Category: Facts About Addiction

A Look at the 5 Stages of Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Every road to recovery starts with someone who is willing to get better. Often, this willingness starts because a loved one or family member had the courage to confront the addict in their life. Early detection can go a long way in making an addict’s road to recovery a bit easier. Today, we will take a look at the five stages of addiction in hopes that others can recognize when they or someone they love is struggling with addiction.

Experimentation – A lot of alcohol and drug addicts start their usage as an experiment. They may know someone who has experimented with heroin so they give it a try or they may have been using lesser opioids like pain killers and decided to try heroin. However, experimentation often leads to full blown addiction. Everyone’s brain composition is different. For instance, kids in college who have viewed others drinking socially may choose to join along for some fun. However, for some people, it can be difficult to keep drinking strictly casual.

Regular Use – The next step after experimentation is incorporation of a substance into everyday use. For some, this is easier to hide than for others. Eventually, even functioning addicts will begin to show signs that they are using daily. These signs can include showing up late to functions, not showing up at all, a loss in response time and more.

Risky Use – The body will work up a tolerance before it provides the desired result of the addict. For instance, a person who drinks every day will slowly but surely build a tolerance for alcohol. This tolerance will force them to binge drink to the point of severe risk. The largest sign that someone has entered the risky use phase is that they begin to show large mood swings.

Dependence – When a full dependence on a substance sets in, an addict will choose their desire to obtain their drug of choice over everything else.  With the body and mind completely reliant on the substance, withdrawal symptoms will cause large emotional swings.

Addiction – Finally, an addict will see the rest of what makes them a unique person fade way. Drug usage will take complete control of their lives and cause them to lose relationships with loved ones and fail to maintain any sense of a normal life. Ideally, an addict would enter our inpatient drug rehab program before they reach this stage, but it’s absolutely imperative that they do if they find themselves reaching this point.

Call our experts at (866) 308-2090 if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction. We look forward to stopping the vicious cycle.


Our Drug Rehab Facility Offers Hope for Heroin Addicts

The fear of an overdose is – or should be – ever present for heroin users. However, the serious health risks of abusing heroin include more than the horrifying possibility of an overdose. The earlier heroin users enter drug rehab, the sooner they can protect the systems of the body that are damaged by heroin abuse. Those systems include:

  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Intestines
  • Kidneys

When it comes to the brain, the way a person thinks will actually change under the influence of heroin. Cravings and impaired reasoning will quickly cause a heroin user to strain relationships with friends and family and fall behind in school or at work. It’s important for loved ones to recognize these warning signs and have the confidence to talk to potential users and let them know that help is out there.

As an opiate, heroin users often start their addictions with prescription drugs like Vicodin or Percocet. Once a user makes the switch to heroin, it’s extremely rare that they will switch back. This is not only because the drug is more addictive, but because it’s often cheaper and is sadly all too commonly available on the street. Withdrawal symptoms are truly terrible, so the addiction grows with every use. Heroin is not a recreational drug, it becomes a lifestyle. This lifestyle creates a mindset of inevitability that the addiction will last forever. The truth is that our drug rehab programs can help people rebuild their lives.

Because withdrawal causes such mental and physical damage, a lot of heroin users end up continuing to take the drug simply to avoid the illness. Physical, mental and environmental factors all contribute to heroin addiction. We recommend drug rehab because getting past the withdrawal stage still does little to help treat the mental and environmental elements.  Our drug rehab programs allow addicts to go through the detox process in a safe environment.

Those who enter heroin drug rehab will receive care that includes support through the detox process, therapy, support groups and planning for life outside our facility. Through our expert residential care, we are able to provide users with a path towards long-term recovery.

We take our role in the recovery process seriously. We believe every person has the potential to change their lives for the better. If you or a loved one needs a drug rehab facility due to heroin addiction, call our experts at (866) 308-2090.




