What Happens When You Smoke Too Much Weed?

When it comes to cannabis, do you realize we’re witnessing history unfold? The prohibition of marijuana will be written about in history books, just like the alcohol prohibition from the early 1900s. Over the past 20 years, we’ve witnessed a lot of progress regarding the national status of weed addiction, and those changes continue to happen and come with some questions.  
  • What are the long-term effects of marijuana? 
  • Can you have a fatal overdose of marijuana? 
  • What are the proven health benefits of marijuana, if any?
  • Is it possible to have a “weed addiction?”
  • Is there a cure for marijuana addiction?
  Anchored Tides Recovery has been helping women struggling with addiction for years. In our experience, these are some of the questions that are commonly asked in a treatment setting. While there is no shortage of questions as we navigate through the developing status of marijuana. There is, however, a shortage of long-term scientific research to have conclusive answers. This article will do our best to answer some of the most commonly asked marijuana-related questions using science. We will educate you on the long and short-term effects of marijuana use, and what you read may shock you.  Before we get into the effects of marijuana use and abuse, it helps first to understand how we got here and the current state of the drug…   Smoking-too-much-weed  

Marijuana Prohibition…

For years we have seen a movement to legalize marijuana that has gained a lot of traction and attention. In 1996 marijuana was first legalized for medical use in the state of California; before this, marijuana was highly illegal across the country, with no explanation given as to why. One thing that was clear, whether it was legal or not, people were still using marijuana. As of 2016, millions of U.S. dollars were being spent annually to keep 2.3 million people incarcerated over marijuana-related crimes.  It was legal to drink alcohol when, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Excessive alcohol use is responsible for more than 95,000 deaths a year.” Meanwhile, there is not a single recorded death in history from a marijuana overdose? It just didn’t make sense. The public demanded some leniency and logic from their government and eventually got what they were asking for.  After California made cannabis medically legal in 1996, other states soon followed. As of 2020, 11 states allow legal recreational use of marijuana, and 47 out of 50 states allow medical use of marijuana in some form. However, marijuana is still technically illegal on a federal level. The morality and the legality of marijuana use in the united states come with many different opinions. Regardless of where you stand, the fact is there is still a lack of long-term scientific research to support or refute marijuana use.   

Lack of Scientific Research Regarding Marijuana? Why?

Before 1996, no research was allowed on the effects, medicinal benefits, dangers, or any other aspect of the drug. The government considered marijuana explicitly to be a dangerous controlled substance and not to be tampered with. Once it became legal for medical use in California, grants were issued to begin conducting research.  Smoking-too-much-weed We understand more now than we did 20 years ago, but we are still learning and making scientific advancements. This research has allowed for the creation of CBD (Cannabidiol), an extracted component of marijuana with no psychoactive effects. Scientists are trying to utilize the medical properties of marijuana without the “getting high” part. Like with marijuana, the data related to CBD is still limited and in the early stages.  We face a clear divide on the topic of marijuana in the United States. Marijuana is a drug; as with all drugs, the common factor is long-term damage. Despite its widespread use, the truth is there are many risks to using marijuana.  

Short-term Effects of Weed Addiction:

There are no recorded deaths related to marijuana overdose; it may not be possible to die due to a pure marijuana overdose. That being said, it would be incredibly irresponsible to think marijuana is not dangerous. Even though there is no evidence of a fatal overdose, many deaths are related to marijuana use. People with pre-existing medical conditions are the ones at the highest risk for short-term marijuana-related issues, such as:   Heart attack: Marijuana increases your heart rate for up to 3 hours after use, so older people and people with any existing cardiovascular issues are at high risk for heart attack.    Breathing problems: Marijuana is typically smoked, which is an irritant to the throat and lungs. There are obvious long-term effects of smoking any substance, but in the short term, someone with asthma or other lung issues may stop breathing after inhaling harsh marijuana smoke.   Choking hazard: THC binds to saliva-producing receptors in your glands and can prevent new saliva production. This is referred to as “cottonmouth” among users. Cottonmouth can make it difficult to swallow or breathe; when a person has a hard time swallowing or breathing, this also tends to make them panic, possibly to the point of losing consciousness.    Disorientation: Marijuana is an intoxicant, so it does disorient your senses. This makes you more likely to have some form of accident. You are at higher risk for a car accident or possibly falling while disoriented.      Psychosis: There are many ways to ingest marijuana. A common occurrence is when someone takes an edible form of marijuana and ends up eating too much. This can result in panic attacks or even psychosis. The effects after consuming an edible can last for 6-12 hours. Marijuana has also been found to awaken some resting mental health issues, such as schizophrenia. If you have schizophrenia but never showed any symptoms, marijuana could trigger it.   

