(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Shernide Delva
You wake up at 8 a.m. sharp, jump in the shower, eat breakfast, watch the morning news and go to work. You come home from work, spend time with family, kiss your spouse and go to bed at 9 p.m. On the outside; you look like a person who has it all together. However, on the inside, you are battling an addiction and are too afraid to admit you have a problem. Besides, everything seems to be going fine, right?
If the above sounds like you, you are a functioning addict. The functioning addict looks like the average person. They are not homeless, nor are they unemployed. Most people are unaware they even have a problem. They might be excelling at work, and paying their bills on time. However, on the inside, they are constantly thinking about where their next high will come from. This is the addict that lives next door.
Unfortunately, the stigma of drug addiction leaves most with imagery of a homeless, dirty beggar. Many assume a drug addict has to be homeless, incarcerated or in poor physical health. However, as most of us know by now, this is far from the case. The prescription painkiller epidemic has shifted the image of the average drug addict from a person on the streets to the everyday member of society. An addict comes in many faces. It could be your next door neighbor, the stay-at-home mom, or even the doctor or well-regarded priest. Addiction crosses all areas of society.
About the High-Functioning Addict
If you are a functioning addict, you are less likely to get help for your addiction because you believe you have your addiction under control. On top of that, most will not believe your addiction is real. However, the reality is your addiction is very real and very dangerous. While you might be able to keep your addiction secret, in the beginning, things will eventually get worse. Eventually, your addiction will become unmanageable.
The truth is, it can happen to anyone. In 2011, Whoopi Goldberg of the television show, The View, confessed:
“I was a functioning drug addict; I showed up for work because I knew a lot of people would be out of work and I wouldn’t get a check that I needed to buy my drugs.”
A statement like this is all too common for the functioning addict. They know they need to keep working to keep their addiction alive. If the paychecks dwindle, the “functioning” part of their addiction will soon fall apart.
Addiction: The Real Definition
Addiction has little to do with your ability to keep your life together. Addiction is addiction whether your families or friends believe you have a problem. Addiction does not depend on your work status or your relationship with your family. While the fall of these things typically results on an addict finally getting treatment, addiction does not depend on these factors falling apart.
Addiction is a chronic brain disease caused by substance use and abuse. This substance use results in changes in the brain that make it very difficult for a person to control their desire to use, and therefore control their substance use.
Just like any addict, a high functioning addict has a compulsive need to use and abuse their d.o.c (drug of choice). Even though you might be able to maintain your relationship, friendship, and occupation, you still have a serious problem. If left unaddressed, you can suffer serious health consequences and your addiction will eventually become too consuming to hide any longer.
Could It Be Me?
If you think you might be a functioning drug addiction, look at the following questions and answer them honestly. If you find you are having more “yes” answers than no’s, the time is now to talk to a professional about your addiction.
- When you start drinking or using, do you find it hard to stop?
- Do you often think about using drugs or drinking?
- Do you schedule your time around drinking or using drugs?
- Have you tried to stop before, but found that you were unable to?
- Do you drink or use drugs at work?
- Do you drink or use drugs first thing in the morning?
- Do you hide your abuse from others?
- Have you done something risky, like driven drunk?
- Are you worried about your abuse?
If you are a high-functioning addict, chances are you worry about seeking treatment because you fear it might cost you your job, family, or both. However, there are various options that can be discussed with your treatment center and job to negotiate a plan that works best for you.
Remember, there is no cookie-cutter type for an addict. Addicts come from all walks of life and income brackets. They vary in race, religion and sexuality. Every addict deserves to live a life free from addiction. Hiding from addiction will never help you beat addiction. Stand up and face your addiction today. The time is now. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Shernide Delva
There are two sides to every story, and when it comes to alcoholism, the same saying holds truth. A new study examined the changes in the brain that makes a person prone to alcoholism. What they discovered is that there are two types of alcoholic brains: anxiety-prone and impulsive.