Quitting Smoking Significantly Reduces Risk of Alcohol Relapse

Quitting Cigarettes Helps Prevent Alcohol Relapse

A new study published in Science Daily finds that alcoholics in recovery who smoke are at a greater risk for alcohol relapse than individuals in recovery who don’t smoke. Traditionally recovery has included therapy for all mind and mood altering substances, but left cigarettes out of the equation. Now scientist are finding verifiable evidence that ceasing nicotine abuse could be the secret that helps people stay sober, preventing alcohol relapse.

Many in Alcohol Abuse Recovery Smoke Cigarettes

Most adults who have problems with alcohol abuse also smoke cigarettes, most recovering alcoholics smoke as well. In the groups that smoke and are still actively using alcohol, the craving to smoke is much more intense once the alcohol hits their system. Many finding it difficult to drink without smoking. Once recovery is introduced those in recovery continue to keep smoking for fear of removing another substance from their daily routine. Local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings commonly have large crowds outside the meeting smoking cigarettes. In alcohol abuse recovery smoking has created a bond between members and is used since it does not get the user high. Since the study has been released many fearing alcohol relapse are beginning to attempt to quit smoking, which many find much more difficult than putting down the drink.

Quitting Smoking Improves Health and Prevents Alcohol Relapse

“Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health,” says Renee Goodwin, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. “But our study shows that giving up cigarettes is even more important for adults in recovery from alcohol since it could prevent alcohol relapse.” Researchers involved in the study followed 34,653 adults in alcohol abuse recovery. They were assessed at two intervals, three years apart from each other. In the study daily smokers were found two-times more likely to suffer an alcohol relapse compared with nonsmokers.

The Link Between Alcohol Abuse and Smoking Is Hard to Break

Behavioral and neurochemical links between smoking and alcohol are cited as potential causes for the link between smoking and alcohol relapse. For many in alcohol recovery their drinking and cigarette use began at the same time. This would cause a psychological link between the two that could take years to break. Alcoholics who stray away from their treatment plans and 12-step groups and continue to smoke lose the influence of the recovery community and can be pulled towards alcohol relapse by the internal link of cigarettes and alcohol. Many in recovery groups caution people to not quit to many things at once and use thing mantra as a reason to continue nicotine use. Now science has provided unequivocal proof that smoking should be discontinued at the same time as drinking to decrease the risk of alcohol relapse. For those who looking to apply the 12 steps of AA to nicotine, there are Nicotine Anonymous groups with many meetings available in most cities across the US.

Can You Cure A Drug Addict?

Addiction Is a Disease but Can a Drug Addict Be Cured?

The American Medical Association (AMA) declared that alcoholism was an illness in 1956, just as cancer and diabetes are considered an illness. Alcoholism and drug addiction share in common with cancer and diabetes that they are both as of now incurable, but treatable. We all know people in our own lives that have recovered from cancer and live with their diabetes. The same can be said for a drug addict. Mental healthcare providers and addiction rehab centers have made significant advances in treatment methods over the last 65 years, so much so that a drug addict in recovery today considers himself recovered.

Addiction Rehab Centers See Relapse Rates Equivalent to Other Diseases.

The treatment of a drug addict for substance abuse issues is best done at a *licensed dug and alcohol rehab center. Addiction rehab centers have seen a tremendous amount of success fighting the disease and have helped millions of men and women remain drug and alcohol free for periods of 50 or more years. This proves that while incurable a drug addict can be treated successfully. Many outside of the substance abuse treatment community feel that relapse is a sign that drug treatment does not work. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, relapse rates for other chronic illnesses are on par or greater than the relapse rates associated with that of a drug addict who received help from addiction rehab centers.

