The Dangers of Prescription Pills

dangers of prescription pills

Prescription pills had always been a threat to all – even before the recent opioid epidemic. Yes, they are safe for people who have prescriptions for them and take them as prescribed. However, prescriptions can easily be abused and pills also can be purchased illegally. This is extremely dangerous and can even be life threatening. Today, Anchored Tides Recovery would like to spend some time highlighting the dangers of prescription pills. 

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, NCDAS, 53 million Americans had a case of drug abuse in 2018. And of the lot, prescription pills accounted for a significant 30%. Now, you see that prescription pills misuse and abuse poses a lot of health risk to everyone. With that said, what are those risks?

Before we discuss the risks of misusing or abusing prescription pills, let’s talk about the “what” and “why.”

What Are Addictive Prescription Pills?

Ordinarily, prescription pills are not necessarily meant to be addictive. The common prescription drugs fall into three categories, namely:

  •  Opioids
  •  Depressants
  •  Stimulants

As the name suggests, these pills are prescribed to people with certain health conditions. And the three major health conditions include pains, anxiety disorders, and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

Even to “the administered,” doctors only prescribe the drugs under strict conditions and often as a last resort because they are strong medications. 

Why Do People Misuse or Abuse Prescription Pills?

People abuse prescription pills for various reasons. Some do so for fun (to get high), and others may start to build a tolerance to their prescription, and need to take more to feel the same effects.

Others may abuse prescription pills in the bid to study better, lose weight, or keep fit. Whatever reason you have for misusing or abusing prescription medication, they all often face the same complications listed below:

Risks Associated With Prescription Pills Addiction

 

  • Loss of Memory

 

Memory loss is often associated with depressants. Depressants generally increase the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. And that explains why it treats anxiety.

However, high levels of GABA lower brain activity. In the event of depressant abuse, your brain will then stimulate more GABA. That would eventually result in memory loss and a lack of concentration.

What’s worse is that if you suddenly stop taking depressants after a long period of use, you might experience life-threatening withdrawal seizures.

 

  • Respiratory Complications

 

Opioids are responsible for respiratory challenges in prescription pills’ abusers. They can indeed help manage pain under a doctor’s supervision.

Nevertheless, at the slightest overdose, you can experience life-endangering breathing difficulties. It is even worse when you combine opioids with alcohol.

In addition to breathing problems, opioids deteriorate sleep patterns. Over time, your immune system suffers from your misuse or overdose of opioids.

 

  • Paranoia

 

Prescription medications generally affect the internal workings of the brain. Put simply; they disrupt how the brain cells send and receive information.

In particular, they (opioids and stimulants) affect the brain’s reward sequences. As such, you get high and joyous when you take. But when you don’t use these pills, you start showing paranoia tendencies.

Stimulants especially can make you paranoid, and short doses make abusers go aggressive and withdraw.

 

  • Organ Damage and Failure

 

Prescription pills can cause heart-related problems such as collapsed veins and eventual heart failure. For starters, the medications are strong. And for that reason, the heart starts experiencing abnormal heartbeat rates.

Another organ often affected by prescription medications are the liver and kidney. These pills often make your liver and kidney go on overdrive. In other words, the two organs require more work to digest the substances in opioids, particularly.

How Anchored Tides Recovery Can Help

In the end, whatever complications or risks you face for abusing any prescription drug, there is hope. It’s never too late to get help, and you don’t have to live a life abusing prescription pills. We can help you at Anchored Tides Recovery.

Our range of treatment services for women includes partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and other outpatient programs. Most importantly, we have some of the best guides to help you navigate your addiction! Trust us, and get help today!

5 Ways Substance Abuse Impacts Women

substance abuse among women

Women struggling with substance use disorders face a set of distinctive issues that must be addressed, in order to provide women with the highest chance of recovery. In past decades, most research on substance abuse focused on men. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 9.4 percent of all adult men in the US were considered to have alcohol use disorder (AUD) compared to only 4.7 percent of women. That gap is closing steadily, and we must find effective ways to treat women that can meet all of their needs. To do so we must acknowledge that women tend to have different experiences and circumstances unknown to men, that impact their decisions to use substances. In this blog Anchored Tides Recovery will discuss 5 ways that addiction impacts women specifically. By gaining insight into the struggle’s women face, you may be better equipped to change the outcome of your current situation or provide help to a loved one in need. 

Biological Factors

Men and women have different body types! According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, scientists who study substance use have discovered that women who use drugs can have issues related to hormones, menstrual cycle, fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. These issues may relate to an individual’s stress, fatigue, and chronic pain; influencing their decision to use alcohol and substances as a way to self-medicate. In regards specifically to alcohol, women face natural biological differences that lead them to developing dependence on alcohol more quickly. Women tend to weigh less than men and naturally a woman’s body contains less water and more fatty tissue. While water dilutes alcohol, fat retains it, putting a woman’s organs at greater exposure. Alcohol-related problems such as brain atrophy or liver damage occur more quickly and at a greater rate in women than in men. Drinking also carries a higher risk of breast cancer in some women. In regard to stimulant use, a woman’s hormones heighten the phenomenon of craving due to changes during the menstrual cycle and hormone production. Studies suggest that estrogen impacts the brain’s dopamine “reward effects” when taking stimulants, resulting in women becoming addicted to these substances faster than men. Women are at a greater risk of physical health issues when abusing substances. 

