Showing posts with label addiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label addiction. Show all posts

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew - Good or Bad for Addiction

Celebrity Alcoholics and Addicts in Rehab on a Reality Show

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Pinsky was a reality show about addiction started in January 2008. Dr. Drew hoped Celebrity Rehab would help save lives, dispel ignorance about addiction, and show that going to rehab isn't a 21-day vacation from your problems; drug rehab is hard, emotional work, and addiction treatment is only the beginning of the long road to recovery.

A reality show.  Celebrities.  Rehab.  A mix of men and women from a variety of backgrounds with one thing in common -- addiction. Celebrities who've lost their children, careers, job offers, beauty, fame, fortune, and much more. Celebrity Rehab showing celebrity addicts coping with addictions going through withdrawal and rehab was sure to air some crazy, wild television.

Some viewers may ask if Celebrity Rehab is merely a scripted reality show made by blood-sucking vulturous vampires preying on celebrity drug addicts and alcoholics lining everyone's pockets to produce the show.  The truth is there is incentive for the celebrities to agree to go to rehab and publicize their detox and addiction treatment process. These celebrity addicts and alcoholics who agree to go to rehab at Pasadena Recovery Center not only get free treatment (worth approximately $50,000 to $60,000) and receive a prorated stipend once per week to stay on Celebrity Rehab and continue with their addiction treatment.

Maybe the money is the reason they agree to go to rehab, some celebrities have lost their fame, family, wealth, careers, and tried repeatedly to stop using drugs. I know addicts, alcoholics, cravings, withdrawal, rehab, relapse, recovery, so if getting these celebrities into free treatment and paying them incentive money to stay can help them then maybe it's worth it.

Dr. Drew stated in an interview that the media exploits addiction and addicted celebrities, and I agree. He uses Britney Spears as an example.  She is parading around partying, but the media and paparazzi are only interested in taking the most embarrassing photo or video to degrade her.  Dr. Drew is a physician who specialized in addiction medicine and treats all sorts of people with addiction, including dual diagnosis.  He treats celebrity addicts, but the Pasadena Recovery Center is not just a "celebrity" alcohol and drug treatment center. I don't believe Dr. Drew Pinsky had any malicious intent or a goal to harm any of the alcohol or drug dependent substance abusers who came through his doors for rehab.

The purpose of Celebrity Rehab was to raise awareness about addiction, likely using celebrity drug addicts to attract viewers, however after relapses and five celebrities who died surrounding a relapse, Dr. Drew Pinsky decided to end the show because of the media criticism blaming him for five celebrities who died after their appearance on Celebrity Rehab. Celebrity or not, a stay in rehab does not cure addiction, and relapse rates are high; because these celebrities appeared on the show and then passed away they are forever tied to the show.  There were many celebrities who were helped by Celebrity Rehab and went from rock bottom to working again and living in recovery.

People claim Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab is not about helping addicts, it's bad for addiction, and a way to exploit addiction by using celebrities.  If Celebrity Rehab wasn't about people recovering from addiction, but instead recovering from cancer I wonder if Dr. Drew's show would have undergone such scrutiny.  Addiction is a disease but addicts in remission aren't celebrated like a cancer patient.

Watch Celebrity Rehab and decide for yourself whether the show helped or hurt addicts and the perception of addiction.  Some scenes may seem overdone, but the truth is your watching people publicly struggle with addiction and drug abuse, some for the first time, and even though they're celebrities, they are still addicts, real people going through real detox and treatment.

Be Safe.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Staying Sober During the Holiday Season

The holidays are a heck of a time for alcoholics and drug addicts. New Year's Eve is one of the most dangerous days on the road because of drunk driving. Christmas and other holiday parties are the norm from dress up Halloween parties to the culmination on December 31. Because of all the cheer or stress the temptation to drink or use drugs is very strong. After the first of the year is also a time where there is an influx of people ending up in outpatient or inpatient alcohol or drug rehab or having to take classes associated with drunk driving offenses.