Comparison of relapse rates between a drug addict and other’s with a chronic illness:

  • Drug Addiction: 40-60%
  • Type 1 Diabetes: 30-50%
  • Hypertension: 50-70%
  • Asthma: 50-70%

A Drug Addict Does Not Have a Life Sentence

Treatments for a drug addict have been proven to increase quality of life to a point that actually far exceeds the life previously lived before the active addiction takes hold. Many inside the medical community attribute this to the spiritual programs of alcoholics anonymous or any other 12-step based program. Many addiction rehab centers also employ several medications that help to decrease cravings and fight depression. These 12-step programs and medications when combined with continued therapy at addiction rehab centers results in not a cure but a manageable illness that lies dormant and non-existent unless treatment stops.
Form of medication used by addiction rehab centers to treat a drug addict include:

  • Tobacco Addiction
  • Nicotine replacement therapies (available as a patch, inhaler, or gum)
  • Bupropion
  • Varenicline
  • Opioid Addiction
  • Suboxone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Alcohol and Drug Addiction
  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram
  • Acamprosate

While medication may be used to help treat a drug addict many therapists find that most of the addicts that seek help at addiction rehab centers recover without any medication. behavioral therapy and the introduction of a positive peer base and mentoring in a 12-step program produce the most genuine and longest last results.

The Rise Of Opiate Overdose Deaths In Minnesota

The Sad Rise Opiate Overdose Deaths in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports that deaths from drug overdoses increased 11 percent 2014 to 2015. In 2015 alone 572 people died due to drug overdoses. This continues the trend of a steady increase of overdose deaths in the state year after year. Drug overdose deaths in Minnesota have now gone up 4-times since 2000, when the state only reported 129 drug overdose deaths. In 2015, over half of the deceased were related to opiate overdose deaths rather than illegal street drugs. The leading drugs associated with deaths were opioid pain relievers (216) followed by heroin (114), stimulants such as methamphetamines (78), benzodiazepines (71) and cocaine (38).

Dr. Ed Ehlinger, The Minnesota Health Commissioner said, “With all the attention on this issue over the past several years, it’s disappointing that we have not been more effective in slowing down this epidemic.” He went on to say, “It shows we must redouble our efforts and implement a comprehensive public health approach involving communities, health care providers and law enforcement to increase prevention efforts and access to chemical dependency treatments.”

Florida Addiction Treatment Centers Offer Help for Minnesota

With the rate of drug overdose deaths increasing in the seven-county metro area of Minnesota, many residents of the state have sought treatment and recovery mentoring in the state of Florida. There are more addiction treatment centers in the state of Florida than any other state in the country. With only a few option available in the twin cities and a booming population men and women in recovery in Florida many are finding it a safe haven for drug addiction. While it is true opiate overdose deaths
Are prevalent in every state, Florida addiction treatment centers routinely state that changing people, places and things is extremely important to maintain permanent sobriety.

Delray Beach: The Sobriety Capital of the USA

10 years ago, right around the same time the opiate overdose deaths started to rise in Minnesota, Delray Beach, Florida passed St. Paul, Minnesota as the city with the most number of residents in substance abuse recovery. This thriving and vibrant recovery community has seen a drastic increase of men and women coming to the city to take part in their many recovery events and programs. Minnesotans, wishing to change their lives are now starting to look to Florida addiction treatment centers for not just the warm weather but for a friend base that will be able to help them on their journey towards a clean life.

Law Enforcement Encourages Parents to Help Fight Addiction

“Drug overdose deaths destroy families and affect entire communities,” said Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman. “As law enforcement continues its efforts to take the drugs off the streets, we encourage parents to become educated on how to recognize the signs of drug use and support those struggling with addiction to seek help.” One mother who took these words to heart was Dianna Rosa. After 6 years of watching her daughter Sally struggle and witnessing her friends die from opiate overdose deaths, she sent her daughter treatment in Florida. Sally celebrated 6 years of continued sobriety in December.

New Drug Programs Offer Help – Not Jail Time

Drug Programs Prove More Effective Than Jail

Many times, when an individual is arrested for felony drug possession they go straight to jail. Here the disease of the addicted person in simply put on hold, waiting to get out so they can use again. This is most likely followed by more jail time. The good news is that officials in TOTTENVILLE, Staten Island plan to change that. Law enforcement announced a new program called H.O.P.E it stands for Heroin Overdose Prevention and Education. Under this new, cutting edge program people arrested for drug charges could be sent directly to a substance abuse treatment center.

