For many celebrities, the constant scrutiny, attention, demands and overall excessive lifestyle do take a toll. Celebrities are often surrounded by people who don’t see them as just another person, but often view them as commodities. Being constantly on location, traveling or living far from home means not being surrounded by people who really know and understand you.
Addiction And Hollywood
Anyone who has ever read a tabloid cover in the supermarket line or watched an entertainment news show on television knows that celebrities and their drug or alcohol…
If you can drink whenever you feel like it, get up in the morning, make it to work on time, and get through the day without incident, does that mean you’re not an alcoholic? The short answer is no, according to Healthline
The term “functional alcoholic” is common, but it can be misleading. If you’re addicted to alcohol, you can appear to be functional. But it takes a lot of effort to keep up appearances and fulfill obligations. If you continue to drink, it’s only a matter of time before you’re no longer functional.
How much is too much?
Men shouldn’t have more than 14 drinks per week and 4 drinks on any single day. Women shouldn’t have more than 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 drinks on any day. But you might be surprised at what counts as a drink. A 5-ounce glass of table wine, a 12-ounce glass of regular beer, and 1½ ounces of hard liquor each contain the same amount of alcohol, and each counts as 1 drink.
Alcohol problems come from drinking too much, too fast, or too often. People with alcohol dependence are addicted to alcohol, and they can’t control their drinking. When alcohol-dependent people try to stop drinking, problems begin to start.
People who are addicted to alcohol start having to drink more and more to get drunk. They might have a drink in the morning to calm down or stop a hangover. They might drink alone, and they might keep it a secret. These activities will make them feel bad about themselves. Drinking more will temporarily help those feelings of guilt.
Functioning is temporary
If you’re a functional alcoholic, you may be doing everything you can to avoid the issue. You might even convince yourself that you’re not an alcoholic at all. Maybe you just aren’t sure. One way to test yourself is to stop drinking. If you begin to experience physical withdrawal, you may be an alcoholic. If you experience withdrawal symptoms, it may be time to seek help.
Alcoholism is a progressive disease. As time passes, your body becomes more dependent on alcohol and you need ever-increasing amounts to satisfy your body’s demands. Without some effort to control it, it will continue to worsen until you can no longer function.
Eventually, obvious health problems and behavioral changes will make your addiction impossible to hide. Even if you function well, at some point, others will notice changes in your behavior and judgment. You’ll be unable to mask physical signs like slurred speech and slowed reflexes.
As the disease progresses, so does its physical toll. Alcoholism puts you at increased risk of:
damage to the central nervous system
weakened immune system
some forms of cancer
The good news is that no matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with an alcohol use disorder can benefit from some form of treatment.
Ok I am ready to admit I have a problem – now what?
Overall, gather as much information as you can, before making a decision on treatment. If you know someone who has first-hand knowledge, this is a good place to start.
If you need a treatment program – here are some questions you can ask:
What kind of treatment does the program or provider offer?
Is treatment tailored to the individual?
What is expected of the patient?
Is treatment success measured?
How does the program or provider handle relapse?
Diagnosing yourself, if the biggest and hardest part of having an addiction. Alcoholism can creep up slowly. Denial can be a very strong barrier to getting well. In my case, I was convinced that I was drinking a lot, because I had so many problems. I just knew that if I could get a better handle on life, then I could go back to social drinking. The reality was; my problems had developed because of my drinking. Once I crossed that invisible line and was no longer able to predict what would happen after I took the first drink, the gig was up. If alcoholism has set in, you will only get worse never better.
I hated the functioning alcoholics because I was jealous. Why can’t I drink the way I want to and hold on to a job? What a sick way of thinking. But, that was nearly two decades ago. Now, I understand that sobriety is not a punishment and drinking is not the only way to solve problems.
The first thing to remember is that Drug Addiction (or Alcoholism) is a complex illness. It is characterized by intense and uncontrollable drug cravings. These cravings cause irrational, compulsive drug seeking behaviors. The addict will lie and manipulate every chance they get, despite the consequences. Remember, your loved one is not a bad person — just a sick person. Count on everything you are being told is not going to be the truth.
Drug and alcohol abuse disrupts all aspects of an individual’s life. Treatment is not simple. You and your family will be tense, scared and guilty. You may even start to question, if what you are doing is right. When you feel this way, call your referral counselor immediately. This person is familiar with the process and will guide you to make the right decisions.Get your loved one into treatment as soon as possible. Have transportation ready to take them directly to the facility. You should be constantly speaking with your referral counselor at this stage. This is the high risk time when your addicted loved one will try to run. This is very common, so don’t be discouraged — just be prepared. Forcing a person into treatment, is still going to be effective.
If the recovering addict is enrolled in a program that starts in a few days, they may need a safe place to stay. It is important that they stay away from their old “friends”. Families can play a loving role in this task by supplying a place to sleep.
If you are not addicted to alcohol, but occasionally drink, I suggest avoiding it for a while. At the very least, refrain from drinking in front your loved one. This doesn’t have to be forever, just in the beginning when the cravings are the worst. Hide, all of your medicine, credit cards and other valuables. I know this sounds harsh, but cravings can make a person do very bad things.During the first stage of the recovery process, known as detox, the recovering addict may experience many unpleasant symptoms, including physical illness, insomnia, excessive lethargy or increased appetite.
A few tips to can be helpful.
Try not to rehash old hurts.
Don’t allow them to have a cell phone.
Don’t listen to anything they say.
Keep in contact with your referral counselor
Treatment programs can last anywhere between 28 days and 12 months. A three-month stay is very common. This is not going to be a quick and easy process. Treatment isn’t over when the substance is out of the system. Working on the underlying causes of addiction is critical for providing long-term sobriety. Longer treatment programs allows your addicted loved one to take their time, work daily with experts and learn ways to cope with addiction. However, the duration of the rehab stay should always correspond with their individual needs.
The following are the general steps and stages of inpatient alcohol rehab.STEP 1. Assessment
STEP 2. Medical detox, if necessary
STEP 3. Medications (possibly) combined with psychotherapy and psychological treatment
STEP 4. Education on the nature of addiction
STEP 5. Supportive services
STEP 6. Aftercare and maybe sober living
My loved one is at the rehab, how can I help?:
Write some letters
Get some help for yourself, because you have been through a lot
Make yourself available for family counseling sessions
Refraining from judgment
Visit when it is allowed
Will the treatment work?
Treatment does work, but there is no permanent cure. The treatment center will provide an after-care plan. If your loved one messes up, don’t panic. This can happen and it does not mean that the treatment didn’t work. Experts have found that a relapse can serve as an important opportunity for learning. It can help the recovering person and other family members identify what triggered the relapse in the first place and determine ways to avoid it in the future. If a relapse happens call your referral counselor immediately. This is the most important thing you could do. They are familiar with this circumstance and can help get the person back on track.
Addiction creates an overwhelming and dangerous situation for you and your loved one. Don’t hesitate. I know that change is scary, but you don’t have to do it alone.
There are plenty of myths about alcohol and alcoholism – like alcohol is a stimulant (it’s actually a depressant). Some of these myths might be obvious but some might surprise you. Find out what’s myth and what’s real.
Myth: Alcoholics are old men, who wear dirty trench coats, and drink under a bridge.
I am embarrassed to admit that I thought this was true for a long time. Now before you judge me, it’s been over 20 years since I held this notion. To set the record straight: alcoholics can be any age, any gender, any religion and any race. Alcoholism does not discriminate.
Myth: Drinking coffee, taking a shower or exercising can sober you up.
Drinking coffee or showering will make you feel clean and more awake, but it won’t make you less drunk or cure a hangover. Dancing or sweating doesn’t work either. It takes about 3 hours to eliminate the alcohol content of two drinks (depending on your weight). Don’t learn this fact the hard way.
I have known people who got arrested for drunk driving (on the way to work). Time is the only thing that will sober a person up.
Myth: Alcohol will warm you up when you are cold.
A shot of whisky or brandy can make you feel warmer for a bit, but alcohol actually lowers your body temperature. It’s not the perfect beverage for cold weather.
Myth: Drinking before bedtime helps you sleep.
Alcohol can make you feel sleepy, and help you fall asleep quickly, but you won’t feel fully rested in the morning. That’s because it stops your body from entering “deep sleep” leaving you tired the next morning.
Myth: There is nothing anyone can do to help a problem drinker.
Many people are reluctant to admit they have a problem with alcohol. But many people are able to turn their lives around and take control of their drinking.
Myth: Beer doesn’t have as much alcohol as hard liquor.
A 12-ounce bottle of beer has the same amount of alcohol as a standard shot of 80-proof liquor (either straight or in a mixed drink) or 5 ounces of wine.
Myth: Alcohol improves sexual performance.
Although you may think that drinking makes you better in bed, in reality alcohol reduces performance.
Myth: Alcohol use is not as dangerous as drug use.
Although there are more illicit drug users than there are alcoholics, every year there are many more alcohol related deaths than there is drug related deaths.