Anxiety and impulse control issues are common among alcoholics and the difference between the two could lie in changes in the brain tissues. The brain tissue of alcoholics experience changes that are different from the non-alcoholic brain. Over time, the brain tissue changes from consuming alcohol. Researchers have discovered that there are two types of alcoholic brains: anxiety-prone (Type I) and impulsive-depressive (Type II) and brain changes are exclusive to one type or the other.
Type I Alcoholics: Type I alcoholics typically become dependent on alcohol later in life. These types are prone to anxiety and use alcohol increasingly to resolve these issues.
Type II Alcoholics: These types tend to get hooked on alcohol at a younger age and exhibit anti-social impulsive behaviors.
The brain is a complex organ so not every alcoholic fit into these two categories, the researchers noted.
“From the viewpoint of the study setting, this division was made in order to highlight the wide spectrum of people suffering from alcohol dependence,” said lead researcher Olli Kärkkäinen. “The reality, of course, is far more diverse, and not every alcoholic fits into one of these categories.”
Regardless of what “type” of an alcoholic you are, there are similarities in the brain of all alcoholic. All alcoholics have an increase of a steroid hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone that affects the central nervous system. This could explain why many alcoholics become tolerant to the effects of alcohol after chronic, long-term use.
In addition, all alcoholics showed decreased levels of serotonin transporters in brain regions. This means that alcoholics have difficulty with mood regulation. They tend to be seeking this happy chemical and have a decreased level of serotonin transporters in the brain. This could explain why many alcoholics experience social anxiety.
Researchers will be using the results from this study to come up with new treatments for alcoholism that take into account the distinct differences between Type I and Type II brains.
“These findings enhance our understanding of changes in the brain that make people prone to alcoholism and that are caused by long-term use,” said researcher Kärkkäinen. “Such information is useful for developing new drug therapies for alcoholism, and for targeting existing treatments at patients who will benefit the most.”
In Western countries, it has been estimated that around 10-15% of the population qualify as alcohol-dependent. Across the world, alcohol is causing as much damage as all illegal substances combined. It is important to note these differences so medical personnel knows how these cases can differentiate.
Most of all, it is important that those who have struggled with alcoholism to seek help as early as possible. People who drink large amounts of alcohol for long periods of time run the risk of developing serious and persistent changes in the brain. The damage could be a combination of the alcohol consumptions along with poor general health.
Often, alcoholics have deficiencies in their health. Thiamine deficiency is extremely common in those with alcoholism and is a result of overall poor nutrition. Also, it can be hard for those struggling to make staying healthy a priority. Thiamine is crucial to the brain. It is an essential nutrient required by all tissues, including the brain. Many foods in the United States are fortified with thiamine; therefore, the average healthy person consumes enough of it.
Alcoholism can cause major damage to your brain and overall health if left untreated. This article simply confirms the reason why it is so important that those struggling with alcoholism seek professional help. Trying to fix the problem on your own is not the best solution, especially when you are not aware of how your mind and body is functioning. We are here to help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, don’t wait. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Shernide Delva
More and more states are banning the powdered substance known as “the Kool-Aid for underage drinkers.’ The substance, Palcohol, is essentially a powdered version of alcohol intended to be mixed with beverages like soda or fruit juice. One six ounce packet of Palcohol is equivalent to one standard mixed drink.
Although Palcohol was approved by the Alcohol U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau last year, it became the focus of intense scrutiny. Legislators to child advocates alike were pushing to ban this substance from being sold in stores. One of the biggest concerns is the product getting into the hands of children. Also, since the product is in powdered form, it can be snorted, added to energy drinks, and given to people unknowingly. All of these are real dangerous risks.
Over half the country has already banned the substance. Now, California is joining those states in banning Palcohol, fearing the potential danger it poses to youth looking for a cheap buzz. The maker of the product, Lipsmark LLC, is fighting an uphill battle as more and more states jump on the bandwagon.
