Category Archives: Addiction

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.

5 Ways A Drug Intervention Specialist Can Help Your Loved One

5 Ways A Drug Intervention Specialist Can HelpOften, the hardest step for someone who suffers from alcohol or drug addiction is to admit he or she has a problem. You may be wondering how to approach the subject with your loved one without causing anger or resentment, and you may feel you lack the proper tools to adequately address the issue. If you and your family feel this way or you’ve attempted to talk to your loved one with no avail, and they can’t see that their actions are destructive, it may be time to seek the knowledge and services of a professional interventionist. Find out five ways a drug intervention specialist can help your loved one and your family.

Five Ways Interventionists Help


1. They Are Prepared For Anything The Loved One May Do Or Say

Interventionist Can Prepare for Anything Your Loved One Might Say or Do An intervention can be an extremely tense event. Both the loved one and his or her family and friends present at the intervention can often experience heated emotions. An intervention specialist is prepared for any type of situation and is trained to respond appropriately and effectively. They are also trained to keep communication healthy and non-confrontational.

2. They Help The Whole Family

Hands-Interventionist Can Help The Whole Family When someone needs help for drug and alcohol abuse, sometimes family structures need to change as well. An interventionist can help the family know what their roles should be in both supporting the person suffering from addiction and in changing any unhelpful behavior.

3. They Keep An Emotional Distance

Interventionist Can Be Non-Biased With Your Addicted Loved One Since the interventionist doesn’t know your loved one personally, he or she can remain objective during the intervention. This neutral position can help him or her keep a clear head and address things in an appropriate manner. This often helps your loved one feel less “accused” or “attacked” and more likely to accept help for their addiction.

4. They Often Gain The Loved One’s Trust

Gaining Trust From Loved One It can be difficult for family members and friends to really understand what their loved one is going through, unless they have suffered from addition themselves. Your loved one has a higher likelihood of trusting the specialist and even of telling the specialist more information than he or she would likely tell the family. Interventionists often pursue their occupations due to a personal connection with drug and alcohol recovery. Their knowledge and non-biased relationship can help put your loved one at ease.

5. They Give Your Loved One Tools For Success

Giving to Tools to Obtain Success in Recovery Even though the loved one’s time with the drug intervention specialist may be brief, he or she can help them understand the importance of treatment even before it begins. When your loved one is clear about why he or she is going, and has reached a place of acceptance and true willingness to change, they have a much greater chance of making true progress during recovery and continuing after the program.

Requesting An Intervention For Your Loved One

For drug intervention in Saratoga and the surrounding areas, call Summit Estate Recovery Center. We are here to help your loved one get proper care, tailored to his or her unique needs and situation. Our qualified staff is available to answer any questions or concerns at any time of the day or night. Take that first step and call us now! Learn More About Our Drug Intervention Programs Now

Are You Drinking Too Much?

Are You Drinking Too Much-Help For Alcohol AddictionAre you worried that you may have a problem with alcohol? Has your loved one’s partying progressed past the point of social drinking into the danger zone? If so, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIHAA), approximately seven percent of all men and women 18 years and older are considered to have an alcohol use disorder.

Alcoholism Can Sneak Up On Anyone

Alcoholism by its very nature is a condition that sneaks up on individuals and can overtake their lives. Before there is full realization of the problem by the person or their loved ones, the damage can already be significant. It’s not uncommon for an alcoholic to suffer serious setbacks such as losing a job, the breakup of a relationship, or severe health consequences, before the first conversation about treatment happens.

Signs You Are Drinking Too Much

Alcoholism is not something to sweep under the rug or to avoid discussing. It’s a progressive disease that only gets worse over time. Because of this, if there are indicators that alcohol is becoming an issue, now is the time to get help. How can you tell if alcohol is becoming a problem? The following are top 10 signs you may need to visit a rehab center:

  • Daily drinking
  • Increased consumption and tolerance
  • Drinking alone
  • Alcohol is used for stress-relief
  • DUI
  • Lying about or hiding usage
  • Defensiveness
  • Problems with or missing work or school
  • Frequent hangovers
  • Blackouts

Getting Help For Alcohol Addiction

If these signs or others are present, the next step is getting help. Yet, this isn’t always easy because denial of the condition is a hallmark of someone who suffers from alcohol addiction. Because of this, it’s wise to seek outside opinions and professional help. For many, the best source of help can be found at a personalized treatment recovery center like Summit Estate. For some, this may mean outpatient treatment. For others, the road to recovery may include intensive detoxification and residential treatment. At Summit Estate, we use proven methods to treat alcoholism in a private, comfortable environment. With a high staff-to-client ratio, we are able to provide a personalized treatment plan for those starting on their journey of recovery. If you are seeking alcohol addiction treatment in CA, call us now. We will be with you every step of the way.