Staying sober during the holidays is tough. This article has some advice for staying clean. Above all else keep yourself safe. You are your first priority. Stay sober!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Snorting, Smoking, Shooting Cocaine Cause Mental or Cognitive Problems

Cognitive Problems Caused by Cocaine Use, Abuse or Addiction

A new animal study released October 23, 2009 confirms that cocaine users/abusers experience severe cognitive problems related to their cocaine use. The Science Daily article stated, "Cocaine users display a range of cognitive deficits, including problems with decision-making, planning, and memory. The greater these deficits, the more likely treatment will fail." The findings are compiled from cocaine-exposed rhesus monkeys who were part of a multiple year study.

Ex-cocaine addicts probably don't need a scientific study to tell them that their cocaine use has caused them to change, even after the cocaine use stopped.  Cocaine abuse and addiction causes changes in the brain that result in the person having various types of residual cognitive problems such as problems with memory, trouble focusing, difficulty problem solving, easily distracted, and sleep problems. It seems that using cocaine can cause cognitive impairment similar to that of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

This article offers hope both for reducing stigma around addiction and creating adequate treatment for people who use, abuse, or become addicted to cocaine. Cocaine has been described as the drug that has the most potent physiological triggers associated with it therefore making it hard to quit and avoid. It's hooks are powerful beyond imagination.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dislike the Addiction not the Person

Before you hate an addict, STOP. Think! Use your reason. You know that you've wondered about "these" people and why "they" can't "just stop" ruining themselves, doing drugs, committing crimes, lying, hurting you...

What makes a person want something so badly they will give up all dignity (in some cases) for tiny specks of powder, empty prescription bottles, no more glamor alcohol? Try to imagine that something must take over this person's brain and body, something like a kind of cancer that eats through healthy tissue and overtakes it thereby altering it at a molecular level.

There is a great deal of pain on all sides of addiction and while society tries to "teach lessons" via punishment the recidivism rate doesn't decrease. If this method worked the jails and prisons would be much less empty rather than overcrowding, but instead the only business the keep counting on despite a downward economy is corrections.

At the very core, I don't think that most addicts wanted to end up being what it is you're seeing. It's a spiral out of control. Out of control.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Spotting Denial of Crystal Methamphetamine Addiction or Abuse

Methamphetamine Abuse or Addiction-- The Crystal Meth Difference 

Crystal methamphetamine is in a class of drugs called stimulants. Crystal Meth is always looking for new people to use her because if you like her, she'll control you in no time. Crystal Meth is a tricky bitch; she loves you because once she has you addicted, she controls everything.

Photo Attribution:

Crystal Meth like all drugs goes by many street or slang names so people can talk about drugs in the open without everyone knowing their business.  Some street names for Crystal Methamphetamine are Meth, ice, crystal, crank, tweak, shit, shards, G, glass, Tina. Denial is hard to break.  Addiction holds on strong, mentally and physically, and most people don't want to believe they're addicted, like "those people", or most of all that they have lost control.   

The most important for you to understand is this:  even if someone really wants to stop using, abusing, getting high on Crystal Meth, well, they want to keep using it, too. They want to get high one more time, and it's the ONE MORE TIME that gets us.  If you understand that it's a normal feeling for every addict then you're a heck of a lot closer to spotting their addiction denial and get them the help they deserve.  

Breaking the denial of Meth addiction (or addiction to other drugs) can be a long, hard process that takes time.  Spotting Crystal Meth use is probably the easiest step; getting through the denial is the first step to help a Meth addict.  A lot of people call Crystal Meth addicts "tweakers," so I will sometimes refer to them as tweakers in the Crystal Meth Denial Checklist.

