Asking for help is never easy. It means admitting something you’d rather not and that you need other people. When you need help for addiction you may also feel ashamed or guilty. Perhaps most difficult is asking for help from the loved ones who have suffered because of your addiction. Asking for help is crucial because no one can overcome addiction alone. Be brave and talk to the loved ones you hurt. You may be surprised to find they still support you, no matter what.
How Do I Get Past the Shame Of Addiction?
Shame is a terrible symptom of substance abuse and addiction and a common roadblock to asking for help. Understand that it is normal to feel this way. The natural response to the shame that accompanies addiction is to bury it and to deny having a problem, but this won’t help you in the long run. Shame means realizing that you are imperfect and once you accept that fact, asking for help becomes easier. No one is perfect and knowing this fact can help you connect with your loved ones who will most likely be ready to support you, even though you hurt them in the past.
Learning more about your addiction can also help you to let go of shame. Read up on addiction and the latest research findings and you will see that it is a disease. Being addicted started with a choice you made, but it persists because it is a true illness that affects you physically and psychologically.
How Do I Get Past The Fear Of Rejection?
Another major roadblock to asking your loved ones for help is the fear that they will turn their backs on you. Why shouldn’t they? After all, you have broken their trust, let them down and maybe you even hurt them emotionally or physically because of your addiction. You probably see yourself now as unworthy of their love and help.
You have to see yourself as worthy of your loved ones’ time and attention. If you can’t see that, you may never ask for the help you desperately need. Think back to a time before your addiction. Remember the kind of person you were and the relationships you had with your family. Maybe you and your sister were best friends. You can probably remember a time when you were a help to your parents, rather than a burden. When you can remember the positives in the past, you can imagine a future in which you are sober again. Your loved ones will remember the old you too and will not likely reject your request for help.
How Do I Ask For Help?
Once you have recognized, acknowledged and gotten past your shame and fear, it’s time to take action. First, pick the person you think is most likely to be ready and willing to support you as you seek recovery from your addiction. For most people this means turning to a close family member, like a parent or a sibling. You know your family and friends best, so choose the person or people you think will help you in spite of all you have done to hurt them.
It never hurts to practice, so plan what you want to say. You might want to start with apologies, but be sure to stick with the main message, which is that you are ready to get help. Acknowledge out loud to your loved ones that you hurt them. They will appreciate that you are not ignoring your past wrongs. Also find a time that is conducive to a long talk. Don’t stop your loved ones on their way out the door. Take the time to find your voice and the courage you need to speak up. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that your loved ones are still there for you.
Read Our Other Inspirational Addiction Posts – Healing From Addiction Can Be Yours Today!
If you’re contemplating addiction treatment, it’s probably not something you’re looking forward to. In fact, it wouldn’t be unusual if you’re completely dreading it and wish you somehow could avoid it altogether. But you can’t (for whatever reason) or you choose not to. So, it makes sense to do everything in your power to ensure that rehab is a one-time event and not end up having to repeat it down the road, right?
Of course, that’s much easier said than done. The road to recovery is replete with potential obstacles, some of which can be pretty daunting or so subtle that you don’t recognize them until it’s too late. Fortunately, though, the more aware and proactive you are throughout the process (i.e. before, during, and after rehab), the greater your chances of a successful, lasting recovery. Following are several ways to prepare for and avoid many of the most likely obstacles.
Prior To Rehab
Overcome the cost issue. There’s no doubt about it; addiction treatment often comes with a high price tag. Those daunting dollar signs can make you, like many who struggle with an addiction, feel that the treatment you need – and deserve – is simply out of reach. But before you throw your hands up in despair and reach for another drink (or hit), know that 1) you’re not alone, and 2) there are very likely options you haven’t yet realized.
The first thing to do is check with your health insurance company (if you have health coverage) to find out exactly what they will cover. Many plans do cover addiction treatment to varying degrees. If you don’t have insurance, or if the coverage is very limited, then consider financing the program. Remember, this is a serious investment in your future, so don’t rule out financing it if needed.
Many treatment facilities will allow you to set up a payment plan. Some offer financial assistance as well. Talk to the admissions department of the program or programs you’re considering to determine all the options available to you. You may find that the cost isn’t as prohibitive as it initially appeared, and that doors can open that you never expected. Don’t let the cost obstacle defeat you right out of the gate before you’ve looked into every possible option.
