalization, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still considers marijuana to be a Schedule I narcotic – on par with heroin in terms of danger.

How Did Marijuana Land On The Schedule I List?

Marijuana was assigned its Schedule I status as part of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Many members of the scientific and medical communities argue against the DEA’s stance on marijuana, citing their sources as incomplete, archaic or outright erroneous.

Recordings of President Richard Nixon from 1971 showed that he intended to uphold the country’s prohibition of marijuana in an effort to combat detractors of the Vietnam War. The Shafer Commission was created with the sole purpose of engineering damning scientific evidence meant to maintain marijuana’s Schedule I status.

Unfortunately for Nixon, the Shafer Commission’s results proved exactly the opposite of the intended results:

  • Marijuana was as safe (if not safer) than alcohol.
  • It had no addictive qualities.
  • Public health would benefit from ending marijuana prohibition.

Ulterior Motives

An interview with John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon’s aides, revealed that the War on Drugs was largely spurred by the perceived need to discredit minority communities and anti-war, leftist opposition to Nixon’s re-election and the war in Vietnam.

Ehrlichman said in the interview:

“By getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and the blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meeting, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

The DEA has repeatedly stonewalled any and all attempts to reclassify marijuana and take it off of the Schedule I narcotics list. The DEA even denied a petition to reschedule marijuana that came from its own administrative law judge, Francis Young, in 1988. In 2011, the DEA again denied a petition due to an apparent lack of available research dedicated to analyzing the effects of smoking marijuana.

Medical Professionals’ Current Stance

A 2014 Medscape survey showed that 56 percent of reporting physicians supported national legalization of medical cannabis, and 82 percent of reporting oncologists said the same. Perhaps one of the most critical examples of the DEA’s intransigence was Administrator Michele Leonhart’s inability to explain how marijuana was just as dangerous as heroin at her appearance before Congress. Marijuana has no lethal overdose threshold, whereas prescription opioids caused 19,000 American deaths in 2014 alone.

Changing Public Perception On Illegal Drugs

Alternatives To Punishing Drug Addicts - Summit EstatePublic perception is one of the biggest issues surrounding drugs in modern America. Many people believe that decriminalization of drug use will lead to improved public health for several reasons, including the chance that it might quell the stigmatization that commonly accompanies Americans who have faced drug-related charges.

In terms of prescription opioids, despite the number of deaths they cause every year, they are still widely available and frequently prescribed. Opioid addiction is seriously debilitating and remarkably difficult to overcome. Rather than looking for alternatives to these dangerous medications, legislators seem to expect those who are prescribed these medicines to use them diligently, lest they suffer the consequences or become addicted. And when they become addicted to these prescription drugs, many resort to heroin as a cheaper and more accessible alternative once the prescription runs out.

The War on Drugs has essentially become a war on public health. Addicts are ostracized and criminalized rather than afforded the treatment they need to become functional members of society again. Hopefully, as public opinion shifts toward compassion and logical legislation, the stigma surrounding drug use will not have such deleterious effects on public well-being. Addicts would then be able to safely pursue treatment and rehabilitation for their afflictions.

How To Help A Family Member Who Is An Alcoholic

Helping A Family Member Who Is An AlcoholicThere’s an old adage that family is where life begins and love never ends. The bond established between a newborn infant and a doting parent may be the most powerful connection on Earth. The love that parents feel for their children can move mountains. The profound connection between siblings lasts a lifetime. There’s simply no denying that family emotions run deep.

Helping A Family Member Who Is An Alcoholic

Yet, what happens when alcohol causes a family member to go from being your best friend to someone you don’t recognize. What if your mother, father, sister or brother crosses over from being a social drinker into a problem drinker? It doesn’t happen overnight, and families often socialize and drink together. In fact, it seems that the unconditional love and support that families provide can also serve as obstacles that prevent alcoholics from getting effective treatment.