Crystal Methamphetamine - Spotting Denial of Use, Abuse and Addiction

All addicts justify their drug use.  Crystal Meth addicts are just a little bit different. Crystal Meth addicts are a bit more tricky to deal with (sometimes dangerous) because Methamphetamine can cause psychosis in people depending on how long they've been using, how much and how strong their Crystal, and how many days the person has been awake. If you use Crystal Meth see if you do these things (you don't have to tell anyone, yet). Watch for these behaviors in a friend or loved one if you suspect they're using Methamphetamine.  Once you're fairly certain you've talk to them about it at a time that seems safest.  Expect denial.  Hope for the best.

Crystal Meth Addiction or Abuse Denial Checklist - For Yourself or Someone Else

If you use Crystal Meth do you say these things to yourself?  If you're reading this because you love someone you suspect is using Crystal Meth do you hear him or her make the justifications below?

  • "I control IT, IT does not control me."
  • "I can stop using Meth; I just don't want to stop right now."
  • "I am not hurting anyone else."
  • "I only hurting myself."
  • "I don't get high around my kids, family, or at work."
  • "I take care of my responsibilities." 
  • "My partner/spouse is just freaking out, and nagging me all the time just makes me want to get high, so she/he should back off." 

Comparison Statements Crystal Meth Addicts Use to Justify

Addicts compare themselves to other addicts.  Some things Crystal Meth addicts say:

  • "I sleep every night."  
  • "I don't crash after a meth binge."
  • "I don't lose track of time when I'm using Meth." 
  • "I don't get paranoid, hallucinate, or see tree people (I don't think)."
  • "I’m not like _____ or as bad as _____."
  • "I don't shoot it up."
  • "I only snort Crystal."
  • "I just smoke it."
  • "I haven't used for that long."
  • "I don't use it every day."
  • "I don't have meth sores, pick at myself, or look like that sleazy tweaker over there."
So what?  Some tweakers work on Wall Street.  Some tweakers live on the street. Some tweakers see or feel (imaginary) bugs or have a sensation of things on their skin, crawling under their skin or are just so high that they pick at themselves creating sores and scabs.  I once thought Meth shards were coming through my pores; I can still see it in my head, but I couldn't grab the damn things.  To this day I don't know if I had sores or not. 

Drugs do not give a damn how they get into your bloodstream, as long as they get there.  Addicts are crafty and we will do whatever is necessary to get high, get well, escape reality, and get those drugs into our bodies. Any orifice is fair game.

  • "I only party on weekends."
  • "I use Crystal, but I take care of my kids and/or family (and my house is clean)."
  • "I have a job."
  • "I am too young to be addicted to Meth."
  • "I am too old to get addicted."
  • "This doesn't happen in my family or where I come from."
  • "I have my teeth."
  • "I don't have diseases like Hepatitis C, HIV."
  • "I play safe when I get high."
  • "I don't party and play (PnP)."
  • "I always use condoms, clean needles, and never share any part of my works to shoot up."
Do you look at your possessions to make yourself feel like your Methamphetamine addiction is not that bad? I did, until I had nothing to look at anymore.  The process took awhile, but it did happen. Other common justifications and comparison statements used in the middle of addiction:
  • "I don't steal...I just return."
  • "I have good credit."
  • "I don't pawn or trade my belongings (or my kids toys, wives jewelry, husband's tools) to get drugs."
  • "I don't spend a lot of money. I get my dope for free."
  • "I have a car (that’s not even stolen)."
  • "I have my own place to live."
  • "I have never been in trouble because I use drugs."
  • "I don't sell or trade my body for it."
  • "I have never been to jail."
  • "I have only been to jail (not prison)."
  • "I have not lost everything."
It's also important to look at the people you go to for Meth. That's easy to overlook, but every time you buy, you risk getting busted, wrong place wrong time, rolled, buying a bad batch, etc. Even recreational users puts themselves at risk because violence surrounds drug dealers and users. 