On Monday, legislation in California to ban the substance received unanimous support from the state’s Senate Appropriations Committee, which determined that banning the product in California would not impose “any significant state cost to taxpayers,” state Senator Bob Huff, who authored the bill, told the Orange County Breeze.
Palcohol has yet to hit any shelves in the United States, and already the product has been banned and raised controversy from legislators to child advocates. Everyone is bracing for the worse possible outcome:
“This product must not be allowed to reach store shelves,” said Huff. “It presents an array of potential health problems as it can be snorted, added to energy drinks, slipped to unknowing recipients, or even added to beverages already containing alcohol in an attempt to create a dangerously potent concoction.”
Furthermore, a 2013 study conducted by the U.S Centers for Disease Control revealed the “societal cost” of binge drinking was $32 billion for one year. A product like Palcohol could contribute to those costs and result in more problems. Allowing young people to have access to a product like Palcohol does have potentially harmful side effects.
Similar alcohol products exist in other countries, and now Palcohol is determined to be the first in the United States. The website offers no timeline as to when Palcohol will hit the market for now. The powder will come in packets that include flavors such as:
- Powderita – tastes just like a Margarita
- Lemon Drop
All packets will contain the same alcohol content as one shot of alcohol. Currently, the website states there is not a set date for the product’s release. However, this may change shortly. The website promotes the product as product of convenience. The owner, Mark Phillips, created it while hiking. Phillips did not want to carry any other liquor other than water. After a long hike, Phillips craved an adult beverage and thought of how great it would be for him to have packets he could easily carry along with him. The idea eventually led to Palcohol.
Although Phillips’ idea does not seem ill-intended, products like these lend easily to abuse. There are too many people who are struggling with binge drinking. This product should at least be a monitored carefully before its release. What do you think?
Products like Palcohol offer convenience for the moderate drinker, however, can be dangerous to those who suffer from substance abuse. Therefore, caution behind products like this is warranted. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Suboxone is a popularly approved medication to treat opiate withdrawal. It is one of two forms of the medication buprenorphine, which is an opiate agonist originally developed to treat pain problems. Suboxone works by binding to opiate receptors in the brain, which are the same receptors that morphine, heroin and other opiates bind to.
If you are not familiar with Suboxone, you might be more familiar with Methadone. Methadone was an earlier form of harm reduction treatments used to treat heroin addiction. Although Suboxone has treated thousands of patients struggling with opioid addiction, the drug is not without its risks. Critics continue to express concern over the lasting impact of Suboxone use when it comes to increasing dependency.
One huge concern of Suboxone use is the potential side effects of mixing other drugs with the substance. Suboxone can have dangerous interactions with other substances which pose an immediate risk to Suboxone users.
How Suboxone Works
In order to better understand the risk of combining drugs with Suboxone, it is important to understand how the drug works. Suboxone is a combination of the drugs buprenorphine and naloxone. It functions as a partial opioid agonist and diminishes cravings as well as prevents other opioids from reacting to the brain’s receptors. In other words, even if you try to get high off opioids, you won’t.
Taking other drugs while on Suboxone can be life threatening. If you are on Suboxone, pay very close attention to the following three substances. Combining these drugs with Suboxone can cause a very dangerous, even fatal interaction.
3 Drugs You Should Never Mix With Suboxone:
- Benzodiazepines (“Benzos”)
Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin) are drugs usually prescribed to alleviate anxiety and treat insomnia. They are depressant drugs, or “downers,” because they sedate the central nervous system, which slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and depresses breathing. Because Suboxone is also a depressant drug, the two together create a double-whammy effect. The combination can cause a severe lack of coordination, impaired judgment, unconsciousness, respiratory failure, and even death.