Long-term Effects of Smoking too Much Weed:

Although people with pre-existing medical conditions are at higher risk for short-term issues, nobody is safe from the long-term effects of marijuana abuse.  The more you use marijuana, the more tolerance you build up, and you feel less high and more “normal.” Eventually, chronic users find themselves getting high just to perform everyday functions like; sleeping, laughing, or finding motivation.   Smoking-too-much-weed  

Dependence

While marijuana isn’t chemically addictive, it is still possible to have a weed addiction. Habitual use will increase your tolerance for the drug’s effects and cause your mind to become dependent on its use. This leads to a host of other issues, such as:
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Laziness
 

Cancer

For certain types of cancer, A doctor may prescribe marijuana to help ease some of the chemotherapy symptoms and improve life quality. Ironically, smoking marijuana will put you at a significantly higher risk to develop certain cancers, such as:
  • Lung
  • Throat 
  • Mouth
 

Inhaled Illnesses

Aside from lung cancer, the inhalation of marijuana smoke will also contribute to other smoking-related issues, such as: 
  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • Chronic cough
  • Halitosis (Sour breath)
 

Is There a Cure for Marijuana Addiction?

There is no simple cure for marijuana addiction, although sobriety is attainable through a combination of counseling and treatment at a recovery center.  Marijuana is not considered to be a “hard drug,” so marijuana addiction is often overlooked, but the long and short-term effects and risks you face by using this drug are apparent. Once use becomes abuse, then you are facing more long-term risks. The prolonged exposure to the effect of the drug can wreak havoc on your mental health, while the long-term effects of common ways to administer the drug bring potentially fatal physical risks.  Anchored Tides Recovery believes some important aspects of overcoming cannabis addiction are environment, counseling, and support. We provide a gender-specific climate for women to overcome addiction and an all-female support group to help with cravings and moments of weakness. If you or someone you know is struggling with marijuana addiction, contact us to take the first steps towards a healthier life. 

Co-Occurring Disorder: Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

co-occuring-disorder-treatment-for-substance-use-disorders
co-occuring-disorder-treatment-for-substance-use-disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders

Individuals who struggle with addiction or substance use disorders and mental health disorders are diagnosed with co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses. A dual diagnosis is an approach that allows healthcare providers to treat the whole person and not solely their addiction. This has shown to be incredibly beneficial as substance use and mental illness are often closely related. Lets talk about some treatment for co-occuring disorders.  

Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder is diagnosed when a person’s use of alcohol or illegal drugs leads to severe mental and physical health issues. This can result in problems at work, school, or home and ruin close relationships with family and friends.  Substance use disorder often occurs with mental health issues such as depression, attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other behavioral illnesses. It is difficult to determine if the substance use caused the mental illness or the other way around in many cases. In either case, substance use cannot be treated without considering cognitive and behavioral health disruptions.  

What does substance use disorder include?

A substance use disorder includes:
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Alcohol or drug dependence
Co-occurring disorders can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of illicit drug abuse or addiction and mental illness may mask one another, making it difficult to identify what a person is actually struggling with. Often, individuals with mental health problems do not discuss their drug use with mental health professionals because they do not think it is related to their illness. This can increase the amount of time it takes to get to a correct diagnosis. It is not uncommon for people struggling with their mental health to turn to drug use. Anxious people may take drugs to feel calm, and depressed people may take drugs to numb the pain. In addition to addressing the mental health problem, alcohol or other medications often prevent a person from developing successful coping skills like maintaining satisfying relationships and feeling happy with themselves. It is also important to know how drugs and alcohol impact medicines prescribed for mental illness. Dru and alcohol use, in short, makes mental health conditions worse when not properly disclosed to your healthcare provider. People with co-occurring disorders can stop using alcohol or other substances, but as symptoms of their mental health disorders continue, they may face difficulties. To remedy both conditions, patients need a care team with an awareness of the entire patient history and experience in treatment for co-occuring disorders.    co-occuring-disorder-treatment-for-substance-use-disorders  