Another way to think of it: the cost of not getting treatment will almost certainly far exceed the cost of the most expensive treatment program in the long run – and often many times over. Many of those seeking treatment find that the old saying really does hold true: where there’s a will there’s a way. Have faith that a door will open if you knock on enough of them.
Avoid the wrong treatment program (for you) by being selective. Glossy brochures and fancy marketing tactics don’t necessarily mean a treatment center is good at what they do – or that it’s the right one for you. Do your research; check out the facility’s history, including staff credentials, licensure, etc. If possible, talk to anyone who’s received treatment there or who may be familiar with the program. Look for programs that are well-established, have a good reputation, and offer a comprehensive, holistic approach. Also, look for programs that offer good aftercare (more on that later).
It’s also important to make sure the program you choose offers treatment that’s based on research, rather than some “alternative” or trendy approach that may be lacking in substance even though it sounds really good on the surface. Extensive research has been done in the area of addiction treatment, and programs that base their treatment on scientific evidence are much more likely to be beneficial. Check to see if the program is properly accredited, which is a good indicator it’s approach is solid.
Make sure the program is a good fit for you. Some treatment centers have a specific philosophy (e.g. one that’s “based on Biblical principles”) or cater to a specific demographic (e.g. women only). You may thrive in a secular program but feel very uncomfortable in a faith-based rehab center – or vice versa.
You’ll be much more likely to succeed in rehab (and beyond) if you choose a program that fits you well the first time around. If you’re not sure, contact a few treatment centers and ask a lot of questions about their philosophy and approach. Keep in mind, though, that while none may feel like a “perfect fit”, one or two should feel like a better fit than others.
Along these same lines, it’s important to find a program that can accommodate any special needs you may have. For example, if you’re the sole custodian of your children, it would be a good idea to find a program that offers housing or other child care options for them while you’re in treatment.
Actively participate. Recovery isn’t something that passively happens to you – it’s something you actively work to achieve. You can go into addiction treatment kicking and screaming, sullenly determined to refuse to participate – and leave wondering why it seemed like a complete waste of time. Or, you can make the decision from the outset to actively participate and try to get as much out of your time there as you can.
Will it be fun? Probably not. Will it be worthwhile? That’s largely up to you.
Many addicts have a victim mentality, blaming everyone but themselves for their problems. Maybe your father was physically abusive while you were growing up, or your mother is an unbearable narcissist who finds nothing but fault with you. But while those experiences no doubt significantly impacted your life, they don’t have to define you. Now is the time to decide that your future is up to you and the choices you make from this day forward. The more you strive to get out of rehab this time, the less likely there will be a next time.
Regard your recovery as a long-term process. Successful recovery isn’t akin to a 100-yard dash. Rather, it’s much more like a marathon. Rehab may be a short-term, time-limited event, but it doesn’t end there. Yes, you did a lot of hard work while you were there – and it’s important to acknowledge that. But you didn’t walk out the door “cured” of your addiction. That’s why it’s imperative to continue using the things you learned in rehab if you’re serious about staying clean and sober.
Don’t let that discourage you. Remember, the most worthwhile things in life rarely (if ever) come quickly and easily. They take effort, tenacity, and determination.
Make sure you get proper aftercare. One of the most crucial aspects of successful recovery – and thwarting an early relapse – is proper aftercare. As mentioned above, recovery didn’t end when you left rehab. That would be nice, but it’s not reality. Many addiction treatment facilities offer ongoing aftercare to help ensure your success. However, if your rehab treatment occurs far away from home, it’s important to make sure a good aftercare plan is in place when you return home.
An aftercare program typically includes ongoing counseling and support. Support may come in the form of support groups (that you attend on a regular basis) as well as helping you establish a solid support network. Aftercare is crucial to your recovery because, without it, you are much more likely to relapse. It helps bolster you during times of temptation while keeping you accountable. Those who have a strong aftercare program are much less vulnerable to slipping back into their old habits – the very habits that contributed to their addiction.
Surround yourself with supportive people. You’ll encounter three types of people before, during, and after rehab: those who truly want you to succeed, those who want to undermine you, and those who don’t care one way or the other. The more you’re able to surround yourself with individuals in the first category, the greater your chances of staying on track with your recovery.
Sometimes supportive individuals (outside of those involved in your aftercare) are hard to find, especially if you don’t have supportive family or friends, have moved to a new city, or severely alienated everyone prior to rehab. But it’s not impossible with some effort. Twelve-step programs and other types of support groups are available in most areas. Online groups are also available, although they shouldn’t the replace face-to-face interactions that occur in support groups that you physically attend.