Break Through Denial

One of the trickiest parts of dealing with an alcoholic is being able to communicate about the problem. Denial is a core element of alcoholism which means most alcoholics are reluctant to openly admit that anything is wrong. In fact, they will often go to great lengths to hide their problem – especially from family members and other loved ones. Keeping open communication and avoiding judgmental dialog can be particularly beneficial during the early efforts in getting a family member into treatment.

Avoid Enabling

The desire to help a family member is natural. However, certain types of help can be detrimental to an alcoholic. Enabling in the form of providing monetary support, shelter, or legal assistance often worsens the problem. Help should be squarely focused on getting the alcoholic the treatment they need.

Focus On The Family

Often, the alcoholic demands an excessive amount of attention which can leave family members feeling neglected and resentful. While there needs to be a goal of getting the individual the treatment required, the focus must remain on the health of the family. Balancing life and managing a relationship with an alcoholic is never easy. For many, a support group can help alleviate some of the negative emotions associated with dealing with an alcoholic family member.

Do You Have An Alcoholic Family Member Who Needs Help?

While alcoholism is a family disease, this doesn’t mean that it should be solely contained within the family. Professional treatment can provide the foundation for a lifetime of recovery. To learn more about treatment for alcoholism, call now to speak with an addiction specialist at Summit Estate.

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When Prescription Drug And Heroin Addiction Hits Close To Home In The Bay Area

Prescription Drug, Heroin Addiction Hits Close To Home Bay AreaWith the recent news that Prince’s death was due to the prescription painkiller Fentanyl, increasing light is being shed on America’s growing epidemic of prescription painkiller and heroin addiction. Individuals from all walks of life are becoming addicted to these powerful drugs and even suffering from lethal overdoses. Just how widespread is the problem with heroin and prescription painkillers?

In 2014, there were over 47,000 fatal overdoses related to these drugs.

And, the number of those becoming addicted continues to skyrocket, despite increasing efforts to address the problem.

Addiction Hits Close To Home In The Bay Area

Recently, one family’s story of addiction was shared in the San Jose Mercury News. D’Anne and Bruce Burwell never thought they would have to deal with the scourge of prescription drug abuse while raising their family in Silicon Valley. Their two children were getting good grades and were both on the fast track to college and successful careers. Yet, a problem was lurking just beneath the surface.

The Slippery Slope Of Drug Addiction

Something began to change for their son Jake who had always been a good student. Jake’s efforts in high school began to decline, and D’Anne caught him using marijuana. After suspending his driving privileges and sending him to a psychologist, she thought that the problem was solved. However, it was actually only the beginning. Jake started college and proceeded to flunk two classes his freshman year. In his second year of college, a friend of Jake warned D’Anne that he was engaging in “risky behavior.” Jake was smoking OxyContin, a drug that is in the same family as heroin. Over the next two years, Jake had three unsuccessful stints in rehab. Finally, Jake finally realized that his addiction could kill him, and he agreed to enter detox and start a six-month program. To read the rest of Jake’s story, click on the button below.

Jake’s Addiction And Recovery Story

Jake’s Story Is Not Unusual

Many parents have the same perspective that D’Anne once did – addiction is something that happens to others. However, many parents, especially in the success-driven Bay Area are finding themselves struggling with addicted children and wondering what went wrong. Without a doubt, there is a tremendous amount of shame and stigma associated with addiction in the Bay Area and beyond. Many teens start using drugs because they feel insecure, anxious or depressed.

Identifying The Signs Of Prescription Painkiller Addiction

Often, an addiction problem is happening in a family for a significant length of time before it is addressed. It can be easier to overlook common symptoms such as:

  • Problems in school
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Moodiness
  • Missing or stolen money or valuables
  • Questionable friends
  • Anger
  • Depression

What Should You Do?

Because prescription drug and heroin addiction is progressive and can lead to a fatal overdose, taking a “wait and see” approach to the problem is a serious mistake. First, it’s important to discuss the problem and work towards a solution. In most cases, the best option is professional addiction treatment. Many treatment programs can be tailored to the individual and address underlying or root causes that helped perpetuate the addiction. It’s also important for parents to focus on their child’s recovery as opposed to blaming themselves for the problem. A group like Al-Anon can be beneficial in understanding the challenges of being a parent of an addict.