Substance Abuse & Addiction

Though it is a fine line, some people may use drugs without becoming addicted. Addiction begins with compulsive behaviors to seek out and use drugs with little regard for the consequences. The increased drug use leads to drug abuse where a person continues to use more of a substance to chase the same high. The increased volume of drug consumption results in long-lasting changes in the brain. Some of these changes are irreversible and permanent.  Exposure to drugs in social settings is often where drug use begins. It may also start with misusing a valid prescription ordered by a doctor. As the person becomes accustomed to the feeling of using drugs, they increase the amount and the frequency in which they operate. This leads to experimenting with and abusing different drugs. The risk of addiction varies according to the substance (controlled or illegal) and how easily you become addicted. Some medicines have a greater risk and induce dependence more quickly than others, such as opioid painkillers. Attempts to stop drug use abruptly may cause intense cravings, make you feel physically ill (withdrawal symptoms), and be dangerous if not properly supervised.  

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Previously, in the United States, opioid and alcohol abuse treatment was distinct from mental health treatments because there was not a broad understanding of co-occurring conditions. Care was administered using drastically different clinical methods at various facilities. Consequently, many individuals with depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, treatment for co-occuring disorders and other severe conditions never received a treatment plan for their substance abuse problems.  Treating only one condition will not cause the other to change immediately, and a siloed treatment approach will not give you lasting results. Both conditions must be treated simultaneously, in the same place, by the same care team to be successful. This is a form of integrated cognitive behavioral therapy, and it is highly effective. About 7 million people who have received treatment for mental health still suffer from opioid or alcohol abuse. The secret to shielding this population from poverty, disease, loneliness, incarceration, and homelessness is integrated care for co-occurring disorders. Are you someone who is looking to help your daughter, mother, sister, or friend? Are you looking for substance abuse treatment options and support groups specifically for women? Join us at the women-only treatment center, Anchored Tides Recovery. Call us today at 1-866-524-6014 and get your loved one on the road to recovery.

Understanding Addiction – Taking Care of Your Mental Health When a Loved One is Battling Addiction

taking-care-of-your-mental-health
taking-care-of-your-mental-health
Addiction is a chronic disease that affects all aspects of a person’s life, including their relationships, career, health, family dynamics, and psychological well-being. When a loved one struggles with the disease of addiction, you may find yourself struggling as well. Anchored Tides Recovery has 20+ years of experience of understanding addiction, an all-female staff, and an all-female client base. Many generations of women find their path to recovery with our treatment options. We have also learned some methods of coping with the challenges of loving someone who is struggling with addiction.    Here is some vital information to keep in mind to avoid losing your mind…  

Help Yourself First

It is natural to be ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help your loved one in their time of need, especially if you are a parent. Believe it or not, this is often detrimental to their process and does more harm than good. Trying to be the hero who saves the day can come at the cost of your relationships, finances, physical health, and sanity. The road to recovery is a long and personal process. When you try to involve yourself too much, it can have an adverse effect. You may end up pushing the person further away or even trigger drug abuse to cope. Accepting that a loved one has an alcohol or drug problem is extremely difficult. Until the person is ready to take the first step, you cannot do much to help them.   

Taking the First Step to Overcome Drug Addiction

For many people trapped in the vicious cycle of drug addiction, the most challenging step toward recovery is the very first one. They have to decide on their own that they want help. This concept is crucial to understand. You can not force a person to get help if they’re not ready to admit they have a problem. It can be very frustrating to be willing to do anything to help someone but have your efforts yield no results because that person isn’t ready to accept your help. For this reason, it’s essential just to make sure you’re focusing on your mental health problems and not enabling them further. People with an addictive behavior may feel uncertain about whether they’re ready to attend treatment facilities. You need to understanding addiction and know that strong emotions such as anger, shame, guilt, depression, and anxiety usually come along with the thought of needing help. Usually, a person needs to hit their own personal version of “rock bottom” before they even admit they need help. Hitting rock bottom is personal. For some users, this part of the journey may take a long time to happen or may not ever happen at all.  