You can also find supportive individuals in a variety of contexts, such as a church community or an exercise-based program – any type of group in which people are more likely to endorse a healthy lifestyle and be supportive of fellow members. Talk to your aftercare counselor about ways to bolster your support network, as well as how to avoid situations and settings that may not be in your best interest.
Above all else, believe in yourself. You can either be your greatest cheerleader or your worst enemy. Ultimately, that choice is up to you. As someone in recovery, you may still be haunted at times by past pejorative labels. People may have been very cruel in the harsh words and judgments they directed towards you. And those can be hard to forget. But having an addiction doesn’t make you any less worthy than anyone else. Not to mention, choosing to get help, do the hard work, and continuing to work on your recover shows that you are resilient and courageous – two traits that should make you proud.
The recovery journey is anything but easy – anyone who says otherwise has never walked that path. The obstacles along the way can be overcome. Take it one step and one day at a time. Believe in yourself and you can and will succeed.
Check Out If Your Insurance Will Cover Your Rehab
03 Feb 2014
How To Have The Marijuana Talk With Your Child
Marijuana is in the news a lot these days. Nearly half of all states have legalized medical marijuana. Two states now allow for recreational use of the drug. And yet, this substance is still illegal across the country according to federal law. There are many contradictions and confusions related to cannabis. Is it safe to use? Can it really help treat illnesses? When your child starts asking these questions, be sure you have the right answers. And consider having a talk about this controversial subject before your child gets the wrong answers at school.
Is Marijuana Safe?
Attitudes regarding marijuana have shifted considerably in this country. As legalization for marijuana has occurred, many people have begun to assume that the drug must be safe. If it is considered a medicine, and is prescribed by doctors, it must be safe to use is a common misconception that you should correct for your child.
Marijuana is safer than many other drugs, but emphasize to your child that there are risks associated with using it. Smoking marijuana leads to impaired thinking and coordination, memory problems, and distorted perceptions in the short term. It can also cause paranoia, depression and anxiety. Using marijuana also increases the risk of having a heart attack and of developing a respiratory problem.
What Is Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana is no different from the drug that people use recreationally. It is simply marijuana that is prescribed by doctors to patients. Medical marijuana is most often smoked, but can also be consumed. Marijuana can be used to ease the symptoms of chemotherapy for cancer patients and those that are struggling with HIV and AIDS. It also helps people with the eye disease glaucoma and with multiple sclerosis. Chronic pain caused by any condition can be relieved by marijuana use.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Another misconception that your child may have about this drug is that it is not addictive. The truth is that it does have the potential to lead to dependence, although the risk is much less than other substances, like cocaine, heroin, and even tobacco and alcohol. Make sure your child understands that addiction is always a risk when using a mind-altering substance.
Can You Get In Trouble For Using Marijuana?
Be sure that your child understands very clearly that even in states where marijuana has been decriminalized to any extent that it is illegal everywhere for anyone under the age of 21 to use marijuana. The exception to this rule is if a young person has a medical need for the drug. Just because marijuana is becoming legal in some places does not mean that teenagers can use the drug without consequences.
Isn’t Everyone Smoking Marijuana?…Maybe Not
The prevalence of marijuana in public discussion may make your child feel as if everyone is using this drug. It is important for your child to understand that this is not true. The vast majority of people, adults and teens, choose not to use marijuana. Among teenagers, fewer than eight percent report using the drug in the past month. Among people of all ages, this number drops to seven percent. The perception that everyone is doing something is powerful, so emphasize to your child that this is not the case with marijuana.
Provide The Answers About Marijuana Before Your Child Asks
Talking to your child about drugs is important and could be life-saving. With marijuana in the public consciousness and with perceived risk so low among young people, it is crucial that you have the answers your child needs to hear. Don’t wait for him to ask you. Start the conversation now and be sure that your child hears about this drug from you and not from his peers.
Read More About Why You Should Believe That Marijuana Is Dangerous
We all have those voices in our heads—the critic, the tempter, the downer, the voices telling us we’ve never been anything and we shouldn’t even try. But in order to want sobriety and progress in recovery, we need to learn to silence the voices of opposition. But how do you get past the voices in your head that keep you in dysfunctional and destructive patterns?