  • Can you trust the people you're around when you get high on Crystal?
  • Do you do other drugs when you can't get Meth? 
  • Do you trust your friends?
  • Have you gotten physical with someone you care about because one of both of you were high or coming down?
  • Do your friends lie to you, steal from you, or use you for your hookup, pipe, car, money, a place to stay or get high? 
  • Are friends gone when the bag is gone?  
  • Will your friends support you if you quit using Crystal Meth? 
  • Have you done anything while using Crystal Meth that you swore you'd never do? 
  • Have you ever crossed your boundaries or personal morals and beliefs to get the drug or to stay high? 
  • Do you feel regret, guilt, shame, remorse, surprised, angry, have a holy shit moment about something that you did or happened around you while you high on Crystal?
These are hard questions. A lot of times breaking through Meth denial doesn't last very long, but it might be just enough to get you to look at yourself and what is really going on a little more intently. It's a place to start. Prepare to talk to someone and ask for help.

Be safe.

Other articles that may be helpful:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Can't Michael Jackson's Drug Addiction Help Others

With the recent death of Michael Jackson and the uncovering of the depth of his drug problem, it's clear Michael was an addict. I've seen in the news that he went to drug rehab some time ago for his addiction to prescription pain medication, but what seems very clear to me is that for whatever the reasons treatment didn't work for him. In the weeks to come we will undoubtedly be inundated with reports about his private life and the extent of his addiction.

A report today said that he had enough drugs in his system to kill an average person. Well, of course it would. These statements can end up being so misleading because what an addict can tolerate is usually incredible amounts of alcohol or drugs. This is part of being an addict. Tolerance is one of those early signs that your body is building up to your consumption and adapting to your use. One of the signs of being in later stage addiction or alcoholism and having your body start to give out on you is when you begin to consume less amounts to produce the same high or drunk. In alcoholics this can be a sign of liver damage. But this is not just something that happens to alcoholics. These are the words of one former crystal methamphetamine addict, "at the very end I couldn't do much meth at all. Just a little bit had me spun for days. I could feel my body shutting down on was as if the life was literally seeping from me; I was at my end."

I hope that Michael Jackson did not die in vain. His death is another tragic example, like the hundreds if not thousands that go by every day without anyone noticing, of the perils of addiction. With all the resources at his hands, he picked up pills. Instead of thinking he made a poor choice, imagine for just a moment just how incredibly powerful it must be to have an active addiction running through your veins.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Does it Flip a Switch or Did the Light Go Off?

Researchers hooked rats on drugs without using any. What? How is that possible? Well, it seems to be a biological breakthrough in finding out what's going on inside the head of a drug addict -- biologically speaking. Many people have probably heard an addict or alcoholic describe their compulsive drug use as "a switch being flipped" and it seems that is what's happening.

This research gives new hope to addicts, parents, partners, and children of them, as well as friends and the community at large. Perhaps if research can show that there really is something different happening in an addict's brain when he or she uses a drug then there is hope for a cure.

Flipping The Brain's Addiction Switch Without Drugs

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Truth About Strawberry Quick Crystal Meth (For Your Kids)

Strong warnings about Strawberry Quick, also known as Strawberry Meth, began in 2007 and spread fast over the internet and television. The warnings reported drug dealers are manufacturing a new type of crystal methamphetamine that specifically targets children. The warning was revamped and sent out as a Halloween scare.

Crystal methamphetamine is a dangerous, and highly addictive stimulant drug that is referred to as meth, ice, crystal, glass, speed, etc. Methamphetamine use is devastating and causes damage to the user, families, friends, and can have severe societal repercussions.

Strawberry Quick Meth gets the name from Strawberry Quik, the pink powdered flavoring that can be added to milk for a strawberry flavor. The supposed strawberry meth is reported to look like Pop Rocks candy, which makes it appealing to kids. This form of crystal methamphetamine is a hoax. It does not exist. Warnings spread like wildfire that the evil drug dealers are now trying to lure kids with candy flavored meth. There is no strawberry quick methamphetamine.

However, drug dealers and manufacturers do sometimes make their crystal methamphetamine with a color to it. Sometimes this is a dealer trying to "label" or brand his or her product or it can be a manufacturing mistake. Therefore, it is true that dealers or makers may add something like color to their product, but not to unwittingly hook kids by making them think it's candy. Color can be the same marketing strategy as the type of wrapping or baggy. Besides, I don't think there is anything you can do to mask the taste of meth as it's very bitter and disgusting.