Raising the Bottom

“Raising the Bottom” is a term that describes helping a person hit their version of rock bottom sooner. It requires a lot of discipline and strength, but many counselors agree that understanding addiction may be the best way to help someone who isn’t ready to admit they need help. Your role in raising the bottom is to stop any enabling behaviors and make it so their drug habit becomes inconvenient.    Here are some examples of “Raising the Bottom.”
  • Cutting them off financially.
  • If they’re using drugs in your house, tell them they can’t stay there anymore.
  • Call the authorities if you find them using drugs. 
  To many, this is considered “tough love,” which makes it difficult to do when you care about someone. It helps to change your mentality and keep in mind the long-term goals of raising the bottom. Making it harder for them to live comfortably with their choices does not mean you do not love them. The more difficult it is for them to live this lifestyle, the more likely it will be that they come around to the idea of accepting help.  

Is Addiction A Family Disease?

Here are some reasons why addiction is considered a “family disease”:  
  1.  Addiction’s impact extends to the entire family. When one family member struggles with substance abuse, it can negatively affect everybody else who cares about them. Family and friends may get stuck in a cycle of trying to fix the person and then feel resentful when they see no results or see that their efforts are not appreciated.
  2. Mental health conditions, such as addiction, are hereditary. According to a study by the American Psychological Association (APA), more than half a person’s susceptibility to drugs and alcohol addiction is linked to genetics.
  3. Families play a large role in the drug rehabilitation process. Spouses, parents, children, siblings, and friends need to forgive past mistakes and be empathetic towards the current efforts. Empathy will help you to provide the love and support they need to make progress.
taking-care-of-your-mental-health

Be Patient and Understanding

The road to recovery can be a long and complicated process, both for the person in treatment and for the people around them. They may try and fail multiple times. They will have some good days and some bad days. Don’t assume that a good day means they’re “cured,” and try not to get frustrated if a string of bad days makes it seem like they will never recover. Just remember always to prioritize your own mental health no matter where they are in their recovery process. Don’t enable or do anything to help facilitate their drug use. You can not help someone who is not ready to accept help. You are not responsible for their sobriety, but you are responsible for your well-being.     Have you found your mental health being affected by a loved one who struggles with drug or alcohol addiction? You are not alone; We are here to help you. At Anchored Tides Recovery Center, we always recommend family members to take part in our family programs. Once the client has completed drug addiction treatment, we recommend the family continue working with support programs to better learn about relapse conditions and understanding addiction. Call us today to get started on the road to recovery and addiction-free life. We will educate you on what the process looks like to begin a drug addiction treatment and what is needed to support your loved ones.

Common Triggers for Relapsing on Drugs and Alcohol

common-triggers-for-relapse-on-drugs-and-alcohols
common-triggers-for-relapse-on-drugs-and-alcohols
Relapse is an expected part of the cycle of addiction. It doesn’t matter what type of drug you’re addicted to; some treatment programs just believe you will inevitably fail and face a drug relapse. – “It’s just part of the cycle.”   Is this a crude generalization or a harsh truth? It’s a very controversial idea among treatment facilities and counselors to believe that an addict can ever fully overcome addiction. A significant amount of people struggle with substance abuse, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same. Some of the more popular treatment programs, like AA, subscribe to the belief that addiction is something that can never be cured – you are “in recovery” for life. The idea that people will carry addiction with them forever, and that the process of being “in recovery” never ends, helps many people achieve long-term sobriety; it’s an idea that may be dangerous to challenge.    If you are looking to quit your alcohol and drug addiction but fear that you might relapse and fall into the vicious cycle of addiction again, you are not alone. Statistically, it’s common for people who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions to relapse at some point during recovery. Unfortunately, drug relapse rates for individuals who leave rehab are relatively high. According to the latest data from a study at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 – 60% of people treated for substance use disorders will relapse at some point.   

Why do I Relapse After Staying Sober?