Identify The Negative Voices
It helps to begin by identifying the messages flying around in your head. Whose voice is the one that you hear most strongly and loudly in your mind? Who is the one, though you are an adult, who is still criticizing you and tearing you down and insisting you conform to his or her way of life, dysfunctional as it may be? Listen to what you hear when you think you need to take a drink or get high. Who or what is controlling you without your permission?
Parents’ voices ring in our ears though they may be long dead. Through their words and actions they imposed their view of the world, relationships and love when we were in our youngest and most impressionable and vulnerable stages of life. We took that input at face value. We didn’t question if it was right or wrong or sane. And today, as adults, many of us are still living our lives guided by those dysfunctional, damaging beliefs.
Or maybe it was a harsh coach or teacher or a relentless sibling or school bully. Without realizing it we are still hearing these critical and insulting voices in our heads. We are still subconsciously dominated by the people whose opinion we may not even respect and whose approval we no longer covet. We need to begin to set ourselves free of these mental tyrants.
How To Let Go And Live For Ourselves
How do we learn to let go of others’ perceptions of the world? How do we live for ourselves rather than for the whims of some undefined them? We do it by beginning to intentionally perceive our own world. How do we think about things? What do we think we are capable of, regardless of what others have told us? What do we want out of life? What are the things we believe are most worth living for and pursuing? As an adult, you have the freedom to make your own decisions, have your own opinions and live in a way that is pleasing and healthy for you. What does that look like?
One woman, in a loving relationship with a man, was afraid to express her needs or her emotions for fear of being a burden. Her partner, however, didn’t view her emotions as anything other than valid and worthy of consideration and discussion. Still she feared being the “difficult woman” because of how her father viewed women and their needs and the way he conceptualized their motives as self-serving. But this experience was her father’s, not a universal truth about women and men.
As she grew up and desired to have a healthy and functional romantic relationship, she realized that she would need to put her father’s perceptions and prejudices about the world and relationships out of her mind in order to experience the world and her life as her own. Her father’s experience was not hers; she was not a demanding woman or self-serving. She did, however have emotions and needs that her partner was healthy enough to want to honor. She learned that not all women were self-serving or demanding and that not all men viewed them that way.
Evaluate What’s Helpful And What’s Not
As we progress through life and we see our frequent hang-ups, and the beliefs that don’t serve us, we have to begin to ask whose voice it is that we are hearing. Who is motivating the feelings of fear and apprehension we feel? Is it a parent telling you that you’ll never have what it takes? Or that you have never been good enough? Is it a competitive sibling making fun of your interests and talents? Is it a judgmental “friend” who was only trying to give you some helpful advice?
It is time to begin to evaluate that which is not helpful and then to let it go so that you may live free—free to determine your own life, free to recover and free to recognize and realize your own potential. How many of us drank or practiced our addictions because we couldn’t stand ourselves and needed an escape from our own reality? Or because we didn’t believe ourselves worthy of much better than playing out our lives as drunks and just getting by? Identifying the negative voices supporting those damaging beliefs can help us to see that we have been living a lie and are indeed worthy of so much more.
How Therapy Can Help
These life-controlling beliefs are deeply ingrained and they are hard to overcome—in many cases therapy may even be helpful in figuring out where the roots lie. Between our 12-step work and therapy, we gain the tools to uproot those old beliefs and toss them onto the compost pile. Your mind is your own; don’t give it over to the voices that only seek to tear you down. Live the victorious life that was meant for you.
Read More About Hope In Recovery
18 Nov 2013
E-Cigarettes Secretly Used To Hide Drug Use
The e-cigarette is a modern invention and an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. They were designed to allow people to smoke and to get nicotine into the bloodstream without inhaling all of the toxins found in tobacco. E-cigarettes may be helping people to quit smoking, and because they do not produce actual smoke, they may also allow people to get their nicotine without affecting the people around them.
On the surface, it seems that e-cigarettes are a great invention that can help people. Unfortunately, there are downsides to these fake cigarettes, not least of which is the fact that they can be used to smoke illegal drugs, like marijuana. Because of the way they work, someone can smoke pot using an e-cigarette without being detected.
The E-Cigarette Revolution
An e-cigarette is different from a traditional cigarette in that it does not use tobacco. Instead, it uses batteries and a liquid solution of nicotine. The battery heats and vaporizes the solution so that the user inhales and exhales vapors, rather than smoke. Because nicotine is the only ingredient, the user is also not inhaling all of the additives in tobacco that are so harmful, such as tar, acetone and arsenic.