Although this meth is a myth, methamphetamine is still a very dangerous threat to everyone. There is no immunity to addiction. It is extremely important to talk to kids about dealing with peer pressure, coping strategies, and making responsible decisions about the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Could someone have some of this meth that appears to look like candy and offer it to a child? Sure, just like someone might offer your kid a beer, marijuana, or pills.

This scare also reinforces the concept of not taking candy from strangers. As simple as it seems, this is still a tactic used by many child molesters and kidnappers. It's very important to educate kids to avoid taking candy or drinks from people that they do not know.

From the Join Together website: "Experts say that there's a real possibility that local police are confusing colored meth -- which is relatively common -- with flavored meth. Tom McNamara, a meth trainer and special-projects coordinator for the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force Group, told Join Together that meth made from Sudafed or some generic versions of the drug will have a light-pink color because of the dye used in the pills. Moreover, he said, meth made from anhydrous ammonia treated with GloTell -- a chemical marker designed to discourage thefts -- will be bright pink. The drug also can appear greenish or blue."

EDIT on February 6, 2010: In a recent unpublished comment, I was accused of being a drug dealer posting inaccurate information. Please, read this article carefully as well as the rest of the website. This site is geared toward the ACCURATE education of people about addiction.

Monday, June 22, 2009

No, this time is it.

"This is the last time." It's a common phrase for many addicts. And, in truth, it is probably one of the most genuine statements spoken because the intent behind the words is usually just that one last time. Of course, this isn't to say that some don't lie behind it, but it's not those people I'm talking about. Many addicts really think it's going to be the last one...the last drink, the last high, the last time gambling, the last day of starvation or purging, just the last time.

Sometimes it's hard to be the family member, friend, lover, partner, or any other person who is listening to this line of justification only to have it seem like broken promises. And, they are. Finding a way to set boundaries with the person that you know who is addicted is something that we all have to do to maintain sanity. It's very difficult and feelings will have you wavering.

More to come.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Watch The Cleaner

A junkie who survived, made it out, made it through and is now helping other addicts get clean. Yes, it's only an A&E television series, but it's based on the stories of a real man who helps produce the shows. It is not always a show of happy endings and recovery wrapped up in a bow. I like this because it's real. Of course, I wish happy endings for every addict that tries to crawl out, but damn if we don't have to roll down a lot of hills before standing up. This show is good. Check it out. Warning though, if you are sensitive to seeing paraphernalia and using then make sure you're in a safe place to watch it. Addiction has embedded cues so part of recovery is identifying them and being proactive against the triggers.

The second season starts on Tuesday, the 23rd, but you can also catch up online.

Friday, June 19, 2009

About the Speaking of Addiction Blog

Addiction comes in many forms. Often hand in hand with addiction comes judgment and many other social constructs and emotions. In this blog I'll be exploring many of these things and more. There will be focus on specific drugs and how they affect the brain, but there will never be any pictures of drugs or paraphernalia. While this is an educational and informative site it is a personal belief that the repeated showing of drugs on so many websites do more harm than good. Seeing a picture of cocaine, a meth pipe or a syringe is a violent trigger for many addicts no matter how much time clean we have, so making a blog that is welcoming is a top goal of mine.

If you ever have any questions or a particular topic that you want to hear more about, please comment on any of the posts. I do not yet have an email set up to take "addiction requests", but I want to know what you want to learn. I believe the way out of addiction is through education although even the most educated people continue to use drugs. Education in the form of college and school is not the type of "smarts" it takes to stop or prevent drug use. Relapse prevention at its best will still produce people who keep using drugs, and that is alright. We just try harder. Learning how to educate about addiction without triggering addicts is tricky because someone will be always be triggered.

So, welcome. I'll be getting this page up and running, re-sorting the layout, and getting information on here. Thanks for stopping by.