A trigger can be anything that may cause you to drink or use drugs following a period of sobriety; relationships, emotions, thoughts, habits, physical illness, stress, and lack of sleep, among many other things.  While some common triggers of relapse are obvious — like being around other people who are using drugs and alcohol — others are less straightforward, and you may not be aware of the signs of relapsing at times. It is essential to understand what might trigger you to relapse and learn healthy coping mechanisms when triggered.  

What Are The Most Common Relapse Triggers?

Here is a list of 10 common triggers that contribute to drug relapse:  

Stress

Stress causes significant adverse effects on the mind and body. When a person becomes stressed out, their mind goes into a state of “wanting” for the drug or alcohol during stressful situations—Especially if the substance was the person’s primary coping mechanism.   

Exposure to Alcohol or Drugs

There is a nostalgic aspect of drug use that can be particularly triggering. Being in an environment where there is drug use might be setting yourself up to fail. The sight, smell, or even sound of a drug being used could cause you to get flashbacks of your old habits. Try to remove yourself from any environments that will cause temptation.   

Emotions (High and Low)

Perceived negative emotions like sadness, depression, guilt, loneliness, and anger can lead to emotional relapse. People often use drugs or alcohol to gain temporary relief from these feelings, which can easily lead a person back to addictive behaviors. Experiencing these emotions is normal and an essential aspect of recovery (and life) – but they are uncomfortable. Learning how to manage your feelings is an integral part of recovery (and life, again) and can help to avoid the risk of relapse.  

People or Places Associated with Addiction

Seeing an old friend you used to do drugs with can cause you to develop an urge or craving to use again. Likewise, certain places that remind you of your addiction can be triggering. Some people do get dragged down by the company they decide to keep. It’s hard to do, but sometimes it’s best to find new friends and surround yourself with people who will be a good influence.   

Special Events of Celebration

Festive life events such as holidays, birthdays, and graduations are often overlooked as relapse triggers. On the other hand, the anniversary of a loved one’s death or a funeral may stir up thoughts and emotions that can lead to substance use and trigger thoughts of getting back to your drug of choice. Be careful not to let the celebrations turn into regrets.  

Mental or Physical Illness

Coexisting mental disorders are common with substance use disorder, and they make the struggle of addiction more difficult. Depression, anxiety, and any other underlying mental illnesses can feel overwhelming and may make you consider self-medicating for temporary relief. Physical conditions and pain can also put you at risk for relapsing, as your body is stressed and may want to numb the pain by taking drugs. This pain also relates to drug withdrawal and the extreme discomfort that comes with it. For instance, an alcoholic for an alcoholic who stops drinking, the effects of alcohol create physical dependence, and their body literally depends on alcohol for it to function correctly. Withdrawing from alcohol can be intensely uncomfortable, even fatal, and a person may be tempted just to drink, so they don’t have to deal with it or to cope with the pain.  

Poor Self-Care

Self-care is an integral part of the addiction recovery process. Poor self-care sends messages to your brain that you don’t care about your wellbeing and can trigger a relapse. You need to engage in self-care like showering, exercise, meditating, and having a proper sleep regimen to support your mental wellness in recovery and improve life quality.  

Relationships and Intimacy

In the early stages of recovery, it’s recommended not to get involved in a relationship until you are stable; this could take a year or so. Relationships are hard work and come with stress, taking  away focus from creating your sobriety. A break up with your new partner could lead you back to emotional stress that can put you at risk for relapse.  

Boredom and Social Isolation

Boredom and social isolation are significant reasons for relapse in early recovery. When you are bored or isolated, you are left with your thoughts and emotions, which you often do not want to hear. The more you become socially isolated, the easier it is to make sense of drug or alcohol use to yourself. Negative feelings are a part of everyday life; it’s essential not to let them get hold of you.   

Overconfidence

Sometimes people who are new to sobriety have a newfound pride that they will never use alcohol or drugs ever again, no matter what. Having self-confidence is great, but becoming overconfident can put you in risky situations. All it takes is one bad decision, and that confidence will turn into shame.    

You are Not Alone; We are Here to Help!