Does Your Adult Child Need Addiction Treatment In The Bay Area?

You’re not alone. The number of young adults addicted to prescription pain killers and heroin is growing at a shockingly fast rate throughout Northern California. Don’t try to weather through this problem alone. Help is available at Summit Estate Recovery Center. Call now to speak with an addiction specialist or click the button below to learn more about our prescription drug addiction treatment program.

Prescription Drug Treatment

Soccer Moms And Their Secret Addictions

The Secret Addictions Of Soccer Moms-Summit Estate Recovery The popular term “soccer mom” brings to mind a certain type of individual – a devoted suburban mother who spends a significant amount of time driving her children around town from one sporting event to another in her late model minivan or SUV. Soccer moms are polite, volunteer at school, believe in fair play, put their kids’ lives ahead of their own and rarely say the wrong thing. The term was popularized during the 1996 presidential election when at the time, political strategists believed soccer moms were mostly undecided swing voters who would influence the outcome of the election. This propelled them to tailor their message to a segment of voters who had never existed before. And, that’s how the parable of the soccer mom was born.

Perfection Comes At A Price

The truth is, the proverbial soccer mom is often an overburdened, stressed out working mother who is burning the candle at both ends. With single income households largely a thing of the past, many moms find themselves pulling double duty, working full time jobs while performing a full daily schedule of motherly duties. It’s not easy living the perfect life, maintaining a spotless household and being the ideal mom. No matter what anyone says, the majority of kids rely on their moms first and foremost. It’s an exhausting, never-ending, emotionally satisfying but draining job. For some soccer moms, perfection comes at a heavy cost. Relief from unrelenting stress can be found in a glass of wine or a bottle of prescription pills.

The most common mood-altering substances of choice are pain pills, stimulants and alcohol.

Each has its own particular reason for becoming a go-to drug. You won’t find too many soccer moms writing “score drugs/become an addict” on their daily “to-do” list. Unfortunately, many well-meaning moms casually descend into addiction without ever intending to, and sadly, many times without realizing what they’ve done until it’s too late. In 1966, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones wrote a hit song with “Mother’s Little Helper.” The lyrics describe a spread-thin mom who requires a pick me up to get her through her day. Fifty years later, the story hasn’t changed much.

Personal Addiction Stories Of Two Typical Moms

Here’s two prototypical moms and their stories of how they became addicted.

Busy Carol Needs A Lift

Carol is a programmer with a high paying job, two kids in grade school, a husband who works 55-60 hours a week at a law firm and a jam-packed schedule that keeps her on the go from six in the morning until eleven at night. Just when she thought she couldn’t possibly handle one more thing, her mother broke her hip in a car accident which required Carol to drive over to her mother’s house each night to check on her. It seemed that everywhere she turned, someone was demanding something of her. She wasn’t able to keep up the pace. Her level of exhaustion was making it hard for her to concentrate at work.

One day, on a routine visit for physical therapy for her mother, Carol asked the doctor if he could prescribe something for her exhaustion.

Rather than face the truth about her ridiculously overscheduled life and make the hard choices required, Carol opted to not rock the boat and maintain her supermom “A” rating. The doctor was only too happy to help and started her off with a Silicon Valley favorite, Adderall. The drug gave her a lift, made it easier for her to concentrate and it also seemed to lighten her mood considerably. Unfortunately, Carol discovered she could purchase Adderall on the Internet and save herself a trip to the doctor’s office. It wasn’t long before her Adderall experiment turned into Adderall dependence.

Active Lisa Needed Pain Relief

Lisa is a soccer mom who loves her kids and enjoys playing tennis and jogging. Her husband makes a good living running a successful family insurance agency started by his father. Lisa works part-time at the office about 10 hours per week. This allows her plenty of time in the afternoons for the kid’s activities and her own fitness pursuits. One thing about Lisa is she never does anything half way. When it comes to fitness, she pushes herself hard. She’s the top women’s tennis player at her club and she religiously jogs 15 miles a week to stay in shape. One afternoon, on a typical three mile run through the park, Lisa misjudged the trail and landed awkwardly on a slippery rock. She hyperextended her right foot and heard something go pop. The pain was excruciating. Her doctor prescribed Vicodin for the throbbing in her foot. Lisa had never experienced inactivity before and it really annoyed her.

She started to focus on the pain and nothing else. Lisa found she couldn’t wait for the next pill.

She quickly fell into the habit of taking more Vicodin than recommended. Before long, she was seeing multiple doctors for pain management and doubling up on her prescriptions and spiraling into addiction.

Millions Of Stories Of Addiction

Like Carol and Lisa, there are countless stories of mothers who have slipped into addiction and are afraid they’ll lose it all if they share their problem with a loved one. The reality is addiction can happen to anyone, and the first step in recovery is asking for help. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, don’t wait another day. Call Summit Estate now to speak with an addiction specialist.

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Born Addicted: Baby Recovers
From Mother’s Heroin Addiction

Could anything be more heartbreaking than a newborn entering the world dependent on drugs? A recent article chronicled the crucial first eight weeks of life for a baby born suffering from withdrawal due to her mother’s heroin addiction. Weaning addicted infants off drugs is a difficult, intensive, multi-step process. Babies suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to adults, such as fever, aching muscles, tremors, diarrhea and sleeplessness, and to make matters worse, they have difficulty eating. Nurses give around-the-clock special care to these infants in recovery, holding them, speaking to them softly, playing music and doing whatever needs to be done to ease their pain.

The Heroin Epidemic

The recent dramatic increase in heroin use has had an unfortunate ripple effect that is being felt throughout the United States. Hospitals report deaths due to heroin have nearly tripled in the last three years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Often initiated by abuse of opioid prescription painkillers, heroin use is impacting all demographics, including even pregnant women and their babies. It’s a sad reality that some pregnant women suffer from addiction and continue to abuse prescription painkillers or illicit drugs like heroin throughout their pregnancy. The impact of the drug use can be significant and long-term. With the use of prescription opioids during the first trimester of pregnancy, there can be substantial heart problems, and fetal heroin exposure has been linked to a variety of serious complications, including preterm labor and even death. There are also painful withdrawal effects after birth and other serious health consequences for the newborn baby.

Addicted Baby Recovers From Heroin Addiction

As TheWashingtonPost.com reported, in Baltimore, MD, a newborn struggled through weeks of difficult withdrawal and the aforementioned symptoms after being born with heroin addiction. Her 31 year old mother has fought with being addicted to heroin for over 10 years. The hospital where the newborn fought for life, weaned her off of the toxic substance through constant and intensive care. Find out how the baby and mother are doing now by reading the full story: Read The Full Washington Post Article Here

Getting Help For Opiate Addiction During Pregnancy

Walking Through Flowers-Opiate Addiction Treatment Do you know someone who is pregnant and struggling with addiction to heroin or opioid prescription pain medications? This is not a problem that is going to go away on its own. Help is available. The first step is reaching out for local treatment through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. A directory of local treatment programs is available on their website and is categorized by state with phone numbers you can call to obtain immediate help.

Opiate Addiction Treatment After Birth

Being a new mother is difficult enough without also struggling with addiction. If you or a loved one needs help with overcoming an addiction, call Summit Estate now to speak with an addiction specialist. Our caring and professional team will guide you or your loved one to a new life filled with hope and freedom from addiction! Learn More About What We Treat At Our Luxury Facility

The Addicted Brain: The Dopamine Effect

The Addicted Brain-Dopamine EffectSubstance Abuse’s Effect On Dopamine

Every drug that leads to dependence has been shown to affect the brain’s dopamine system. With some drugs, such as stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine, there is a direct effect on dopamine production while others appear to affect it indirectly. In the case of alcohol, it does not increase dopamine levels directly. However, there is an indirect link. In fact, everything that provides pleasure has the ability to perpetuate a release of dopamine in the reward pathway of the brain along with triggering an endorphin release. Research has shown that dopamine produces feelings of “wanting” and “reward,” but this is not the same thing as “liking” or “valuation.” In other words, the dopamine produced from something pleasurable can make you crave more of it and will reinforce habitual use of it whether this is drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, sex, or other pleasurable activity.