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How Prescription Drug Addiction Can Sneak Up On Anyone

Prescription drug addiction is a problem that affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. Prescription painkillers, tranquilizers and amphetamines are being abused by individuals who never intended to become addicted.

Who Is Abusing Prescription Drugs And Why?

Prescription Drug Addiction Can Sneak Up On Anyone-SummitEstateOften, the problem begins when an individual is prescribed a medication for an injury or condition. When a doctor says to take a medication “as needed,” it can quickly open up the door for abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 80 percent of heroin users first became addicted to a prescription opioid. The shift to heroin typically happens when it becomes harder to obtain the prescription. Heroin is a readily available, cheaper alternative to prescription opioids.

Teens are also particularly susceptible to prescription drug addiction because the drugs are relatively easy to obtain. Nearly two million teens have abused painkillers, steroids, stimulants and other prescription drugs. The vast majority of teens abusing prescription drugs are getting them from the medicine cabinets of their parents and friends. Drugs are also often stolen or purchased on the Internet and sold by classmates. Teens who are prescribed painkillers for sports injuries are also prone to becoming addicted.

The Slippery Slope Of Prescription Drug Addiction

Some common prescription drugs, such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin and Adderall, are highly addictive. Experimentation can quickly lead to abuse and addiction, which can be incredibly difficult to overcome.

Often, an addiction takes hold before loved ones realize there’s something wrong. Once it has been identified, overlooking the problem or taking a wait-and-see approach only leads to a strengthening of the addiction. Anyone who is struggling with a prescription drug addiction requires immediate professional treatment.

Preventing Addiction Before It Starts

Physicians are in a unique position to help identify and prevent prescription drug addiction. By watching out for rapid increases in the amount of medication needed or unscheduled refill requests, they can help prevent the escalation of an addiction. Pharmacists can also help by being watchful of prescription falsifications and alterations.

Individuals need to be made aware of the dangers of these drugs and the chance of becoming addicted to them. If an individual notices that he or she needs more of the drug to get the same relief or is taking the prescription more often, it’s time to seek alternative, healthier options. Tell your doctor of your valid concerns and seek holistic therapies or other alternatives that actually benefit and strengthen your body.

Compassionate Help Is Available

If you are seeking prescription drug addiction treatment in the Bay Area, call Summit Estate Recovery Center now. With an experienced medical staff and substance abuse counselors, we are highly experienced in helping individuals overcome addictions to prescription drugs.

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Is My Partner An Addict? What Can I Do?

It can be painfully difficult to witness anyone going through addiction. However, when it’s under your roof and it’s your partner who is addicted, the situation can be scary, stressful, and very uncertain.

In the early stages of the addiction, there may be confusion in the household. The non-addicted partner begins to see behavioral changes and other uncharacteristic symptoms. Interestingly, it’s often the ones who are closest to the addict who are the least likely to notice the changes because the behaviors are often gradual and subtle.

Is My Partner an Addict-What Can I Do-SummitEstateRehab

Common Behavioral Changes In Addicts

However, over time, there are telltale behavioral changes that indicate that addition is a very real possibility. Some of the most common behaviors displayed by addicts include:

  • anger
  • flying off the handle
  • paranoia
  • anxiety
  • difficulty at work
  • lack of interest in personal hygiene

Is It Time To Address The Problem?

It’s never easy confronting a loved one who may be struggling with addiction. A good place to start is to consult with an addiction expert or a physician for clinical signs to look for. From there, the next step can be to encourage the individual to see their physician or to get a medical opinion. However, if there are very noticeable signs of an addiction that appear to be getting worse, such as a stash of empty bottles, bags of pills, or containers with drugs, it may be time to conduct an intervention.

Before doing this, it’s wise to obtain the help and advice of either a professional interventionist or a family support group for addicts. It’s also a good idea to find a professional addiction treatment center or detox facility that is ready to provide the appropriate care.

Time Is Of The Essence

Addiction can destroy relationships and families. Addicts often exhibit behaviors and actions that can affect everyone around them. They are also at risk of accidents, injuries and serious illnesses. Addiction is not something to put off for another day or to sweep under the proverbial rug. It’s a very real disease that requires immediate attention.

Is your partner falling further into the grip of addiction? Call Summit Estate for help today. We are here to guide you in the process of getting your loved one the help they need and deserve.

