The Importance of Getting Help
Continuous substance abuse can lead to dangerous outcomes, sometimes even death. It affects the addict and everyone around them as well. Substance abuse typically creates a dependency within the user, making it extremely tough to function without using.
The intense withdrawal symptoms of certain drugs can make it harder for a person to quit. This is why it is important to get help from medical professionals. This can make the process manageable and safe for the person who is struggling with substance abuse.
If you notice that a loved one might be struggling with substance abuse, it is crucial to act fast. If left untreated these addictions can lead to dangerous complications and can even lead to death. Unity is ready to help you get on the road to recovery with our personalized substance abuse treatment program.
Alcohol abuse continues to be one of the most abused drugs in the U.S. Alcohol abuse is described as a frequent pattern of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol on a frequent basis. Oftentimes this abuse leads to physical dependence on alcohol or alcoholism.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse
There are a number of different symptoms and red flags that can indicate a loved one or someone you know might be abusing alcohol. It is important to look out for these signs and offer support and quickly get medical attention to avoid dangerous complications down the road.
Some common signs of alcohol abuse include:
- Hiding or lying about drinking
- Drinking excessively to cope with stress or depression
- Extreme mood swings or erratic/violent behavior
- Changes in appearance
- Frequent ‘blackouts’ and short term memory loss
- Drinking at unusual times (sometimes before work or while driving)
- Decreased performance in school or at work
- Neglecting responsibilities
Physical Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse can cause a variety of different negative effects in the short and long term. Along with the immediate side effects of alcohol abuse comes the long-term potential for disease and death.
Some common symptoms of alcohol abuse include:
- Slurred speech
- Slowed reflexes
- Trouble concentrating
- Risky behavior
- Brownouts and gaps in memory
- Prone to accidents, drowning, suicide, or fights
- Potential for heart disease
If you are concerned that a loved one or someone you know is abusing alcohol, Unity Behavioral Health may be able to help. Don’t wait, it is important to get help sooner than later.
Heroin is an opioid drug that typically comes in the form of a white or brown powder. Heroin can have intense and severe effects when abused. Heroin works by entering the brain rapidly affecting areas that control pain, pleasure, heart rate, sleep, and breathing among others.
Heroin is extremely addictive due to the fact that a person can become tolerant to it. Tolerance build-up means that the addict must take a higher dose to feel the desired effects of heroin. This can lead to many health issues and can sometimes lead to overdose.
Symptoms of Heroin Abuse
When heroin is injected, snorted, or smoked the person feels a ‘rush’ (a euphoric feeling of pleasure). Along with this rush is a number of different short-term symptoms including:
- Warm skin
- Dry mouth
- Severe itching/scratching
- Blurred mental judgment
- Nausea and vomiting
- Back-and-forth state of consciousness and semi-consciousness
If heroin is used for a long period of time, the person can begin to develop more severe and dangerous symptoms down the line. Long-term use effects include:
- Damage to nose tissue (specifically to those who snort or sniff heroin)
- Infection of the heart lining/valves
- Stomach cramps
- Liver and kidney disease
- Depression and antisocial personality disorder
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
Abruptly stopping the use of heroin can create severe withdrawal symptoms. These can develop within hours of not using. Common withdrawal symptoms of heroin include:
- Intense muscle and bone pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Severe cravings
- Cold flashes (usually with goosebumps)
Heroin’s intense withdrawal symptoms and addictive nature make medical treatment a-must for long-term recovery. Like the other substances on this page, action must be taken as soon as possible to ensure recovery and safety against harmful complications later on.
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that usually comes in the form of a white powdery substance. Cocaine increases the level of dopamine in your brain’s circuits (related to those primarily in control of movement and reward).
This strong flood of dopamine only reinforces the dangerous drug-taking habits within the person. Tolerance is also an issue with cocaine, as many people will continue to increase the dose to gain the same desired effects.
Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse
There are a number of short-term effects that occur almost immediately after snorting cocaine and can last up to an hour. Short-term symptoms of cocaine include:
- Extreme happiness and energy
- Hypersensitive to sight, sound, and touch
- Mental alertness (heightened more than usual)
- Paranoid (distrust of others around you)
Some people take cocaine to help them perform throughout the day (physically and mentally). Continuous use of cocaine can lead to unpredictable and sometimes even violent behaviors. Long-term use of cocaine can cause a multitude of health issues including:
- When snorted: Loss of smell, problems swallowing, nose bleeds
- When smoked: Cough, intense respiratory distress, risk of infections like pneumonia
- When injected: Increased risk of contracting infections like HIV or hepatitis C, collapsed tissues, skin infections.
- When consumed by mouth: Severe bowel decay (due to reduced blood flow)
Methamphetamine (meth) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug that seriously affects the person’s central nervous system. Meth increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, particularly in the areas that control moment, motivation, and rewarding mechanisms.