The Link Between Addiction And Mental Illness

While anyone can gain the dopamine effect of drugs or alcohol, it is much more complex when it comes to someone who is also struggling with a mental illness like anxiety or depression. For these individuals, addictive substances are used to not only gain the benefits of increased dopamine, they are also used to medicate the often painful symptoms of mental illness. This makes both diagnosis and treatment more challenging. This is why it’s so important to choose an addiction treatment provider that has experience and expertise in treating co-occurring disorders. Learn More About Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment In The San Jose Area

Understanding The Numbers Of Addiction

No one begins taking drugs or alcohol with the intention of becoming addicted. Yet, a substantial percentage get caught into the trap of drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. A few statistics to consider:

  • Nearly one in 10 Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  • It’s estimated that over 95% of individuals who need treatment for alcohol addiction do not really believe they need treatment.
  • The top five most addicting drugs are heroin, cocaine, meth, opioid prescription pain relievers and alcohol.

Do You Have A Drug Or Alcohol Addiction?

Are you concerned that you or a loved one has an addiction to drugs or alcohol? The answer can sometimes seem unclear. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Do you or your loved one use more of the substance or engage in the behavior more often than in the past?
  • Do you or your loved one experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the substance?
  • Have you or your loved one ever lied to anyone about your use of the substance?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, addiction is a very real possibility.

It’s Not Easy Admitting That You Need HelpReaching Out-Help For Addiction

Although much more is known now about addiction than in decades past, there is still a stigma and shame associated with it. It can be difficult to admit that you have a problem and that you need help. However, the first step in getting help is reaching out to get it. Call a staff member at Summit Estate today. We will treat you with the respect and care that you need. We will be with you every step of the way. Call now. Like What You’ve Read? Check Out More In: The Neurological Science Behind Substance Abuse Addiction

The Neurological Science Behind Substance Abuse Addiction

Substance use and abuse starts when an individual likes the way a particular substance makes them feel. For some of us, it’s possible to enjoy a drink or use a drug and never become hooked. Others cross a distinct threshold and transition into addiction. A growing amount of research has shown that during this transitional phase into addiction, there are distinct changes that happen in the brain. Because of this evidence that clearly shows addiction is far more than just a character flaw, the science community now widely accepts that addiction should be categorized as a brain disease.

Dopamine And Addiction

Neurological Brain-Dopamine And AddictionThe human brain has evolved in such a way that we learn to survive based on a reward system. When we do things that support our survival, such as eat or exercise, our brain rewards this behavior by releasing a “feel good” chemical called dopamine. Because we enjoy the feeling when this chemical is released, we repeat these behaviors. Along with the necessities of survival, there are also a variety of substances that affect the “reward center” of our brains. These include drugs and alcohol which release high levels of dopamine. In fact, the release of the chemical can be two to 10 times greater than what is normally released, producing a “high.” Users of these substances can develop a habit to sustain that positive feeling when dopamine is released. This can quickly turn into addiction. This cycle is further propelled as the brain struggles to regain balance after the effect of a substance wears off. This struggle can produce symptoms of a hangover or withdrawal which can cause physical, mental and emotional pain. For the individual, the substance that is perpetuating the destructive cycle is many times used to combat this pain, further strengthening the addiction.

The Link Between Drug And Alcohol Abuse And Mental Illness

Of course, not everyone who drinks a glass of wine or takes a prescription painkiller will become an addict. Some individuals are more prone to developing an addiction than others. This further shows a connection between the brain and addiction. In those who have a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression, the chance of developing an addiction is significantly higher. Often, drugs or alcohol are used to help numb the symptoms of mental illness. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are also affected by substance abuse. And, 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness. The link between addiction and mental illness is strong, and many who enter treatment discover they require treatment for both addiction and an underlying mental illness. This is why it’s so important to choose a recovery center that has expertise in dual diagnosis addiction treatment.

