Most Commonly Abused Substances

At A Better Today we believe that education is a vital component in achieving lasting recovery. While this is invaluable for the addicts themselves, it is also extremely beneficial for family members to become better educated on addiction. Addiction is not only hard on the addict, it is just as hard, if not harder, for the family to watch their loved one disappear before their eyes.

Acquiring a broader knowledge of a substance that is being abused can play a large role in preventing a relapse. The addicts and their families will be able to understand the disease on a higher level and break down barriers that have hindered their relationships. When the addict has a family that they can turn to during times of struggle, that understands addiction, it is a tremendous help in recovery.

We offer addiction education to our clients as a part of their treatment program. On Saturday’s, we offer addiction education classes to families and loved ones of our clients. This helps the family to better understand the disease of addiction, realize their loved one was sick, and understand how to better help them upon their release.

This information will prove to be indispensable in lives of the addict and their families. Our main priority is to free the addict and the family from the horror of addiction through educating all the parties.

Stimulants

Drugs that fall into the stimulant category can range anywhere from commonly used caffeine, to more problematic drugs such as amphetamine or methamphetamine. The problematic stimulants are extremely addictive and can be obtained by both prescription and on the street. Prescription amphetamines are commonly prescribed to treat ADHD and other disorders in children, teenagers and adults. Signs of both amphetamine and methamphetamine use are excessive talking, dilated pupils, restlessness, hyperactivity, loss of appetite, sweating and weight loss. The symptoms and side effects of stimulant use are cravings, irritability, angry outbursts, delusions, paranoia, insomnia and dehydration.


Opiates

Opiates is a term used to identify a drug that is derived from opium such as Heroin, Morphine, Codeine, Fentanyl and Hydromorphone. The United States is currently facing an opioid epidemic which includes many of these drugs. Opiate users derive great euphoria and a sense of well-being from the drugs, but after an individual has been addicted for some time, they will begin to experience uncontrollable physical dependence. The signs of opiate use are drowsiness, nodding off, falling asleep standing up, and euphoria. When an addicted individual does not have opiates in their system, they will be discontent, restless, anxious, sweating and irritable as they experience intense physical craving.


Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine is a word for a broad category of anti-anxiety medications that are often abused. Benzodiazepines can be deadly in combination with other drugs, both legal and illegal. The signs of Benzodiazepine abuse are commonly slow speech, drowsiness, confusion, lack of coordination and blurred vision among others. Common pharmaceutical brand names for Benzodiazepine’s are Xanax, Ativan and Valium. Benzodiazepine drugs are difficult to stop taking after long-term dependence has been established. Detox and withdrawal from Benzodiazepines presents its own challenges such as seizures, heart palpitations and brain damage. For these reasons, medical supervision is always recommended.


Pharmaceuticals

Each year, many individuals in America become addicted to prescription pills. Prescription pills that range in the category of opioids, stimulants, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and more. Individuals who become addicted to prescription pills will often ask their doctor to increase their medication, frequently run out of medication before their refill is due and occasionally partake in what is known as doctor shopping to attain extra prescriptions to abuse. Abuse of opioid prescription pills can also lead an individual to begin using and purchasing illicit drugs, such as a Heroin, that are similar in composition, easily accessible, and less costly.


Designer Drugs

A designer drug is a name used to identify a broad category of synthetic drugs that have been designed to mimic the effects of an original drug. Designer drugs are more likely to be abused by teenagers. The most common designer drugs are ecstasy, GHB, Rohypnol and LSD. The effects of designer drugs vary, as it is a broader category, but can include feelings of panic, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, shaking, increased heart rate, dehydration, sweating, fainting or paranoia. People who abuse designer drugs have a high risk of brain damage, overdose, and/or death.


Prescription Pills

Each year, many individuals in America become addicted to prescription pills. Prescription pills that range in the category of opioids, stimulants, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and more. Individuals who become addicted to prescription pills will often ask their doctor to increase their medication, frequently run out of medication before their refill is due and occasionally partake in what is known as doctor shopping to attain extra prescriptions to abuse. Abuse of opioid prescription pills can also lead an individual to begin using and purchasing illicit drugs, such as a Heroin, that are similar in composition, easily accessible, and less costly.


Depressants

Depressants are commonly referred to as “downers,” as they decrease a person’s level of energy when taken. Tranquilizers such as Zyprexa, Seroquel and Haldol are known depressants, along with Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines. The short-term effects of depressants are poor concentration, confusion, dizziness, fatigue, dilated pupils, depression, low blood pressure and overall sluggishness. Long-term abuse of depressant drugs can lead to a higher tolerance, which could end in a coma while dosing at a high amount. Other long-term effects of high dose users are depression, chronic fatigue, sexual problems, sleep problems, and breathing difficulties.


Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens are a broad range of diverse types of drugs both natural and synthetic that create major changes in perception, thoughts, and feelings. Hallucinations, or seeing and hearing things that are not there, are common with these types of drugs. Some hallucinogens are found in plants, or their extracts, while others are created by humans. The most common hallucinogens are Ayahuasca, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), D-Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), Peyote (mescaline), and 4-phosophoryloxxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine (psilocybin). The major signs of hallucinogen abuse are dialed pupils, salivation or dry mouth, weakness, confusion, mood swings, erratic behavior, violent behavior, anxiety, auditory or visual hallucinations, and paranoia.


Barbiturates

Barbiturates fall into the category of sedative-hypnotic drugs. Barbiturates act on the central nervous system as a depressant and can produce a range of mild sedation to total anesthesia. Barbiturate drugs in their generic form such as amobarbital, butobarbital, pentobarbital and phenobarbital are commonly prescribed to help in the aid of anxiety and sleep. The use of Barbiturates has been in decline since the 1970s with the creation of Benzodiazepines. Some of the more common signs of Barbiturate abuse are elation, excessive talkativeness, impaired judgement, lowered inhibitions, slurred speech and lack of coordination. The signs of abuse are similar to the signs presented in those who are abusing alcohol.


Inhalants

Inhalants are volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites that are ingested through sniffing, snorting, huffing, inhaling, or spraying the product directly into the mouth. Commonly abused inhalants, such as paint thinner, nail polish remover, degreaser, spray paint and whipped cream dispensers can be found in almost any home or workplace. Inhalants can be very addictive, especially to teenagers. The symptoms of abuse are drowsiness, lightheadedness, loss of inhibition, apathy, impaired judgement and delusions. Physical signs are loss of appetite, dilated pupils, red eyes, runny nose, mouth sores, drunken appearance and strange smelling breath. Like many other drugs, inhalants have a powerful effect on the brain reward system.

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