Relapse doesn’t make you a failure. We fall, and we pick ourselves back up. Learning to recognize triggers, getting help from professionals, seeking treatment, and building a support network are valuable tools in preventing relapse. Make a relapse prevention plan and stick to it! For more information on addiction treatment, therapy, and mental health, please contact us. Mindfulness-based relapse prevention is essential for people in recovery. Anchored Tides Recovery center offers various treatment options to deal with stages of relapse.   

A Guide to Success: Planning an Intervention

common-mistakes-that-families-make
common-mistakes-that-families-make
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “over 23 million adults in the United States struggle with drug addiction at some point in their lives” That’s more than 10% of American adults! Of the people who struggle with addiction, 75% report never receiving any drug addiction treatment. It’s hard to admit when you need help. While you’re using drugs, you may not even realize the pain and damage you’re causing to your family and friends. For a person struggling with drug addiction, life in recovery often beings with planning an Intervention.    Anchored Tides Recovery has 20+ years of combined experience helping women take steps towards a life in recovery. In our experience, we know that many times the road begins with a formal intervention. This blog will go over some tips and common mistakes made when it comes to interventions for substance abuse. An intervention is a helpful and sometimes necessary step in the healing process, but there can be negative consequences if you do not approach the situation properly.   If you’re wondering how to stage an intervention, an excellent place to start is by understanding the process of a successful intervention, and clearly defining the primary goal.  

What is an Intervention?

A typical intervention for an addict is an orchestrated attempt by a support group – usually close friends or family members – to convince someone to seek professional help for drug or alcohol dependence. Loved ones have a chance to share their emotions and address personal experiences regarding how the addicted person’s drug use has affected them. Once their side of the story is shared, they have the opportunity to show encouragement and support for their loved one to seek help. common-mistakes-that-families-make The adverse consequences of substance abuse are well-known, yet a person trapped in the vicious cycle of addiction does not realize it until it’s too late. Drug dependence affects the quality of your life, induces mental health issues, causes withdrawal symptoms, and even suicidal behavior. Under the influence of drugs, a person loses the will to reconstruct their lives. At this stage, you may need to step in for crisis intervention and save your loved ones from a handicapped life of substance abuse.   There has been an increase of interventions occurring in recent years due to shows like Dr. Phil or Intervention on A&E. The reason these segments are so popular on television is that an intervention is usually a dramatic and emotional experience. Despite Hollywood’s attention, walking in on an intervention for substance use disorder might be a drug user’s worst nightmare. Interventions are often met with resistance and hostility, bringing us to #1 on our list to approach interventions properly and have a clear plan of action.  

Get Help From a Professional Interventionist

Trying to hold an intervention without first seeking professional help is a common mistake. There are many rehabilitation programs offered at various treatment centers that employ intervention specialists to aid you in the process. They act as a host to the event and make sure that everything is done correctly. When appropriately handled, an intervention should remain constructive towards the ultimate goal of supporting the addict’s health and recovery from substance abuse. There is a cost involved in hiring professional treatment providers. Still, this cost is worth it because this step is often the difference between your loved one storming out or your loved one accepting help.  Substance abuse behavior brings various health issues, and sometimes people involved in the intervention have held on to a lot of frustration and anger. A moderator with no emotional attachment can make sure that these emotions get appropriately expressed. If they aren’t, then you may trigger an altercation, resistance, or even violence. A professional moderator has enough experience to control the situation before it escalates into something destructive. The sensitive nature of the emotions involved in the treatment process leads us to our next tip for success on the road to recovery.  

Choose The Intervention Team Carefully

An intervention is a group effort. If you are organizing an intervention for an addict, you will have to determine the form of treatment and the right people to invite to join. You want to avoid involving too many people because you run the risk of intimidating or overwhelming the person. A small intervention team of 4 to 8 people who are closest to the person and have been affected the most is best.  The ideal attendee is someone whose opinions matter the most to the addict, someone they love and respect, who has also personally been affected by their addictive behaviors.  You may know an attendee who seems ideal in some cases, but they are harboring resentment in a negative or unhealthy way. If you think this person will have too difficult a time expressing their emotions constructively and calmly, it may be best not to include them. Tell them there will be an intervention but let them know you think it would be best for them not to be involved in the process just yet. Once you have the right group of people for participation in treatment for substance abuse, you’re ready for the next step.  