The effects of Suboxone and cocaine are extremely dangerous because both drugs are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Cocaine is a stimulant, or “upper,” while Suboxone is a depression, or “downer.” When you combine cocaine with Suboxone, it actually reduces the amount of buprenorphine that is in your bloodstream. When you have less buprenorphine in your body, you start to feel opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Combining cocaine with Suboxone increases the risk of a cocaine overdose. Since Suboxone is a depressant, it counteracts the effects of cocaine. This means users end up taking more and more cocaine because they do not feel the effects they normally would on their regular amount. Typically, users start to believe that can handle more cocaine, even when they cannot. The increase in cocaine used can result in an overdose.
Mixing alcohol with any medication is never a good idea, especially Suboxone. Just like benzos, alcohol is a depressant. Alcohol is even more of a problem than benzos because it is so readily available. An uninformed Suboxone user may not even consider the risks of drinking alcohol. However, combining alcohol and Suboxone can produce the same exacerbated effects such as unconsciousness and respiratory failure. These side effects can be dangerous and even fatal.It is so important to know all the risks you are taking with newly prescribed medication. According to statistics, there were 30,135 buprenorphine-related emergency room visits in 2010. It should come as no surprise that 59 percent of these visits involved additional drugs.
As Suboxone’s popularity increases, it is important to understand the dangers of mixing Suboxone with other substances. If you are taking Suboxone or similar drugs, it might be a good idea for you to consider seeking help on going off those drugs completely. Seeking professional treatment can help you not rely on any drugs in your recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Uber has officially altered the way we look at transportation. Now, instead of the traditionally expensive taxi cabs, millions are opting to Uber instead. The app is estimated to be worth anywhere from 60 to 70 billion dollars.
Enter in Austin Geidt who climbed the ranks at the Uber Company. She rose from marketing intern to one of the company’s top executives. However, despite her professional achievement, Geidt believes she only has one accomplishment to be the most proud of: getting sober.
The 30-year-old spoke for the first time during Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in San Francisco about how she spent the first half of her 20s fighting to overcome her addiction and regain control of her life. Although she did not go into detail about the specifics of her addiction, Geidt went on to say she sought help at age 19 and got sober the following year.
Geidt graduated from UC Berkeley at the age of 25 and then joined the Uber team right after. Upon starting her position, she admitted feeling out of place working with people who were years younger than her.
“It was so important to get that part of my life right so I could get the rest of my life right,” she said. “[But] I felt behind as a 25-year-old intern.”
Despite her qualms, Geidt utilized the tools she learned in recovery to her advantage. She thrived in her position at Uber. She attributes her years in recovery to helping her learn how to take small steps to tackle big problems. Recovery taught her how to be direct with herself and others as well as gain insight into what’s most important.
“I immersed myself at Uber,” she said. “But I am also able to step back considerably. I love what we do, but I also have perspective on what’s really important to me.”
Geidt says she hopes to continue sharing her story because she believes it can be a sign of hope for other young people struggling with addiction.
Overcoming Addiction Young
Geidt’s story is an example of how beneficial it is to overcome your addiction as early as possible. Although recovery should be sought after at any age, the earlier you overcome your addiction, the better. Early recovery allows you to have the rest of your life to achieve your goals with the right recovery mentality.
In addition, when we are older, drugs affect our bodies differently. With age, our bodies undergo several chemical and physical changes that alter the way we react to the world. When it comes to drug and alcohol, certain behavioral changes occur and there are correlations between substance abuse and the age of the addict.
When it comes to alcohol dependence, age is a major factor. Research reveals that when a person is over the age of 65, they have an increased risk for a myriad of symptoms due to alcohol abuse. For example, physical symptoms can occur and there is a higher risk or injury, even death.
It is also likely that the older you are, the more medication you may be taking that could be negatively affected by alcohol. Mixing alcohol with drugs like aspirin or antihistamines heighten the effect and the results can be deadly.
Furthermore, Geidt was able to address her illness at an early age and had the rest of her life to become successful and start over. She was able to finish college and eventually become the executive of a thriving company. Seeking recovery is crucial at any age, but putting it off could be costing yourself years of time to finally seek success in your own life.
The earlier you overcome your addiction, the better. Seek treatment today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva