27 Oct 2014
Of all the arguments against decriminalizing cannabis and the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes, the one that many have failed to discuss is the possibility of increased access to synthetic marijuana. This lab-produced cannabis has been popular with young people for many years. Although law enforcement has cracked down on synthetic products and lawmakers have tried to outlaw them, synthetic marijuana is making a comeback. Everyone, especially parents of teens and pre-teens, need to know about this drug and how dangerous it is.
What Is Synthetic Marijuana?
Synthetic marijuana, or synthetic cannabis, is a product made in a lab. It is not natural, but it is supposed to mimic the natural cannabis plant. Cannabis contains thousands of compounds, called cannabinoids, which produce the mind-altering effects people seek when smoking pot. There are many ways in which these compounds can be mimicked with lab-made compounds. Many of the fake compounds have been ruled illegal, but the manufacturers can still come up with more options, keeping their products technically legal.
Synthetic Marijuana Dangers
One of the main reasons these synthetic products are so dangerous is because the user never knows exactly what he is getting. Because the product changes so much, it is impossible to know what is in it. In addition to the cannabis-like compounds, there may be any number of other chemicals, and even herbs used to look like dried marijuana. Users have been made very ill from using synthetic products, while some have become addicted and some have even died.
Side Effects Of Synthetic Marijuana
The side effects of synthetic marijuana vary because of the unknown composition of the products, and they can range from mild to severe to fatal. Some of these side effects include:
- severe anxiety
- high blood pressure
- rapid heart rate
- muscle spasms
- suicidal thoughts
- heart attack
Synthetic cannabis has also been seen to cause withdrawal symptoms in frequent users and it can become addictive.
While the use of synthetic marijuana products has dropped overall as laws changed to try to outlaw them, they are making a comeback. One reason may be the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes. These are electronic devices that allow users to “vape” rather than smoke nicotine. They were designed to help smokers quit, but are increasingly being abused. E-cigarettes use vials of liquid with dissolved nicotine. Users exhale only water vapor. Those abusing them are using synthetic cannabinoids in the vials instead of nicotine in order to get a high. The scary thing is that the exhalation doesn’t smell like anything. The user can get high anywhere without anyone realizing it.
Latest Concern Of Synthetic Marijuana
Synthetic marijuana for e-cigarettes is just the latest concern when it comes to synthetic cannabis products. These products have been around for at least a decade and while their popularity was waning, teens are getting back into using them. Synthetic marijuana is no safer than it has ever been and both parents and teens need to be aware of the risks.
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24 Oct 2014
If you have ever had a pet—a dog, cat, lizard or even just a goldfish, you know that they can help you feel calm, joyful, loved and needed. Caring for an animal and loving and being loved by one is powerful. Using animals in therapy sessions, or even just to calm patients’ nerves in a dentist’s office, has long been a tool in the arsenal of health care providers. With this in mind, consider getting a pet to help the recovering addict in your household. The responsibility of caring for an animal and the unconditional love it will provide could be greatly beneficial.
To understand why having a pet could help the recovering addict you care about, it’s important to learn a little bit about how therapists have used animals to help patients. Patients with a range of illnesses and conditions can benefit from having an animal involved in therapy. This includes children who have suffered from abuse, people with mental health conditions, patients undergoing painful and stressful medical procedures, people facing the stress and fear of terminal illness and even addicts.
Research has uncovered what humans have long known: being around animals is good for us. Even for healthy people, animals make us feel happier and more relaxed. We even know from research that simply petting a dog can lower blood pressure dramatically. Being around and touching animals has also been shown to raise levels of a hormone called oxytocin, which makes us feel happier and more loving.
Bringing A Pet Home For A Recovering Addict
With the benefits of being around animals in mind, consider bringing a pet into your household if you are caring for a recovering addict. A dog or cat, or even a bird or fish, has the potential to bring joy, purpose and meaning back into the life of your loved one. You can choose the level of care and responsibility needed by selecting the right pet. A dog is a great choice if your loved one is active and capable of taking care of a dog’s many needs. If your loved one doesn’t seem ready for a dog, a cat or other pet could be a good choice.
If you decide bring a pet home, get your recovering addict involved every step of the way. Let her help in the decision-making and learn with her how to care for the new pet. Being a part of the process will give her a sense of responsibility, a new purpose and a greater sense of self-worth. The love that she gets in return will be a powerful motivator to stay clean and sober.
Pets Are A Responsibility
As you make the choice about getting a pet to help your loved one, keep in mind that pets are a responsibility. A pet needs a person to care for him and will depend on that person. If you are unsure whether your recovering addict is up for the task, be prepared to step in and care for the animal and all his needs. If you are not prepared to do this, you may not be ready to welcome home a pet.
Rescue Pets – Tools For Healing And Recovery
Animals are powerful tools for healing. To help the recovering addict in your household, consider rescuing a pet. Check out your local animal shelter to find a cat, dog or other animal that needs someone as much as your loved one needs to care for a pet. You may both be surprised at how much healing power comes in a small, furry package.
23 Oct 2014
Knowing when to walk away from an addict in your life is difficult, but there is an appropriate time to say enough is enough. The exact timing depends on you and the addict in your life. It is a personal choice to let go of this friendship or to cut this family member out and this is one decision that only you can make.
When you have exhausted your ability to help your loved one and he still won’t make any changes or even admit to having a problem, it’s time to at least consider walking away. You can’t make anyone change. Only he can make that ultimate choice.
Reasons To Cut Addict Out Of Your Life
As you contemplate your next move, here are some important reasons to cut an addict out of your life:
- You have devoted a huge amount of time and energy trying to help your loved one, to no avail. – You’ve learned about addiction to try to understand what your loved one is going through. You staged an intervention and brought in a number of friends and family members to try to reach him. You spent countless hours trying to convince your friend that he has a problem and needs help. You set limits and boundaries and he continues to cross them. When your efforts are monumental and met with nothing but resistance, it may be time to move on.
- Your friend has taken advantage of your charity. – It’s important for addicts to have friends and family members to support them, but when the addict still refuses to change and starts to take advantage, you have a problem on your hands. Not only is your loved one hurting you, but you have also become an enabler. Maybe he is taking your financial support, which you thought was helping him keep his apartment, and is spending it on drugs. Maybe he has stolen from you. Decide how much of this you can take and then change your locks and cut him off.
- Your loved one has become violent or frightens you. – The moment you feel your safety has been threatened, either by your loved one or his friends or acquaintances, tell him it’s over for now. Your safety should never be compromised by someone you love, no matter the situation. Take a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to violence or threats.
- Your health—emotional, physical or mental—is suffering. – Loving someone who is addicted can take a huge toll on your health. If your loved one’s situation is causing you increased levels of stress, to the point that it is causing physical symptoms, sleep loss, or other major issues, you have to consider making a change for your own well-being. You can’t help someone when you aren’t well yourself. Take time off to get better and then consider trying to help again.
Make The Decision But Offer Support If Your Loved One Gets Addiction Treatment Help
Cutting someone out of your life is a tough choice to make, but is sometimes inevitable. It’s important to try to help those you love, but you have to set limits and you have to consider yourself and your own well-being. Also know that this doesn’t have to be permanent. Tell your loved one that you are saying goodbye for now, but that if he can get his act together you will be back to fully support him in his sobriety. This should be a decision you make for yourself, but it may also turn out to be the motivation he ultimately needs to make that change.
Learn More About The Intervention Process And Steps
22 Oct 2014
Alcoholism is a disease. It is chronic and it requires lifelong treatment to stay sober. While going through rehab and staying sober are challenging, the first and biggest step for an alcoholic is to get past the excuses and admit to having a problem with drinking.
Heavy drinkers deny having a problem for a variety of reasons. They fear what happens in detox. They worry about what people will say. Most of all they fear what life will be like sober.
In spite of the fears, it is important for alcoholics to get help. The consequences of not doing so may be serious.
Pregnant alcoholics risk fetal alcohol syndrome. All alcoholics face health consequences like liver or heart disease. Accidents are common among alcoholics. They also must face the possibility of losing relationships.
Excuses Of An Alcoholic
If you have a loved one who drinks too much, confront him or her. Be prepared to hear this list of excuses alcoholics give to explain drinking:
- I need to drink to feel comfortable in social situations – Many people face social anxiety. It is a real disorder, in fact. It is not uncommon to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, but it is not a good excuse. Self-medicating is dangerous. Therapy can help anyone overcome social anxiety.
- I’m only hurting myself – Addicts are great at claiming that their habit is their own business. Remind your loved one that drinking affects everyone else too. When drinking makes the alcoholic remote, angry or temperamental, everyone suffers. When drinking costs the family money, everyone suffers.
- I need alcohol to cope with work stress – This is a common excuse. Stress relief is an important part of being healthy and a drink or two on tough days does not make one an alcoholic. Many jobs are stressful and drinking feels good. This may be why there is so much alcoholism in the healthcare field and other high-stress careers. It isn’t an excuse for heavy drinking, though. There are many other ways to cope with stress.
- This is just who I am – This excuse is an outright lie. Alcoholics weren’t born drinking. They change to become an alcoholic and they can change again to get sober.
- I’m not as bad as other people – Comparing a drinking problem to a worse problem in someone else is a very weak excuse for drinking. Being an alcoholic exists outside of everyone else. When considering a personal problem, like drinking, it makes no difference what everyone else is doing.
Professional And Caring Help Is Needed
The list of excuses that alcoholics make could go on and on forever. They will come up with anything under the sun to justify continuing to drink and to avoid getting help. When the excuses finally run out, you can hopefully convince your loved one to get much-needed help. Only professional therapy and counseling, along with your support, will be enough to overcome all the excuses.
See How To Recognize The Signs Of Addiction Denial In A Loved One
If Your Loved One Needs Help With A Drinking Problem, Reach Out To Us Today – We Will Help You And Your Loved One Take That First Step!
21 Oct 2014
More people these days are turning to alternatives in medicine and wellness. Many of these alternatives come from Eastern cultures. Addiction is one disease that can be treated successfully with a variety of techniques from traditional Western medicine, holistic practices, and Eastern philosophy and spirituality. If you are a recovering addict and you battle cravings, consider borrowing from the Eastern tradition. Meditation is an ancient practice with usefulness in modern times. Practicing medication can reduce your stress levels, make you more aware of your mind and body and help you resist the urge to relapse.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice that people have been using for millennia but has only recently been recognized by modern medical practitioners and researchers. The original purpose of meditation was to connect with the spiritual and mystical life forces. Many people today use the practice to relax and relieve symptoms of stress.
In meditation you focus your attention and your thoughts on the present moment. This is achieved by focusing on your breathing, an incantation or an image. You ignore and quiet all of the thoughts that normally flood your mind throughout the day and enter a state of deep relaxation.
The Benefits Of Meditation For Recovering Addicts
The immediate and general benefits of meditating are an overall sense of well-being, calmness and relaxation, as well as a release of stress. The effects carry on beyond the meditation exercise.
Medical research has shown that meditation can help to manage symptoms of illnesses including:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- cancer and anxiety disorders
Emotional And Mental Benefits
In addition to the physical benefits, meditation is also known to produce positive emotional outcomes and this is where the exercise can really help you manage your drug or alcohol cravings. Meditating can help you gain perspective on difficult situations. If you have an intense craving, stop to meditate. It will help you realize that your cravings will pass and that you need not give into them.
Meditation also helps you to improve your sense of self-awareness. Another word for this is mindfulness. If you can become more aware of what your mind and body are telling you, you can better forestall your cravings. You may realize, for instance, that stress or worry about something at work is driving your craving. If you solve that problem, your craving will lessen.
Meditation is a powerful tool for stress management. Stress is a big trigger for relapse. If you can learn how to use tools, like meditation, to manage your stress, you will be more successful at resisting the urge to use again. In addition to stress management, meditating reduces all negative emotions. There are many negative feelings that can trigger a relapse: anxiety, depression, fear, loneliness. If you can reduce these through meditation, you can reduce your cravings.
Meditation is a practice that is open to anyone. It requires no special skills, no equipment and no instruction. Working with someone experienced in meditation is not a bad idea if you feel you need guidance, but it isn’t necessary. Meditation can be as simple as sitting comfortably in a quiet place and focusing on your breathing. Also realize that you will get more adept at meditating with time and practice. Don’t expect to be able to fully relax and block out external factors on your first try. Give it time.
Meditation is not a cure for addiction or for anything, but it is a useful tool. As an addict in recovery you need all the tools you can get to help you avoid a relapse. Cravings are powerful and intense, but meditation can help you fight them. Give it a try and see how much better you feel in general.
Discover The Benefits Of Holistic Drug Rehab
20 Oct 2014
Admitting to having a problem with drinking or drugs and then getting help are big steps to take. Fear is what holds most people back. There are many fears associated with going to rehab or therapy for addiction. You may be eager to get sober, but afraid of failing. You might fear what your friends, family and coworkers will say and think about you.
Most of all you are probably afraid to be sober. After using drugs or alcohol to silence your voices, cope with troubling emotions or to self-medicate, the idea of being sober is terrifying.
Common Sobriety Fears
There are many reasons to fear getting sober. Your reasons may be personal, but you will likely recognize yourself in these common fears of being sober:
- I’ll never have fun again – For some addicts, substance abuse starts and ends with partying. How can you possibly go out with your friends and have a good time if you have to sip a coke all night long? This is a valid and reasonable fear. Your ideas about what is fun will need to change when you get sober.
- I won’t be able to cope – People abuse substances for a variety of reasons, but largely as a coping mechanism. Whether you drink or use drugs to suppress trauma, cope with social anxiety, deal with stress, or avoid the symptoms of a mental illness, sobriety will mean finding new coping mechanisms.
- I’ll have to feel – Drinking and drugs are good at helping you ignore your feelings of all kinds. You will have to face your feelings when you get sober. The good news is if you get professional help you will have caring people to guide you through the process of recognizing your emotions.
- I’ll probably fail and relapse – Fear of failing at sobriety is a major roadblock, but you have to realize that nearly all addicts relapse once or more. Stop seeing it as a failure and look at relapse as a hurdle to clear, and one that may trip you from time to time.
Tips On How To Get Over The Fear Of Sobriety
- Fear of sobriety is normal, but if you want to save your life and get out of the shadow of addiction you have to face it and get over it – Any fear can be conquered by first facing it. Think about what scares you and put it into writing. Knowing exactly what it is that scares you can help you better face it.
- Next, talk to someone else about it – Even if you only have one person in your life you trust enough with your feelings, that is enough. Talk to this person about wanting to get sober, but being afraid.
- Another powerful way to overcome a fear is to imagine the worst possible outcome and then compare it to what is most likely – You’ll find that your fears are usually worse than what reality suggests. You’re afraid that all your friends will walk away from you when you’re sober. Is that really likely though? Maybe a few will, but those that care about you will support you.
- Finally, take one small step toward facing your fear – Instead of diving head first into rehab, schedule one therapy session or go to one support group session. This small exposure to your fear will actually lessen it. Everything you fear is scarier in your imagination than in reality. Take baby steps toward getting sober and eventually you will realize that you have conquered your fear.
Discover How To Be Empowered Over The Shame Of Addiction – You Are Worth It…You Always Have Been – It’s Time Now To Realize That!
17 Oct 2014
Sober living refers not just to being sober, but also to a safe house in which to live soon after receiving treatment for addiction. A sober living house was once called a halfway house—a halfway stop between rehab and being on your own again. The idea of a sober living house is that you live in a home that gives you some level of support and treatment for your addiction while letting you work toward greater independence. You live surrounded by others in the same situation and receive the benefits of mutual support. If you are getting treatment for addiction, consider the benefits of a stay in a sober living house.
What Is A Sober Living House?
A sober living house is a sober environment in which recovering addicts live after receiving some type of intensive treatment. Patients may live in a sober house for up to a year. Most people come to stay in one after going through a 30- to 90-day rehab treatment program.
The sober living house provides an environment that is completely free of drugs and alcohol. Most do not include formal treatment, but there may be a therapist on call or regular 12-Step meetings. The level of structure varies, but some sober living houses include skill-building lessons, such as learning to balance a budget, looking for a job and maintaining good social skills.
The Social Support Of Sober Living
The drug- and alcohol-free environment is an obvious benefit of sober living. Rules in these houses are strict, which means that residents can count on not being near drugs or alcohol. A less obvious benefit is that of social support. Research tells us that social factors are a crucial element of successful addiction recovery. Recovering addicts that have a strong social support system are more likely to be successful over the long term.
In a sober living house you have a built-in social network. Your roommates are also in recovery and you have the opportunity to support and help each other stay sober. Many houses include support group meetings, but even without them, you are surrounded by people who have the same goals and needs that you do. Those who are further along in recovery often support new residents.
Sober Living Provides A Transition Into The Real World
Going directly from rehab to living back at home, going to work and socializing with family and old friends can be a rocky transition to make. It can be abrupt and unforgiving. One day you are fully supported in a safe environment, and the next you are expected to go back to normal life, except without abusing substances. This is where many addicts end up relapsing.
A great benefit of a sober living house is that you get a smoother transition back into the real world. The sober living house is less structured and less secure than your rehab facility, but it still provides some safeguards that you wouldn’t have at home. In a sober living house you can slowly learn how to re-enter society as a sober person. You can take the time to develop new skills and to find out who you are sober.
A sober living house is a great place to spend your early recovery. The bumpy road from rehab to home again can be made much smoother by the safety and security you can find in one of these homes. If you are recovering from an addiction, consider spending some time in a sober living facility.
16 Oct 2014
What do you do if you have a child, most likely a son, who plays Internet or video games obsessively? How do you know if he has gone too far and spends too much time gaming? And how do you get him to cut back? Whether an addiction to gaming is diagnostically real is up for debate by the experts, but the fact remains that people can become obsessed with gaming to the detriment of other aspects of their lives. It’s important for parents to monitor a child’s gaming and set limits if it gets out of hand.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the number one resource for diagnosing any kind of mental disorder or condition, including addiction. In the latest edition, DSM-5, experts decided not to include Internet gaming disorder as a diagnosable condition. They did, however, list it in a section for potential disorders requiring further research. This means that there is a possibility that Internet gaming and video gaming can be problematic for individuals and can approach addictive-like levels.
DSM-5 describes gaming disorder as characterized by compulsive playing, avoiding other activities and interests in favor of gaming, and distress or impairment as a result of these behaviors. Some obsessive gamers even experience withdrawal-like symptoms when their games are taken away. It turns out that this issue of compulsive gaming is a real problem with some kids. Research has found that among boys who game, 12 percent fit the definition of addicted, while 8 percent of girls do.
Preventing And Correcting Obsessive Gaming
Whether or not this obsessive level of gaming gets labeled as an addiction is largely unimportant. As long as experts recognize that some young people truly have a problem with gaming and have the resources to help them, labeling doesn’t matter. If you are the parent of a child who enjoys gaming, be aware of the issue and be prepared to act if you think your child has a problem.
Signs Of A Problem With Gaming
First it is important to recognize the signs of a problem. Your child may be at risk of a gaming addiction if he can’t seem to stop playing, even when you repeatedly ask him to stop. He may also lie about how much he plays games and may start to lose interest in other activities he used to enjoy. Others signs of a problem are slipping grades or being tired from gaming too much. If your child is already showing some of these signs and you can’t get him to stop, it may be time to get some professional help. A good therapist, recommended by your pediatrician, will be able to help get you started.
If your child is not yet showing signs of a problem, but you’re still worried, there are some steps you can take to avoid a gaming addiction. Start by setting limits. Your child should not have free reign to play games whenever and for as long as he wants. Set aside a certain time during the day and do not allow gaming at any other time. Another great way to get kids off of games and devices in general is to engage in family activities unrelated to technology. Take a hike together, go to the park, go to the pool or take a camping trip and outlaw devices for the duration.
It is also important to talk to your child about your concerns. Explain how it is easy to get obsessed with certain activities, like gaming, and how that can be bad for you. Being open with your child is a great way to foster trust and communication and to help him understand why you set limits.
Read This Post To Find Out If Your Child Is Addicted To Gaming, The Signs And What To Do