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Is My Loved One Using Drugs? What Should I Do?

Is My Loved One Using Drug-What Should I Do-Summit EstateDo you suspect that your loved one is using drugs? It can be both incredibly stressful and heartbreaking to be worried that someone you care deeply about is risking their life by abusing drugs.

What To Do If Your Loved One Is Using Drugs

While it can seem like you’re helpless when you witness someone succumb to addiction, there are actually action steps you can take to help them and help yourself during this crisis.

Don’t Blame Yourself

First, it’s important to not blame yourself. Drug addiction is a disease and not something you caused. It’s also vital to learn the warning signs and symptoms of drug abuse. Often, there are physical evidence to look for including:

Watch For Physical And Behavioral Signs Of Drug Addiction

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Dramatic shifts in sleep patterns
  • Unusual smells on their breath, body, or clothing
  • Shaking hands
  • Difficulty walking or executing fine motor skills

Along with physical signs a loved one may have an addiction, there are often recognizable behavioral changes:

  • Attendance or performance problems at work or school
  • Stealing or borrowing money
  • Secretive or suspicious behavior
  • Unexplained new friends or activities
  • Run-ins with the law such as DUIs, fights, theft, or other illegal activities

These behaviors are also combined with some notable psychological signs of abuse such as mood swings, irritability, out-bursts of anger, hyperactivity, anxiety, and even paranoia.

Take A Proactive Stance To Address Drug Abuse

When the writing on the wall is indicating a drug problem or even addiction, time is of the essence. This isn’t when a wait and see approach is the right decision. With each passing day, a drug addiction can get more severe, making it more difficult to overcome.

Don’t Delay In Getting Help

Most often, the best approach for addressing a loved one’s drug use is guiding them to professional addiction treatment. Now is the time to stay strong and help lead your loved one to the care they need. Personalized, on-going support is necessary for breaking an addiction and staying clean and sober.

Treatment for drug abuse is multi-layered to treat the mind, body, and soul and usually includes individual therapy, family therapy, 12-step meetings, and a variety of holistic treatments. In some cases, outpatient treatment is sufficient. However, many individuals can benefit from the comprehensive, round-the-clock care that inpatient addiction treatment offers.

Want to learn more about obtaining addiction treatment for a loved one? Contact Northern California’s premier drug and alcohol rehab recovery center – Summit Estate.

Don’t Wait Another Day – Your Loved One Will Thank You Later – Call Us Now.

What Are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens, also called psychedelics, are a classification of drugs that affect an individual’s self-awareness, thinking, sensations, emotions, and perceptions. These drugs work by disrupting the functioning of the brain’s serotonin system.

Types Of HallucinogensWhat Are Hallucinogens-Summit Estate Rehab Facility

Drugs that are categorized as hallucinogens include:

  • LSD
  • PCP
  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Mescaline
  • Psilocybin
  • Psychedelic Mushrooms

The Effects Of Hallucinogens

Depending on how much and how long you use, the effects of hallucinogens can have both short and long term consequences.

Short-term Effects

The effects of hallucinogens vary, but most begin immediately and can last between 30 minutes and 12 hours. These effects can be unpredictable, depending on a variety of factors such as how much of the drug was taken, the user’s personality, and the surroundings in which the drug is used.

Physical effects can start quickly including dilated pupils, raised body temperature, increased heart rate, sweating paranoia, and tremors. Emotions and moods can swing wildly, and sensations can even seem to cross over causing the user to feel sound or hear color. This overload on the brain can result in feelings of fear, panic, and anxiety.

Long-term Effects

Individuals who frequently use LSD or other hallucinogens experience changes in their brain function over time. This often leads to memory loss, confusion, and problems with cognitive thinking. Taken in large doses, these drugs can cause sleepiness, convulsions, coma, and death.

In the case of PCP, there is also an increased risk of heart and lung failure, ruptured blood vessels in the brain and violent, bizarre behaviors. These behaviors have led to some users experiencing serious injury and death due to drowning, falls, auto accidents, and burns.

The dangers of LSD and other hallucinogens can also lead to a risk of psychosis and a disorder called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) which causes users to experience flashbacks long after the drug’s effects have worn off. These occurrences can last for years after the drug use has subsided.

Getting Help For Hallucinogen Abuse

While many have debated whether or not hallucinogens are addictive, the reality is that they are dangerous. And, many require help in overcoming their use of these dangerous drugs. If you or a loved one is abusing hallucinogens, Summit Estate’s drug addiction treatment center in the Bay Area can help.

Call Now To Learn More And To Take The First Step In Getting Effective Treatment!