Sleeping Pill Abuse
Sleeping pills are categorized as sedative-hypnotics and are usually prescribed for cases of insomnia and other sleep disorders. While they are usually prescribed for a short period of time, many sleeping pills have the potential to be abused or misused, which can lead to addiction.
It is easy to underestimate the power of certain sleeping pills and the dangerous power they can have over someone’s life when they are misused. If abused for long periods of time, sleeping pills can have dangerous effects on a person’s body, sometimes leading to seizures, depressed breathing, and other health complications.
Common signs and symptoms of sleeping pill abuse include the following:
- Slurred speech
- Uncoordinated movement
- Trouble focusing
- Unusual euphoric state
- Impaired memory
- Dry mouth
- Taking medication without the intention of going to sleep
- Depressed breathing
- Running out of prescriptions early
Substance Abuse Treatment Options
When a person abuses a substance, it can eventually take over their lives and have intensely negative effects on them as time goes on. Luckily, there are a number of treatment options that can help get you or a loved one to a cleaner and healthier life.
Unity Behavioral Health has one of the best substance abuse treatment programs in Florida. Our patient and qualified staff will be by your side to make sure you are comfortable and on your way to recovery. Here are just some of the different treatment options we offer for substance abuse.
Detoxification (or detox) is the process of purging the body of a certain substance. The main purpose of detox is to manage the intense withdrawal symptoms that occur when a person suddenly stops taking drugs or alcohol.
Detox is only the first step towards recovery. Detox alone won’t ‘cure’ addiction, but it allows for a more successful recovery with the help of other substance abuse treatment options.
Residential treatment offers the most options for an addict and allows constant access to resources and medical professionals. For severe addictions, residential treatments offer around-the-clock assistance.
Unity Behavioral Health offers a quality residential treatment experience for substance abuse. From psychological counseling to detox and individual/group therapy. You will have access to constant support and medical professionals dedicated to helping you on the road to full recovery.
Outpatient treatment is the perfect option for those with prior obligations that want to recover from their substance abuse, and for those with less severe cases of drug or alcohol abuse. Outpatient treatment offers a convenient and personalized schedule at various sessions throughout the week.
Outpatient treatment allows you to continue sobriety and therapy while still being able to live your life. For 10-30 hours per week, you can meet with qualified therapists and experience group sessions in a structured and effective schedule just for you.
Recovering from a substance or alcohol addiction is only part of the journey. Just because your treatment has ended, doesn’t mean your journey is over. It is important to continue treatment for long-term sobriety and to avoid relapses down the road.
There are a number of different treatment options you can use to continue your recovery even after your treatment is over, including outpatient and residential treatment. Whether its a 12-step program or individual therapy, it is important to maintain sobriety and avoid relapses.
Don’t Wait to Get Help
At Unity Behavioral Health, we understand the negative effects that substance abuse can have on a person and everyone around them. Our passionate staff is committed to help you and your loved ones get on the road to recovery and stay there.
If you or a loved one is suffering from substance or alcohol abuse, we may be able to help. To learn more about our substance abuse treatment options, contact us today!
Symptoms of Meth Abuse
Continuous use of methamphetamine can cause severe health issues down the line. Along with impaired judgment and decision-making, meth abuse can make you more at risk to contract infection from unprotected sex.
A few long-term effects of meth abuse include:
- Severe weight loss
- Change in brain function/structure
- Memory loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Violent and erratic behavior
- Severe dental issues
- Intense scratching/itching (could cause skin sores)
Along with these symptoms is the chance of overdosing on meth. Overdosing can subsequently lead to stroke, heart attack, and other severe health problems. If a loved one or someone you know is overdosing, seek medical attention immediately.
Prescription Pills Abuse
Believe it or not, some of the most addictive drugs are the ones prescribed by doctors. Prescription drug abuse occurs when a person takes a prescribed drug for reasons other than why it was prescribed by a doctor (or taking more pills than instructed).
Abusing prescription drugs can cause negative effects on your body and can even change how your brain works. There are a number of different prescription drugs and at Unity, we focus on some of the most addictive and severe prescription drugs.
Opioids (also referred to as narcotics) typically come in the form of prescribed painkillers. The most common prescribed opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. If abused, the person can form a dependency on opioids and can suffer severe withdrawal symptoms when not taking pills.
Common side effects of opioid abuse include:
- Intense cravings
- Decreased hygiene
- Weight loss
- Inability to control opioid use
- Isolation from friends/family
- Financial difficulties
- Risk of an overdose after long-term use
Benzodiazepines (also known as Benzos) are a type of medication known as tranquilizers. Xanax and Valium are two of the most prescribed benzodiazepines in the U.S. When abused, benzos can create a sedating effect.
Benzos are commonly abused for the effects they produce and the availability of the medication. When combined with alcohol, benzo abuse can become extremely dangerous, highly increasing the chances of death and serious illness within the person.
Common symptoms of Benzo abuse include:
- Blurry vision
- Slurred Speech
- Breathing problems
- Overall weakness