Although nicotine is still a drug, and one that is harmful and addictive, smoking an e-cigarette is much less dangerous than smoking tobacco cigarettes. It is also less harmful to others around the smoker because there is no secondhand smoke. Without the offensive fumes, it may be possible for people to smoke using e-cigarettes in areas that are normally restricted to smokers.
For the above reasons, e-cigarettes are set to become big sellers in the U.S. and elsewhere. Some experts are even predicting that they will start to outsell real cigarettes within a decade. E-cigarettes are already big business in Europe. The European Parliament recently rejected a proposal to regulate them as medical devices, which would have meant tight restrictions on sales.
E-Cigarettes Being Used To Smoke Marijuana
Although e-cigarettes may have been created as healthier, alternative delivery devices for nicotine and to help smokers kick the habit, clever drug users have already crafted them for different uses. The cartridge of liquid nicotine solution that goes into an e-cigarette can easily be replaced by any liquid. Any substance can be vaporized and inhaled using one of these devices.
Most commonly, abusers are using a cartridge with a liquid solution of THC, the main psychoactive substance found in marijuana. With liquid THC in an e-cigarette, a person can get high and yet appear to be legally inhaling legal, nicotine vapors. The same property of e-cigarettes that allows users to smoke without offending those around them, allows for covert use of illicit drugs. The vapors produced by the e-cigarette are odorless. A person can get high without arousing suspicions.
Teens Smoking Marijuana With No Recognizable Odor
While an adult covertly smoking pot is a concern, a bigger one is the use of marijuana by teenagers. As the presence of e-cigarettes proliferates, teens are finding that they make an excellent vehicle for smoking pot. Smoking marijuana produces a characteristic odor that clings to clothes, hair and fingers. With e-cigarettes, a teen can inhale liquid THC, get high, and never give off the usual signs. Parents who are concerned that their teens may be using marijuana will have to be more vigilant and look for other signs of intoxication.
E-Cigarettes Targeting Young People?
Another concern regarding teens and e-cigarettes is that these new devices may be targeting young people. E-cigarettes can be sold with different types of nicotine cartridges with flavors like strawberry, peach and grape. They are also sold online, which makes it easier for kids to get a hold of them. If kids start using these devices at a young age, they may be more inclined to try other substances. In other words, e-cigarettes may become the new gateway drug. The problem has already begun, as statistics indicate that the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes is rising.
It seems that e-cigarettes have a place in our modern world. They allow adults to use a legal substance in a way that is less harmful than cigarettes. They also help those who want to quit the habit of smoking. On the other hand, e-cigarettes pose a big problem. Until we can figure out how regulate them fairly, or how to detect illegal drugs being used in e-cigarettes, parents and other adults should be aware of the possibility that they are being abused by teens.
Read About Smoking Marijuana And The Future Effects On Teens
My story of addiction and recovery is the story of a near miss and an incredibly lucky break. Therapists talk about resilience and protective factors (as opposed to risk factors)—well, I had a boatload of risk factors but somehow I was able to muster some reserves, survive and ultimately thrive.
My story begins when I woke up from a blackout and realized that I had been raped. I remember drinking the night before, but I don’t remember anything from about halfway through the night until the next morning. The other people at the party helped me piece it together—what they saw and heard plus what I felt and what it all added up to. I was 13 years old and was already drinking myself into blackouts. The boy who raped me said he didn’t remember it either. He was only 14.
Within a year I was raped again, this time by an adult—the father of the child for whom I babysat. He was drunk. He was driving me home from babysitting his infant daughter, and made a wrong turn. I knew what was coming and just braced myself for it. I never told anyone.
Stopping One Addiction And Dangerously Starting Several Others
I stopped drinking but I didn’t stop trying to drown. I smoked marijuana, ate Quaaludes, black beauties, and pink footballs; I snorted cocaine, and eventually snorted heroin. I dated a dealer, and did anything I was handed, no questions asked. It came to me one day, an epiphany of sorts: I realized that if I continued to live the way I had been living that I would die. I had stopped short of using needles, but snorting coke and heroin wasn’t getting me high anymore. I had to escalate again, or get clean, or face the reality that life as a heroin addict-garbage head was likely going to kill me.
A mental health professional had said to me that women with my history end up either dead or in prostitution. For a 15-year-old, this was a pretty heavy realization. I wanted to talk with my mom about it, but when I asked her to talk with me later that day, she said no. I pressed her, telling her that I needed her to listen to me. “No,” she said, “I can’t listen to you.”