Rehearse

There may only be one opportunity to do the intervention the right way. Since it is fragile and volatile by nature, your best chance for success comes from being fully prepared. People under the effects of drugs are often reluctant to the idea of a treatment program because they don’t want to appear vulnerable and weak.  common-mistakes-that-families-make Here are a few aspects of going over in your rehearsal:
  • Understand their patterns of behavior
  • The structure and type of intervention
  • Decide who will speak and when
  • Take turns practicing what you will say.
  • Discuss a plan of how you will get your addicted loved one to the intervention
  • Pick a day and time for the actual intervention. 
  • What is the goal after the intervention?
  Once you’ve rehearsed how the intervention should ideally go, there is one last important piece of the puzzle before you move forward.  

Have a Plan of Action

Change is necessary to keep the intervention on track. You can’t simply go back to life as usual in the end. Experience shows that the more time that passes after an intervention, the less effective the intervention will be—so having a plan and being ready to take steps toward life in recovery immediately after the intervention is the last critical step. Planning out what comes immediately after the intervention is another aspect in which hiring intervention specialists may show added value. A professional interventionist may utilize connections in the industry to help move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible to treat substance abuse and underlying mental health disorders. Having a bag packed with the essential items and a bed at a residential inpatient facility, or medically assisted detox program are extremely helpful ways to follow up with the intervention.    Enough is Enough Getting through to a loved one who is battling drug and alcohol addiction can be frustrating. If you feel like you’ve tried everything, but nothing is working, an intervention may guide your loved one to accept help. Intervention for substance abuse is a very emotional and delicate process. It may be difficult initially, but it could be the best thing for them in the long term. Drug and alcohol abuse have devoured the lives of so many brilliant people. Anchored Tides Recovery believes that the right environment for substance abuse treatment is one crucial factor of the recovery process. We believe in the concept of “Treatment for women, by women.” so we’ve created a gender-specific environment for women to be able to thrive. If your loved one decides after their intervention that they think they’d be comfortable taking the path to recovery in a female-only environment. We provide formal treatment and encourage positive action in a community setting to feel alienated.    Contact Us, and one of our medical professionals will talk to you about various treatment plans and intervention options. Our rehabilitation center provides a range of treatment options that treat substance abuse and ensure your abstinence from alcohol and drugs. Healing starts here.

The Impact of Heroin Addiction on Mothers and Children

babies-born-to-heroin-addicted-mothers
babies-born-to-heroin-addicted-mothers
Many people don’t realize how their personal choices impact the people around them. In treatment settings, we have seen families destroyed by addiction; the victims are not always the people who are dealing with the illness. The victims become the loved ones who are most vulnerable. Addiction stems from many sources. Growing up in a toxic environment, sexual trauma, emotional abuse, genetics, peer pressure, etc. For many people, addiction is just in their blood. But there needs to be a catalyst event to turn addictive personalities into people with substance use disorder.  How come so many people get hooked on heroin? The risks and dangers are well known; it’s common knowledge that heroin ruins lives.  What leads people to take that first step to heroin addiction, then?   

The Opioid Epidemic 

Believe it or not, Medical Doctors (MD) are often the cause for most heroin addictions. A car accident, fall, or medical procedure leaves a person in a lot of pain; a doctor then will prescribe an opiate medication to make them comfortable.  The medicine may do its job and take the pain away, but what happens next?  Opiates are highly effective and highly addictive; for this reason, they only get prescribed in limited amounts. It doesn’t take long for your body to become addicted to an opiate. You can quickly develop a dependence, and opiates are known to have some of the most severe withdrawal symptoms of any drug.  You may finish the pills you were prescribed but still be in pain. Now you’re also dealing with extreme discomfort from opiate withdrawal. The combination of pain and extreme discomfort will often cause a person to try to get more pills, legally or illegally.  Pain pills are difficult to come by, and without a prescription, they can be costly. These obstacles result in people turning to heroin. Heroin is still an opiate, so it has many of the same effects, but it’s a lot cheaper and easier to get. Who knew “back pain” would lead to so many people snorting and injecting heroin?   