Prison Doesn’t Have to Be One of The Effects of Drug Abuse

Under the H.O.P.E program, anybody arrested for criminal drug possession is eligible for substance abuse treatment should they choose to accept it. Once enrolled in the program and all 5-weeks of chemical dependency therapy are completed, this fully involved city sanctioned directive would ensure that all charges were dropped. Law enforcement officials from Staten Island, who all enthusiastically support the project feel that if they can reach the individuals addicted to heroin during the early stages of use that has a greater likely hood of keeping that person out of jail and off drugs for good. Officials feel that there are many effects of drug abuse that they can’t stop, but jail time is one they can have an impact on.

Is 5 weeks of Heroin Treatment Enough?

Some detractors claim that the drug programs 5-week requirement is not nearly enough to make an impact on many heroin abusers. Many times, the effects of drug abuse have taken such a toll on the user that the entire 5 weeks is needed just to eliminate the mental and physical withdrawal symptoms, then real progress can begin. While we do agree that 5 weeks of outpatient treatment is not nearly enough to begin a full life of recovery we also feel that this program is a great step in the right direction

Long-Term Recovery Rarely Begins in Jail

The clear majority of men and women who are in long-term recovery have done so through drug programs and other 12 step based institutions. If sending people to jail was the best way to help them stay sober, more people would be sober. The H.O.P.E. program is the first of its kind to treat drug abuse as a disease and not a crime. The first of its kid to take drug addicts of the street and put them directly into a drug rehab. It is so simple, it’s a shame it hasn’t been thought of sooner. It’s a shame that more cities do not employ this tactic. By treating alcoholics and drugs addicts as sick and suffering human beings and helping them get in to drug programs you are making an investment in their future and the future of the community. When you send drug addicts to jail, you just have drug addicts waiting to get out.

A The Rapid Healing of The Recovering Addict and The Brain

Hope Found in The Healing Ability of The Recovering Addicts Brain

Recently a man of 55 attended a South Florida detox center and substance abuse facility. At our rehab clinic we noticed that periods of long term and chronic drug abuse had a negative impact on his cognitive functions. The most pressing issue being his memory. Many other brain functions seemed to be severely damaged over his period of substance abuse and the patient’s family seemed resigned to the fact that this limited cognitive ability would continue to get worse or best case, remain the same. People seeking recovery after decades of alcohol and drug abuse do so to stop the progression of the disease of addiction but are unaware that as a recovering addict the brain’s ability to heal is quite remarkable.

Rehab Clinics Find Brain Damage from Substance Abuse Reversed in Two Weeks

Studies have been proven to find what we discovered with our 55-year-old recovering addict mentioned above. With as little as 2 weeks of abstinence from drugs and alcohol the brain can actually reverse the damaged caused. When alcohol and drugs are introduced to the body over a long duration the brain begins to shrink and loses mass. It also increases the amount of cerebrovascular fluid. This shrinking of the brain and the increased fluids are the primary causes of memory loss and concentration problems.

Brain Shrinkage Repaired Must Sooner Than Believed in Recovering Addict

The studies looked at 49 recovering addicts in rehab clinics and saw that after the aforementioned 2 weeks of recovery took place, the deterioration of the cerebellum or “Brain Shrinkage” had completely returned to normal in most cases. We also found that recovering addicts attention issues and impulsivity concerns reduced rapidly as well. These higher cognitive functions have been perceived for years to be a milestone that the addict had little to no chance of achieving. With this new knowledge, rehab clinics are more hopeful than ever, since the biggest deterrent to recovery is the addicts desire for instant gratification. By being able to inspire hope of reversing brain damage in 2 weeks, more individuals fighting addiction may be drawn to these fast results.