Pain, Molestation And Addiction At A Young Age
So maybe my story doesn’t begin at age 13 in a blackout after all. If by age 15 my mom couldn’t tolerate listening to me, obviously a whole lot more was going on and had been for some time. I started drinking when I was 12. I wasn’t the only seventh-grader who was drinking, but I was likely the only one who was drinking to deal with flashbacks.
Backing up another year, things had happened that I still struggle to name. Rape is too simple and it conjures up the wrong set of images. Incest is too familial and can’t capture the way it feels when it is your teacher. Yes, my teacher, my sixth-grade teacher.
There aren’t words for what he did; there are sentences. He was a pedophile, and he groomed me for months, setting me up to be in a position where I wouldn’t say no and I wouldn’t tell anyone. He betrayed my trust and he took my childhood at age 11. I loved him and he said he loved me. It was truly confounding. It went on for months, my lies to my mom about where I went after school, my first lies ever to anyone.
It was Lolita, so I’m told—a novel that no matter how wonderfully written it may be, I have never been able to read it. At the end of the school year, he disappeared. Eventually I told a friend, and she told my mom. Police were called, school officials informed. I was interviewed, and then interviewed again by a special police “verifier” to determine whether I was making it all up. I wasn’t.
Choosing Life And Healing In Recovery Over A Life Of Pain And Addiction
After spending the next few years trying to not feel anything, and then choosing to live instead of die, recovery was a very long and difficult road. Not drinking or drugging was relatively easy. Figuring out what to do with all those feelings and how to get my needs met in healthy ways was the real recovery. It took years of therapy, and a passionate will to “be better”—to not only stop trying to kill myself, but to actually enjoy living.
For a while, pursuing some sort of healing was a full-time endeavor. I chased healing and recovery, stalked it, pursued it relentlessly. I was vulnerable to healers of every make and model, and spent money I shouldn’t have spent and time I didn’t have seeking healing.
While I learned a ton and all of it was useful at some level, I think the critical moments were back in my teens when I chose—consciously chose—to live and to live well. I had no idea how I would make that happen, but it was adolescent spunk and contrariness that fueled my strength. Mom won’t listen to me? I’ll show her. In fact, a decent amount of “I’ll show her” propelled me forward through the hardest times. During that critical and vulnerable time, the anger and the desire to show my mom that I would get through this without her help was probably the single biggest protective factor I had going for me.
Reconciliation With Self And Family
Mom and I are reconciled now. We rarely talk about what happened—it is still a sore subject for both of us. Her pain at failing to protect me from a predator is a wound from which she’s had to heal. The rough ride through my teens is something I’ve had to move past—not easy when I was invited to witness teenage years all over again, ringside, as my daughter grew up. Now she is 19 and more whole and healthy than I think I ever have been, and while I can’t take credit, at least I can say with some relief—my past did not infect her.
At some point in my 40s, I stopped chasing down healing. Not that I declared myself finished with that project, but more to the point I realized that no one is ever fully finished. I am back on a level playing field. The challenges that were tossed in my path when I was young no longer haunt me and I am truly happy with my life. I’ve been through a few dark tunnels, and who knows, maybe more will come my way. But for now, for today, I can feel all I feel and deal with whatever comes my way. Life isn’t perfect, but it is good enough.
24 Sep 2013
Do Teens Know the Truth About Molly?
Who is Molly? Molly is the new name for the decades-old drug ecstasy, the drug that was responsible for three deaths and four people being hospitalized in critical condition over this past Labor Day weekend.
Description Of Molly
Molly is a synthetic, or man-made, drug. It first showed up on the streets in the 1980s as ecstasy. At the time it was called a club drug because young people enjoyed taking it when they went dancing, attended concerts or large parties. Today it’s sold in powder form, usually in capsule form but also sold as pills or tablets, with “Molly” connoting molecular purity.
The pills are brightly colored and sometimes emblazoned with cartoonish images. Officially the drug is known as MDMA, which stands for 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine. If you saw a few words in there you thought you recognized like amphetamine and meth you were right. The drug is a stimulant, or amphetamine, resembling methamphetamine in the way it increases heart rate and stimulation while providing feelings of euphoria.
MDMA is a concoction combining a stimulant with an empathy-boosting chemical plus a psychedelic. Kids like to take Molly at large group events because the drug makes them feel more energized, less inhibited and closer to those around them. There’s also a sensation of heightened alertness.