Myth: After being clean and sober for a while, most alcoholics are cured and can eventually return to social drinking.
Oh boy – don’t learn this the hard way. Addiction is never cured. Never ever! After a period of recovery, some folks can (for s short stint) control their use of alcohol. Inevitably, they fall back into alcoholic patterns — almost always for the worse.
Myth: If a person drinks long and hard enough they will become alcoholic.
There is actually no science to support this. Some people will begin to show alcoholic behavior the first time they drink. Others will drink for years without ever showing signs of alcoholic behavior. And still others, after drinking for some time, will begin to develop signs of alcoholism. It appears to depend on the individual. I am constantly baffled by this.
Myth: Alcoholics can just stop – they just don’t want to (or they are selfish).
Without some kind of support, few alcoholics can quit on their own. It is not simply a matter of will power. Recovery from drinking is a whole life change that takes time, treatment and support.
Myth: Alcoholism is a moral failing (the alcoholic is a bad or sinful person).
Addiction is a disease—it’s chronic and treatable. Long-term drinking changes the way the brain works, resulting in compulsive behavior. If you disagree with me, I’m OK with that. However, our healthcare system now treats alcoholism as equally as any other disease and insurance company’s are required to offer comparable care. So if you are abusing alcohol, go to a medical professional like you would if you suspected you had a heart condition or diabetes.
Myth: Addicts need to hit “rock bottom” before they are receptive to any form of treatment.
I really thought this was true, however evidence shows that people who are forced into treatment get sober and stay sober. Not always. but that’s true for people who have not been forced into treatment too.
My own personal myth was that absolutely everyone drank. The very few people who didn’t were losers, religious freaks or health sufferers. My reality is that I only surrounded myself with hard drinkers, so I would not look as bad. I am shocked how many people could care less about drinking. The video I embedded demonstrates this nicely. I also thought a life without alcohol was a life without living. I am really grateful that was not true for me.
While drug addiction is sometimes thought of as a problem affecting only “certain groups”, the data on prescription abuse tell another story. In fact, the CDC has termed such abuse as a “growing, deadly epidemic.”
Prescription Drug Addictions
Just because pills are prescribed by a doctor and administered by a pharmacy, that doesn’t mean they are safe for everyone. As prescription numbers continue to rise, the chance for prescription drug abuse rises as well.
Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine prescribed to treat panic disorder and serious anxiety. It calms a person by depressing his or her abnormal central nervous system. Those without a prescription may abuse the drug for its fast-acting sedating and relaxing effects. The Drug Abuse Warning Network says Xanax is the most abused drug for these reasons.
Klonopin & Valium
Much like Xanax, Klonopin and Valium are often misused for their sedative effects. These “highs” can feel similar to the effects of alcohol, including feelings of drunkenness, talkativeness, and relaxation.
Due to these favorable traits, Klonopin, Valium, and other benzodiazepines can be extremely habit-forming, cause blackouts, and even death by overdose. It is not uncommon for Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium to be taken in conjunction with other drugs.
Oxycodone, sold commonly as OxyContin and Percocet, is an opioid that changes the way the brain and central nervous system respond to pain. It creates a euphoric, sedative effect.
Often likened to heroin, Oxycodone is prescribed by doctors about six million times a year. Because these pills can cost big money, pill addicts often have to steal to afford the habit.
Demerol & Darvocet
Like Oxycodone, Demerol and Darvocet are commonly abused painkillers. The danger in these, besides the immediate side effects, is that users often develop a tolerance to the drugs’ effects and will increase their dosage. Often, this leads to painful and possibly even violent withdrawal symptoms.
In 2010, Darvocet was pulled off the market in the United States because it was found to lead to heart complications in patients.
Codeine (Purple Drank)
Codeine is often combined with other medications to reduce coughing and pain. This opiate is commonly found in prescription-strength cough syrup. When consumed in high quantities, Codeine-based cough syrup has a sedative effect and can cause altered levels of consciousness.
Codeine cough syrup is the base for “purple drank” or “sizzurp,” a concoction made with soda and candy that was popularized in some early 2000s hip-hop music.
Simply known as speed, amphetamines are prescribed for conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy where focus and wakefulness are needed to combat symptoms. However, they have been historically misused for their energizing capabilities.
It’s most commonly misused today under the brand name Adderall by those who need to skip on sleep, such as truck drivers, college students working on deadlines, and shift workers.
Similar to Adderall, Ritalin is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system by increasing levels of dopamine—a hormone that heightens attention—in the brain. As with other stimulants, it can be habit forming.