Heroin Use in Pregnancy

In 2019, about %7 of pregnant women reported using prescription opioid pain relievers. Of those, 1 out of 5 reported abuse (meaning they got them from a source other than a medical supplier or used them for reasons other than pain relief.) Women face unique issues when it comes to addiction and substance abuse. Studies  show that women who use drugs can have problems related to: 
  • Hormones
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Fertility
  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding 
  • Menopause
  Issues become more complicated when the user is pregnant. Heroin use in pregnancy can increase the risk of: 
  • Miscarriage 
  • Migraines
  • Seizures 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Maternal death
  Those are only the effects of the mother. Opiate abuse while pregnant, for unborn babies, has been linked to:   Basically, babies born to heroin-addicted mothers are babies born addicted to heroin.   

Babies born addicted to Heroin?

Just like adults, babies can have drug dependencies. While pregnant, the fetus shares the mother’s internal resources. If a mother is putting heroin into her bloodstream, the baby is getting heroin into their bloodstream too. After the baby is born, it may experience withdrawal symptoms.  Your baby will need to stay in the hospital for five to seven days after being born so the medical staff can monitor it for withdrawal symptoms (NAS). The severity of a newborn child’s withdrawal symptoms depends on the length and frequency of the mother’s drug use and if the child was delivered prematurely.   

Withdrawal Symptoms on Babies Born to Heroin-Addicted Mothers

Symptoms of drug withdrawal in a newborn can develop immediately or up to two weeks after birth and can include:
  • Blotchy skin coloring
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability / excessive or high-pitched crying
  • Abnormal sucking reflex
  • Fever 
  • Seizures
  • Hyperactive reflexes
  • Stuffy nose and sneezing
  • Slow weight gain
  • Sweating 
  • Trembling
  • Vomiting
  Defects of babies born to heroin-addicted mothers could be long-term or even fatal:
  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Small head circumference
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  When you are pregnant, treatment aims to mitigate withdrawal symptoms, as they can be harmful to your baby. Methadone or Buprenorphine can help ease symptoms, but your baby may still be born experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Children born to mothers who use heroin beyond the first trimester have a 12x greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) than those unexposed or only exposed in the first trimester of pregnancy. You have to be extremely careful about your health and well-being during pregnancy,  not just to protect your life but the other life inside of you.   

Growing up with a heroin-addicted mother

When you are a Mother with a heroin addiction, the roles end up being switched. Your child may be the one who has to take care of you. Children are often manipulated by their mothers when addiction is a factor. They can be asked to get drugs, steal, lie, and cover-up. The sad part is, they think they are helping. They may bear witness to some very traumatic events. They call 911 when you are lying on the ground unresponsive. They cry because they thought that was going to be the last time they saw you. They miss you when you are in rehab. They feel like they are to blame when you relapse. They lose trust and faith in you.  

Effects

What does this pattern of behavior do to this child? 
  • Disappointment
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional trauma 
  • Physical trauma
  • Curiosity 
Amongst all the negative hurt feelings, there is also a sense of exploration and experimentation. Frequently, behavior that is seen is repeated. That is why there is no surprise that children of heroin-addicted mothers are likely to develop addictions or other mental health issues of their own.  

Breaking the Cycle

Loving someone and who is addicted to heroin is challenging. People need to accept help, and you can’t do it for them. You can still love someone without enabling them. Create boundaries, provide resources, say “no” to any requests that support drug use, and use available resources for yourself. Prioritizing your own mental health is critical. If you don’t, the whole family suffers, and ultimately more damage can be done. If you do not have your health or sanity, how can you show strength for the one who needs support? Do you know someone who suffers from heroin addiction?  Are you that Mother or child?  Being open and talking can help. Many times we bottle up our feelings when we need to express them and embrace them. Anchored Tides believes that sharing your experiences in the right environment encourages growth, so we created a gender-specific place where women can heal. We’re not your typical women’s treatment program. Formed in 2016, we offer women struggling with substance abuse and mental illness a haven at our Huntington Beach drug rehab in Southern California. Take a tour of our boutique women’s addiction treatment center in Orange County. Don’t wait any longer. Call us to talk to a healthcare professional.