Are You Struggling With Addiction And Mental Illness?

Women Overlooking Lake-Struggling With Addiction And Mental Illness You’re not alone. In fact, many people who have a mental illness also abuse alcohol and/or drugs. Don’t take chances with getting the help you need. At Summit Estate, we specialize in treating individuals who have dual diagnosis by treating both the addiction and the mental illness with a personalized treatment plan. Call us to speak with an addiction specialist now. Learn More About Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Binge Drinking In College: What You Need To Know

College LectureAlthough studies suggest underage drinking, including binge drinking, is on the decline, the fight to curb alcohol consumption among college students is far from finished. The same data that shows that underage binge drinking is down cannot confirm that the situation has gotten significantly better for college-aged Americans.

In general, heavy alcohol consumption among college students impacts a wide variety of people beyond the ones doing the drinking. Those who can be affected negatively include, but are not limited to:

  • Parents of those students
  • Deans and other university officials
  • Campus and local police
  • Residents and property owners near the campus

College drinking typically takes place at the following locations: fraternity parties, residence halls, athletic events (tailgating, most likely), off-campus housing areas, bars and restaurants near campus, and in or nearby concert venues. The farther the drinking location is from campus, the higher probability a student will drive drunk or ride with somebody who’s intoxicated as they make their way back toward the school.

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How Can Prescription Drug Abuse Easily Turn Into Heroin Abuse?

People often assume that prescription pain relievers are safer than illicit drugs because they are legal and prescribed by a doctor. What they don’t realize is that these medications can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs. That’s why it’s important to recognize the dangers associated with prescription pain relievers and why you should always follow the doctor’s recommendations when taking them.

How Prescription Painkillers Escalate Into Heroin

Addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can become addicted to drugs, even if they don’t fit the stereotypical mold society has created.

Let’s take a look at an all-too-common scenario that treatment centers are seeing today:

How Prescription Drug Abuse Can Easily Turn Into Heroin AbuseKristen is a college student and runs track. She’s an excellent sprinter but ends up getting injured in her junior year. She sees a doctor to help manage the pain, and the doctor prescribes painkillers. Kristen has no problem taking them because they are prescribed by someone she trusts. She takes the pills, which work for a while, but then the pain slowly returns.

With final exams and work, Kristen can’t be uncomfortable, so she doubles up on the pills and finally gets some relief. It isn’t long before she builds up a tolerance. Even though Kristen’s pain is getting better, she sees her doctor to get more medication. He refuses. She now has a craving to fill, and she becomes fixated on getting something else. Heroin becomes the next step because it’s cheap, easy to get and has a similar effect as painkillers.

Although Kristen could have never imagined having an addiction to prescription drugs which turned into abusing and becoming addicted to heroin, a prescription drug rehab program in the Bay Area, it’s now her reality.

How Can I Prevent Becoming Addicted To Painkillers?

While prescription pain relievers have a bad rap, the reality is that they do have a purpose. Many people need them at one point or another to provide relief following an injury, accident or operation. It’s possible that you will need them, too, one day. Just because you take prescription pain pills does not mean you will become addicted. There are steps you can take to prevent dependency.

  • Don’t take more than the recommended dosage.
  • If you notice that you are becoming tolerant to the drug, tell your doctor immediately.
  • Take the medication for the shortest amount of time. If you can get by without it, do so.
  • Find other ways to manage your pain such as massage therapy, yoga, meditation or magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) baths.
  • Properly dispose of unused medicine.

Being aware of the dangers of prescription opioids helps prevent addiction. If you know that what you are taking can be addictive, you’ll be more likely to follow the doctor’s recommendations and only use the medicine as necessary.

Summit Estate Recovery Center has a team of caring, compassionate staff that is happy to start you on the journey to sobriety. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse, we can help. Call us today to learn more.