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Things You Would Only Understand if You Have a Substance Abuse Disorder

Things You Would Only Understand if You Have a Substance Abuse Disorder

If you or someone you love suffers from a substance abuse disorder, you are definitely not alone. As a matter of fact, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (PFDK), over 200 million people use drugs globally.  But it is a complicated and difficult disease. Here are some things that you only truly understand if you have a substance abuse disorder:

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    You Can Have Problems with More than Just Alcohol and Drugs

    Use of drugs or alcohol is usually secondary to other serious chronic conditions or mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.  This can complicate the treatment process because these other health issues must be treated in order to help treat the addiction itself.  This is why rehabilitation often includes emotional counselling.

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    You did not Become an Addict Overnight

    Addiction is not a problem that pops up suddenly: often, it comes on slowly over a period of time.  Often, it happens as you build up a tolerance to a certain drug and eventually need more and more of it to get the same effect. Also, you can sometimes go from using “milder” drugs like alcohol or marijuana and then eventually go on to harder drugs such as cocaine or heroin.

    You have Many Reasons for Using

    The stereotype is that many drug abusers use just for the fun of it or to entertain themselves or for the pleasure of getting high. While some people do use recreationally, the reasons that lie behind use are often much more complicated.  You can use in order to help deal with stress or anxiety, to cope with traumatic life experiences or even to help you study better, lose weight or perform better in sports. This variety of reasons makes the treatment for complicated.

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      You Feel Like Your Life Centers Around Your Habit

      If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, you often begin to feel like your entire life centers around your habit. Things that you enjoyed before — like sports or school or just being with friends or family — can suffer from your habit, but you feel like you will never be able to give it up even if it hurts the ones you love. Sometimes, all you can think about is where you can get your next hit.

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        You Feel Ashamed and Guilty — but Don’t Feel Like You can Quit

        When you abuse alcohol or drugs, this behavior can often go along with feelings of guilt or shame — but these feelings aren’t enough to make you stop your habit.  They can, however, be a source of great emotional distress — and this, in turn, can make the problem even worse.

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        You Don’t Know if You Can Handle Rehab

        While rehabilitation is the best way to break an addiction, it is also an incredibly stressful process, both emotionally and physically. One of the most difficult parts is the detoxification process, which seeks to clean the body of the drugs. During this process, the body reacts to the withdrawal of substances it has become used to and this reaction can be severe and involve reactions like headaches and body aches, joint pain, restlessness, sleep and appetite disturbances, nausea and vomiting and even more severe symptoms like seizures, hallucinations and even heart attacks or strokes.  This is why the process needs to take place under medical supervision.

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          You are Putting Your Body at Serious Risk

          Even apart from the potential for a fatal overdose, you are putting your body at serious risk when you use drugs, especially over a long period of time.  Drugs can damage the heart and kidneys as well as the brain and other parts of the central nervous system. It can also lead to malnutrition, which in turn can cause secondary problems like anemia or osteoporosis. Knowing this, however, is not always enough motivation to seek help.

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          In short, when you have a substance abuse disorder, you are suffering from a complicated disease with many potential causes — as well as many potential dangers, both emotional and physical. The good news is that rehab, with its combination of physical, emotional and mental treatment, can help you detoxify, get clean and stay clean in order to get back to a normal, healthy life.

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          Brian Wu

          Health Writer, Author

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          Last Updated on December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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