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6 Addictions That Are Completely Legal
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Breaking the Stigma Associated with Addiction: Legal Substances that are Addictive
Do you believe that all addictions derive from the use of illegal drugs and alcohol? You may be surprised to learn that many of the most common, socially acceptable addictions occur from overuse or improper use of every day accessible or doctor prescribed substances.
These behavioral addictions or process addictions occur in many situations. They involve common behaviors of most people today. For some people, there is an increased risk factor present. And, with the use of these seemingly safe substances, individuals will become slowly more addicted. If left untreated, this can progress rapidly, leading to life-threatening outcomes.
A Better Today Recovery Services can help people find the substance abuse treatment they need to break through addictive behaviors. Treatment generally requires intensive treatment designed to address the behavior, the way an addicted individual thinks, the psychological conditions present before and after addiction, as well as the physical medical risks involved from withdrawal. It’s not easy to make this change, no matter how benign the substance can seem. Why people are addicted to these substances can be fascinating in and of itself.
Antidepressant addictions are not the same as addictions to heroin or alcohol. Those that take these medications don’t get the same craving as others do. However, the addiction stems from the way a person feels when they stop taking the antidepressant, especially if they do so quickly. The withdrawal can be painful emotionally and physically, causing hand tremors, nausea, and even significant depression. This type of dependency can lead to addictive and compulsive behaviors.
Antidepressants do not get people high. However, they build up in the brain, taking time to create the desired outcome. They can lead to a psychostimulant-like effect when abused over a long period of time.
Inhalant Addictions: Huffing Household Products
Perhaps you’ve heard of addictions to television or even addictions to sugar. These are very simplistic substances around the home. Household products, such as cleaners, can also have the same impact. Inhalants are any type of product consumed in a gas form. This may include substances from butane lighters, refrigerants, paint, whipped cream dispensers, and even propane tanks. A huffing addiction is not uncommon.
In some situations, individuals feel is though they are craving or have a compulsion to use the product. There is evidence of withdrawal symptoms as well. In the short term, they can be lethal by causing an instant heart attack. Long term, they lead to muscle wasting.
Over the Counter Medication: Cough Syrup Addiction
Over the counter medications are very addictive. Many people believe that these medications are safe to use because they do not require a doctor’s prescription for them. You can visit a drug store, purchase some pain killers or cough syrup, and use them. However, these are not safe and they can lead to long-term abuse. The most common over-the-counter medications include motion sickness pills, pain killers such as acetaminophen, cough medicine (DXM products) and cold medications containing pseudoephedrine.
Consuming more than the recommended dosage can lead to a euphoria similar to those that occur from opioid use. They can help to reduce pain, but also create a Zen like experience. However, over time, they damage the liver and other vital organs.
Alcohol Addiction: Alcoholism Takes Control
Simply, alcohol is addictive. Alcohol comes in a variety of forms, from seemingly harmless wine to beer and hard liquor. Many people begin this type of addiction with a single drink every few days. It progresses into moderate drinking. It becomes compulsive drinking. Over time, alcohol will change the way in which the brain works, often changing the chemical makeup of it. While alcohol isn’t a stimulate, it can create a feel-good experience that helps people forget or relax.
Over time, alcohol changes a person’s way of thinking and acting. It changes the way a person feels and experiences life. And, it damages the body physically. For many people, alcoholism develops into a compulsion that robs them of their quality of life, relationships, and future.
Painkiller Addiction: The New Gateway to Heroin Abuse
Prescription pain killers are very useful. For those facing surgery or other significant injuries, they become incredibly important. They help a person’s body to heal while dealing with intense pain. However, painkiller abuse leads to the same impact and feeling of much more powerful drugs. Prescription opioids only work for so long. Over time, individuals seek out more intense numbing solutions. This leads to heroin and intense illegal drugs.
Painkillers themselves are not something most people can ignore, but they are very important to monitor. Many of them are highly addictive. And, they can damage every organ in the body when abused. There is a growing number of people entering treatment centers as a result of beginning on their illegal drug path with the use of prescription pain killers. Recognizing this seemingly simple connection is important.
Adderall Medication Addiction: Adderall Abuse Among Students
Adderall is a type of medication used to calm those who suffer from conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In those with this condition, the medication works to calm the mind, allowing the individual to focus. For those who do not have ADHD, it has the exact opposite impact. It causes significant energy and excitement. This is why it is very commonly abused.
A specific area of risk is in students. Students abuse Adderall much in the same way as a caffeine addiction occurs. They begin using the medication so they can study longer and harder. They use it to forgo sleep so they can get more done. And, this leads to a significant stress on the body including the heart. In many cases, this drug becomes a socially acceptable addiction–if that’s what your roommate is doing, a person might believe that it is okay for them too.
Behavioral Addictions & Process Addictions
There are many types of addiction behaviors. Behavior addiction occurs when a person engages in behaviors at a high frequency or risk level.
A process addiction is a condition in which person becomes dependent on some form of behavior. This may include shopping, gambling, or even sex. In all situations, this type of behavior results in a desire to continue to use the product or substance to achieve the desired outcome.
Many times, these types of addictions seem harmless. However, if you notice changes in your loved one or a desire to use these substances in a negative or obsessive manner, it may be time to seek out additional help.
The Addicted Brain: The Answers are at a Molecular Level
Even in these seemingly everyday substances, changes within the brain occur. Initially, a person chooses to use these substances. Over time, their brains become to crave it. They need it. This is due to a significant change in the chemistry and makeup of the brain. It is not necessarily something they can instantly change. Taking way prescription medications or other substances quickly can even be life threatening to these individuals.
So, what can be done? Why people are addicted is important to understand. They often seek out the same pleasure they got once from a substance. They continue to abuse because they believe they can control it or that the substance they are using–from television to gambling and even to alcoholism – is something that is not going to hurt them. And, in some situations listed here, it is a socially acceptable addiction. Even though they are legal, these substances can be lethal.
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Providing Reliable Sources Matter to ABTRS
Finding unbiased information that you can count on is important to ABTRS. No one likes fake news and in this day and age, it is important to know where your information is coming from. Knowledge has always been considered a strong foundation for recovery, especially when it comes to taking control of your disease of addiction and living a life worth living. When it comes to drug and alcohol abuse treatment, you need reliable resources.
Sources that are impartial and proven to be effective by the scientific or psychology community. It is important for us to offer knowledge from reputable sources that are up to date and relevant. Check out the list below to further your knowledge. It may be a dry read but know that you or your addicted loved one is worth the time and research.
Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51).
NIDA. (2018, January 17). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition on 2019, February 22
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