One reason Ritalin and other ADHD drugs are so commonly abused is their availability. In 2005, doctors prescribed Ritalin and similar drugs more than 29 million times, and that number continues to rise.
Helping Loved Ones With Prescription Drug Addictions
If you suspect someone you love is abusing one of these medications, it’s important to get them help, which may include counseling or rehabilitation.
Important to Note: Anxiolytic Drugs are the most addictive, especially amoung teens and people under 30.Some of the more frequently prescribed anxiolytics are benzodiazepines. These include:
Alprazolam (Niravam, Xanax)
This drugs can also be the hardest to quit. Detoxing from these medications should be done under the supervision of a doctor. Withdrawal symptoms include seizures. Heroin addicts will often seek out this kind of medication.
The body chemistry of a non-problem drinker has only one difference then the body chemistry of a problem drinker. The non-problem drinker does not create a physical craving for alcohol once they ingest alcohol and therefore can often be heard making statements like “I am starting to feel it I better stop now, no thank you (to a free drink) I have had enough and If I can control my drinking why can’t you?”. If when you start drinking you find that at some time after you began to drink (it doesn’t have to be every time) you can’t stop drinking past “your preset limit” you are probably suffering from a body chemistry disease known as Alcoholism. The good news is there is a solution for Alcoholism.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of each stage can aid you in seeking help before your problem turns into dependence and addiction.
Stage #1: Occasional Abuse and Binge Drinking
The first stage of alcoholism is a general experimentation with alcohol. These drinkers may be new to different forms of alcohol and likely to test their limits. This is a common stage seen in young adults.
These drinkers also frequently engage in binge drinking. While they may not drink regularly, they consume exceptionally large amounts of alcohol at one time. Medline Plus classifies binge drinking as:
men who drink five or more alcoholic beverages within two hours
women who drink four or more beverages within two hours
Many binge drinkers exceed this amount. This is especially true for teens who attend drinking parties. You might think
binge drinking is safe when you only do it once in a while, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol at one time is dangerous, and can even lead to coma or death. Furthermore, you may become dependent on the feeling and find that these episodes increase in frequency.
Stage #2: Increased Drinking
Drinkers leave the experimental stage when their alcohol consumption becomes more frequent. Instead of just drinking at parties once in a while, you may find yourself drinking every weekend.
Increased alcohol consumption can also lead to drinking for these reasons:
as an excuse to get together with friends
to alleviate stress
out of boredom
to combat sadness or loneliness
Regular alcohol use is different from moderate drinking. There is usually a higher emotional attachment to it. A moderate drinker might pair a glass of wine with a meal, while a regular drinker uses alcohol to feel good in general. As increased drinking continues, you become more dependent on alcohol and are at risk of developing alcoholism.
Stage #3: Problem Drinking
Frequent, uncontrolled alcohol abuse eventually leads to problem drinking. While any form of alcohol abuse is problematic, the term “problem drinker” refers to someone who starts experiencing the impacts of their habit.
You may become more depressed, anxious, or start losing sleep. You may start to feel sick from heavy drinking, but enjoy its effects too much to care. Many drinkers at this stage are also more likely to drink and drive or experience legal troubles.
There are also specific social changes related to problem drinking. These include:
decreased social activity because of erratic behavior
sudden change in friends
difficulty conversing with strangers
Stage #4: Alcohol Dependence
Alcoholism has two facets: dependence and addiction. It’s possible for an alcoholic to be dependent on alcohol, but not yet addicted to drinking.
Dependence forms after the problem drinking stage. At this point, you have an attachment to alcohol that has taken over your regular routine. You’re aware of the adverse effects, but no longer have control over your alcohol consumption.
Alcohol dependence also means that you have developed a tolerance to drinking. As a result, you may have to drink larger quantities to get “buzzed” or drunk. Increased drinking has more damaging effects on the body.
Another characteristic of dependence is withdrawal. As you sober up, you may feel undesirable symptoms like:
nausea (not related to a hangover)
Stage #5: Addiction and Alcoholism
The final stage of alcoholism is addiction. You no longer want to just drink for pleasure at this stage. Alcohol addiction is characterized by a physical and a psychological need to drink.
Alcoholics physically crave the substance and are often inconsolable until they start drinking again. Alcoholics may also be addicted to drugs too.
Compulsive behaviors are prominent in addiction, and alcoholics often drink whenever and wherever they desire.
What’s My Outlook?
One of the biggest concerns with risky drinkers is when they don’t think they have a problem. Any stage of alcoholism is problematic. Moderate drinking is the only safe way to consume alcohol, but drinking in general isn’t safe for everyone.