Recovering Addicts Encouraged by Rapid Return of Increased Cognitive Skills

When our recovering addict at the beginning of the article had reached the two week milestone, he was very surprised at just how focused his mind seemed to be. Family and therapists commented that he seemed to be more engaged, focused and remembered much more. His wife reported that phone calls from his rehab clinic highlighted the restoration of memory. When our subject was asked if he would have sought treatment sooner if he had been made aware of the likelihood of cognitive behaviors returning so quickly he responded, “I would have come in much sooner. I knew that I had really ruined my heart, mind and soul. If I knew that my mind could come back in 2 weeks I would have been here years ago. Infact I didn’t think any of the negative effects of my drug use could be reversed. This is information that people need to know.”

Heroin Abuse and The Negative Health Effects

Heroin Abuse Has Severe Mental and Physical Health Consequences

With the availability of heroin of a higher purity and the swift and drastic decrease in cost to obtain the drug, heroin deaths have ben on the rise nationally. The increase in demand for heroin and the subsequent saturation of the market is doing to the increased appeal and desire for heroin in more affluent communities and areas who historically have remained free of high risk narcotics. Fatalities as a result of heroin abuse get most of the nationally media attention, but the short-term and long-term health risks are going widely unnoticed. In an effort to inform the public of these less talk about dangers we have coordinated with the National Institute on Drug Abuse to bring you the consequences of heroin abuse.

The Short-Term Health Effects of Heroin Abuse

When heroin is injected, or snorted the first effect that takes place is most commonly referred to as a “rush.” The first negative effect of heroin is addiction and it cause this phenomena so quickly because of the speed in which it enters the brain. Other immediate health concerns include dry mouth, a heavy feeling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting and intense and persistent itching. A sense of drowsiness accompanies the user impairing motor functions and slowing the nervous system and cardiac functions.

Even after one use breathing can slow to unsafe and fatal levels. Additional, yet less catastrophic effects of heroin abuse include decreased appetite, increased stress, skin abrasions and infections and depression. The short-term health risk of heroin differs in severity from other narcotics. Many of the immediate health effects of heroin show themselves only in the long-term abuse of other prescription and street drugs. These drastic and fatal immediate concerns are what makes heroin such a dangerous chemical.

The Long-Term Health Effects of Heroin Addiction

Another unique concern of heroin abuse is that addiction shows it self both in the short-term and the long-term consequence lists. As a long-term heath concern addiction induces compulsive drug seeking behavior, which brings its own financial, moral, physical dangers. With varying levels of tolerance to the drug, the compulsive behaviors only increase in danger and frequency.

Along with addiction comes the physical dependence to heroin. It is this physical dependence that drives many to seek out addiction programs and even more to continued use. Withdrawal symptoms occur very rapidly in individuals who abuse heroin. The body adapts quickly to relying upon having the drug in its system. This cause the withdrawal symptoms to present themselves the moment or high wears off.

Chronic abusers of heroin also experience collapsed veins, infections of the heart valves, liver and kidney disease. Arthritis, pneumonia and tuberculosis may also occur do to the addicted users poor health conditions. The most common health risks come in the form of hepatitis B and C and HIV derived from sharing injection needles. These diseases are particularly harmful since they can be based on to loved ones and even children.

Addiction programs Offer a Solution

Most of the above heath risk have been proven to be removed or lessened through the participation in addiction programs. These programs promote recovery and enhance the overall health of the person with a history of abusing heroin. Many have seen result after only 28 days while most need continued long-term treatment in an intensive outpatient setting to truly recover.

The Physical Dependence on Ecstasy

Ecstasy can be a commonly used drug for those who like to escape or have fun. But like other drugs, you can have a physical dependency and psychological dependency. There is a difference between addiction and dependence and signs that can be used to differentiate the two.

Taking this drug moderately will start to create symptoms within a week of usage. Some of these symptoms are a range of emotions the user will experience from anxiety, to sadness, to irritability. There are many drawbacks to taking ecstasy during and after.