There’s also a down-side as it can lead to blurry vision, racing blood pressure and heartbeat and muscle cramps. Sometimes the person’s insides are so revved up that they develop hyperthermia. Long hours of dancing and pressing up against people in a crowd make heat stroke likely. Increased heart rate can easily become an arrhythmia or erratic heartbeat, and seizures have also been known to occur.
MDMA may ratchet up energy and perception but it often pulls down the user’s emotions, leaving them feeling depressed, sad and anxious. Problems with memory can result and these difficulties sometimes last up to a week or more. When a young person decides to mix MDMA with alcohol they increase the sedative effects as well as increasing their risk of becoming dehydrated.
The risk of dehydration with use of MDMA is real, so lots of users try to compensate by drinking more water. However, since it causes the body to retain fluids, the combination of MDMA and water can quickly create an imbalance of electrolytes. Kids who choose to combine Molly with caffeine increase their risk of dehydration while also dangerously increasing body temperature.
Called Molly because of supposed molecular purity, the drug is no more pure than any other illicit drug. In fact, MDMA is often cut or completely replaced with another substance known as PMA which produces similar effects. Some deaths attributed to MDMA have actually been caused by PMA. More than that, street drugs are made with no regulating oversight, meaning every batch is unique and users can’t expect one tablet to affect them precisely the same as the last. Many high profile deaths come about because a celebrity is using street drugs in a new city and expecting them to be exactly like those they used in another city — it just doesn’t happen that way.
Celebrity Push Of Molly
Ecstasy, MDMA, Molly — whatever you call it, the drug is enjoying renewed popularity spurred on by pop singers like Madonna, Kanye West and Miley Cyrus. The Monitoring the Future studies conducted by the National Institute on Drug Addiction report that MDMA is experiencing a resurgence among 20-somethings and even high schoolers.
Strong Opportunity For Parents And Teachers
The recent tragic deaths at the Electronic Music Festival in New York provide an opportunity for parents and teachers to talk with teens about the realities of using drugs like MDMA. No matter what pop singers or friends might say, no experience is worth dying for.
11 Sep 2013
Signs That A Teen May Be Using Marijuana
Being a parent carries with it many frustrations, but perhaps none more than suspecting your teenager of regularly smoking marijuana. You wonder, but are not sure. You hesitate to ask directly, but some things just don’t add up.
Here Are 10 Signs That A Teen May Be Using Marijuana:
1. Paraphernalia – If you find joint clips, papers, a bong or pipe in your teen’s room or book bag there is good reason to believe they are using marijuana. These are not the signs of experimentation but of regular use; they definitely do not belong to a friend regardless of what your teen may say.
2. Eye Drops – If you find that your teen is using Visine or other eye drops it’s a pretty good sign they’re smoking dope. If there was a normal problem with your teen’s eyes, most likely he/she would have come to you and spoken about it.
3. Air Fresheners, Incense, Breath Fresheners – If your teen develops a sudden concern over the smell in his room, on his clothes or even his breath it’s worth asking what it is he/she is trying to cover up.
4. Pot Symbols – For some reason, kids who smoke marijuana enjoy advertising their pot use. Posters with pot leaves or stickers/pins with the numbers 420 broadcast to others an above average interest in marijuana.
5. Talking in Code – Most teens are extreme about their privacy, but if you notice that your teen begins using code words when you walk by or regularly leaves the room with his phone when you are around, it could be they are talking about drugs.
6. Finger Burns – If you notice burns on the tips of your teen’s thumb and forefinger it’s probably the result of smoking a joint to the very end. These particular burns are hard to explain in any other way.
7. Isolation or Depression – Again, teens do like to be off on their own, but parents can tell the difference between independence and isolation. If your teen seems depressed and insists on being alone in his/her room rather than taking part in family activities, it deserves investigation.
8. Academic Slippage – A drop in grades is a common sign of drug use. Problems with teachers or school officials and other behavior problems can be a red light signaling deeper issues.
9. Looking for Reasons to Be Out of the House – If your teen suddenly comes up with excuses to leave the house at night you need to find out why. It isn’t likely that your teen suddenly cares about the trash getting out or the dog wanting some exercise.
10. Lack of Motivation – If your teen is no longer interested in things that he/she once enjoyed, or is hard to motivate toward anything, this is a common side effect of pot smoking.
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