Identifying problems with alcohol early can help prevent dependence and addiction. Medical treatment may be necessary to detox the body of alcohol and to obtain a fresh start. Since many alcoholics endure psychological problems, individual or group therapy may help in overcoming addiction.
The deeper into the stages of alcoholism you enter, the tougher it is to quit drinking. Long-term risks of heavy drinking include:
mental health disorders (including increased risk of suicide)
Talk to your doctor if you think you might have a drinking problem. Talk to a loved one. Talk to someone who can understand what you are going through.
Why are so many people using heroin? — In general, people begin taking drugs for a variety of reasons like:
To feel good.
To relieve suffering from anxiety, stress or depression,
To do better, in an activity or social situation.
Curiosity and “because others are doing it.”
What about the attraction of Heroin specifically? I think that people are starting to take prescription pain medication, as a “fix all”. According to the government group over at NIH “Harmful health consequences resulting from the abuse of opioid medications that are prescribed for the treatment of pain, such as Oxycontin®, Vicodin®, and Demerol®, have dramatically increased in recent years. People often assume prescription pain relievers are safer than illicit drugs because they are medically prescribed; however, when these drugs are taken for reasons or in ways or amounts not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone other than the person for whom they are prescribed, they can result in severe adverse health effects including addiction, overdose, and death, especially when combined with other drugs or alcohol. Research now suggests that abuse of these medications may actually open the door to heroin use. Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. Some individuals reported switching to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids.
Laws have tightened, regarding prescription opiates. Stricter laws to tend to cause some people, who are in pain, to turn to illegals measures. That said, I suspect there are a multitudes of reasons people are using this drug.
Is someone in your life using Heroin?
A heroin addiction may be difficult to speak about with a loved one. People who suffer from addiction are frequently not honest about their substance abuse. However, discussing heroin addiction could be a life-saving conversation. In order to discover the truth and really understand the depth of the problem, you may need to be a bit nosey. Identifying the signs of heroin addiction can be the first step toward your, or someone else’s, recovery.
Understanding the devices a person needs to use the drug and what it actually looks like can help you identify heroin use. In most cases, a heroin user needs certain paraphernalia items in order to actually consume the drug. Heroin can be injected, snorted, or smoked. Needles, pipes, and spoons with lighters are often used. Damaged veins are difficult to inject, so some addicts need to use rubber tubing or elastic bands to make their veins larger.
Heroin itself is a powdery, crumbly substance. It’s often off-white, but its color can range from white to dark brown. Black tar heroin gets its name from the way it looks. This type is a black, sticky substance.
Lifestyle Changes Caused by Heroin Addiction
A heroin addiction may be hard to identify at first. Over time, however, the addiction becomes more real and all-encompassing. A person who is addicted to heroin will soon worry more about getting their next dose than almost anything else.
Heroin injections cause needle marks, so many addicts wear long-sleeve clothing year round in order to hide their scars. Fearing their addiction will be revealed, heroin addicts may become withdrawn from friends and family members. Social and personal isolation is common among addicts. Work and personal relationships may also suffer. An addict may also have trouble with health and personal hygiene.
Medical Effects of Heroin Addiction
Heroin is a powerful opioid that can cause dangerous complications. Sometimes these complications can be life-threatening.
For example, heroin use can cause miscarriage. Some people may contract infectious diseases from needle use, such as HIV and hepatitis. A fatal overdose is also possible.
Long-term heroin use damages organs, the brain, and the skin. Addicts may develop kidney, liver, or heart disease because of their drug use. Additives in heroin may coagulate or clog blood vessels and veins. This can lead to strokes and permanent organ damage. Some additives are deadly and can kill a person within minutes. Unfortunately, it’s often impossible to tell what has been mixed with heroin unless you conduct tests. Many illegal drugs, such as heroin, are laced with dangerous substances that are only identified after a tragic accident.
Babies born to heroin addicts are often underweight. If the mother is using while pregnant, the baby may be born physically addicted to heroin, too. If this happens, the child may experience neonatal abstinence syndrome. The infant will need to detox and go through withdrawal after birth.
Getting Help for an Addiction
If you’re addicted to heroin and need help, reach out to a loved one or a doctor you can trust. They can help you find treatment facilities, medical help, and addiction experts who can help you get clean.
The first step to getting better is admitting you have a problem. Kicking your habit may not happen the first time you try it. Some people require multiple attempts before it finally lasts. However, determination and dedication can go along way to helping you—and the people you love—heal and move toward a happier, healthier life.