Dependence on Ecstasy

Ecstasy is also called MDMA, which is a phenylethylamine. It creates psychedelic effects from triggered stimulants. When physical dependence of a chemical happens the body build a tolerance. When the doses are lowered or not they’re at all withdrawal symptoms start to show. Some of the symptoms that have been reported after taking reduced amounts of ecstasy are:

  • Hard time concentrating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Fatigue

Dependence for ecstasy is a physical need, but addiction to ecstasy is something different. Addiction is a state of mind that is causing the cravings. “The difference can be hard to discern, as physical dependence and addiction oftentimes go hand in hand. Determining whether it’s a case of dependence or addiction to ecstasy is crucial in order to proceed with a proper treatment.”

It is possible to be physically dependent on ecstasy and have an addiction of ecstasy. When MDMA is in the brain, it increases the activity of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which increase activity.

Signs of Addiction

There are certain possible signs that can result in ecstasy addiction.

  • Inability to quit
  • Taking more than initially intended
  • Spending all money on the drug
  • Continual usages despite current harm

There are no pharmacological treatments for ecstasy addiction. But there are other treatments such as treatment centers and recovery to help with the addiction.

Food Addiction – Am I Addicted to Food?

Can You Be Addicted to Food?

Food addiction is difficult for those who have no personal experience with the subject to comprehend – just as those suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism are commonly faced with misunderstanding and discrimination from individuals who have not walked a mile in their shoes. Even drug addicts sometimes misunderstand food addiction, claiming that something involving a non-addictive substance cannot possibly be nearly as devastating as a physical and mental dependence on pills, booze, or the likes. As it turns out, studies show that those who suffer from food addiction experience a psychological response similar to those who suffer from substance dependency.

Experiments in both humans and animals prove that the same neurological reward centers that are stimulated by addictive chemical substances such as alcohol, heroin, and cocaine are activated by highly palatable foods – foods high in fat, salt, or sugar content. When an individual experiences intense feelings of pleasure as a result of eating certain foods (as dopamine is released into the brain), he or she will feel the need to eat again once that feeling has dissipated. Therefore, food addiction and drug addiction affect individuals somewhat similarly – although physical symptoms are typically unalike, the emotional and mental torment caused by the unrelenting cravings and impulsive compliance is devastatingly comparable.

Signs and Symptoms of Food Addiction

Those who suffer from food addiction will typically develop tolerances to food over time, much like drug addicts and alcoholics develop tolerances to their chemical substances of choice. What does tolerance mean by way of the food addict? The amount of palatable foods a food addict eats will likely increase over time, seeing as a greater amount of food will need to be consumed in order for the same amount of pleasure to be experienced. After a while, feelings of satisfaction and contentment will begin to be almost impossible to obtain, and the desire to once again achieve the initial feelings of gratification that food produced will override physical, mental, and interpersonal consequences. Food addicts will typically continue eating despite fullness, leading to serious health complications such as obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. However, food addicts can be of average weight – and frequently are. They may be genetically predisposed to metabolize food quickly, or they may compensate for their excessive food intake with hours of daily exercise.

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If you are addicted to food, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Inability to control portions when eating certain types of food
  • Eating certain types of food secretly or in private
  • Going out of your way to obtain certain types of food when they are not available
  • Continuing to eat even when you’re no longer hungry
  • Eating despite fullness
  • Eating to the point of physical illness
  • You avoid certain social situations where certain types of food will be present for fear of publically overeating
  • Your performance at work or school is compromised because of your relationship with food and eating
  • You begin spending less time with friends and family members because of your eating and the consequences of continuous overeating
  • Eating often causes you to feel depressed, anxious, guilty, or shameful
  • The amount of food you used to consume no longer triggers the same feelings of satisfaction and pleasure, and you begin eating greater quantities of food in attempts to produce the same results

Help for Food Addiction

Food addiction is an extremely common disorder, though it is rarely openly discussed for widespread lack of understanding and empathy. If you or someone you love is suffering from food addiction, help is available. Many inpatient drug rehabs offer dual diagnosis disorder tracks, many of which focus on eating disorders of all kinds. For more information on our dual diagnosis program of addiction recovery, please contact one of our trained representatives today.

We are here to support you during your time of need and help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one. Click below to speak to a member of our staff directly.

Lighthouse Recovery Institute