 

Sociological Factors

Women face a unique set of issues around addiction resulting from societal pressures. These include gender specific addiction stigma, relationship dynamics, childcare responsibilities, career pressure, and weight. In today’s society women experience many demands from the beauty industry to look a certain way. Many women turn to substances to lose weight to meet a desired image. Although it is normal to experience stress within a career, many women lack the tools and skills to be able to use their voice to meet their needs within the workplace, resulting in the use of substances to alleviate stress. In relationships, women might use substances to impress men or to break stereotypes that women cannot handle the use of substances. The pressure’s women face on a daily basis from their expected role in their community may be a reason why some turn to substance use.

 

Mental Illness and Addiction

Women are strikingly more likely than men to suffer from mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The discomfort of symptoms that these illnesses cause, can lead women to using substances as a way to self-medicate. There also exists a strong connection between eating disorders and drug abuse. Women that struggle with both substance abuse and mental health disorders have what can be referred to as a “dual- diagnosis” or having a “co-occurring” disorder. The statistics of women as victims of rape and sexual assault are much higher than that of men, resulting in increased symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in those seeking treatment. 

substance abuse among women

Motherhood and Addiction

According to a study done by Caron, the number one contributing factor to a woman’s addiction is stress or anxiety related to motherhood, with 49% of women relating to this statement. Over 30% of women were reluctant to seek treatment because they were worried about leaving their families. Raising children can be stressful and demanding. Many mothers have unique issues related to their situation such as low self-esteem, unhappy relationships, the pressure of having to do it all, and a lack of purpose. This holds true even more so for single moms with a lack of support. Many moms will turn to stimulants to keep their energy levels up. Others will use opioids and benzos to relax and unwind. If you are a mother or know of a mother that needs help, you are not alone. There is no need to be consumed in shame or fear. Mothers can recover. 

Treatment Modalities

Unfortunately, traditional addiction treatment programs were based on research of men. Only 8 percent of addiction research is about women’s needs. It is important to address economic factors, cultural issues, gender related stigma, and relationship patterns in order to find the best treatment plan and group of professionals to aid in the treatment of the woman in need. There are often economic gaps for women and treatment can be expensive. When clinically appropriate, some women may respond better to an outpatient setting where the stress of childcare and added expense of housing can be revoked. Gender specific treatment can provide women with a safe space to speak freely about their struggles and experiences without fear of judgment or backlash. Women deserve to be honored and respected throughout the treatment process and the company of empowering female role models can aid in their healing process. It is important to find a facility that will address any mental health needs and co-occurring disorders the individual might be struggling with. Trauma therapy and relationship management should be addressed as well. 

Anchored Tides Recovery For Women

Anchored Tides Recovery is a women owned addiction treatment center for women. We offer partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient treatment options for women struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services & how we can help you! 

 

Works Cited

 

“Addiction Among Women.” Sunrise House, sunrisehouse.com/addiction-demographics/women/.

 “The Differences in Addiction Between Men and Women.” Addiction Center, www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/differences-men-women/.

“Disease of Addiction.” American Addiction Centers, americanaddictioncenters.org/disease-of-addiction.

Harvard Health Publishing. “Addiction in Women.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/addiction-in-women.

Liquori, Thomas. “Substance Abuse & Addiction Recovery for Mothers.” Gateway, 14 Aug. 2019, www.gatewayfoundation.org/addiction-blog/addiction-recovery-for-mothers/.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Substance Use in Women.” NIDA, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-women.

 

Trauma and Addiction: A Common Link

There is a significant correlation between trauma and addiction. Addiction can occur because of trauma and other mental health disorders related to trauma. In turn, those that suffer from a substance use disorder are at a higher rate of experiencing traumatic events due to engaging in high-risk behavior. Understanding how trauma increases the rate of addiction, and how unresolved trauma can negatively impact an individual’s ability to stay sober is essential to helping those on the road to recovery stay sober and prevent relapse. 

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as: any event or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as life-threatening or emotionally or physically harmful. It is important to understand that trauma is relative to the individual. What is traumatic for one person, may not be for another. Trauma can occur at any time in a person’s life. Trauma has lasting effects that affect an individual’s ability to function emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. There is a wide array of events that could be considered traumatic including but not limited to: grief and loss, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, or a natural disaster. Long term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. It is likely that many of us have experienced a traumatic event in our lives at one point or another.

Childhood Trauma and Addiction

Evidence has shown that the correlation between trauma and addiction is particularly high for adolescents struggling with PTSD. One in 4 children in the U.S experience a traumatic event before the age of 16. Studies show up to 59% of youth with PTSD, end up abusing substances. The prominent effect trauma has on a child’s adulthood can be explained by noticing that children have a lower tolerance to handling stressful situations than adults do. Children also rely on their caregivers as a source of support during hard times. If caregivers in the home are unavailable or are the source of the child experiencing neglect, abuse, or other traumatic event, family support is not an option. This leaves the child feeling hopeless and alone, eventually leading them to reach out for substances to self -medicate and alleviate the effects of being victimized at a young age. Not having the tools and resources to process traumatic events can leave people trying to handle symptoms with unhealthy behaviors. 

Women and Trauma

Research indicates that women are twice and likely to develop PTSD, experience a longer duration of symptomatology, and are more sensitive to stimuli that remind them of the trauma they have experienced. Despite the understanding that women are at a greater risk of negative consequences due to trauma, many women struggle to seek help and support. Many women feel fear and a negative stigma about asking for help and processing the events that have happened in the past. Women are at a higher rate that men of experiencing sexual abuse, sexual assault, and rape. It is important to know that it is ok to ask for help. No matter what you have been through, you don’t have to go through it alone. A woman need never feel ashamed of the painful experiences she has been forced to walk through. There is help and healing available to you. 

What Can We Do?

With two thirds of all individuals struggling with a substance use disorder, having experienced some type of traumatic event in their life, it is important to understand that childhood trauma increases risk to substance use in the future. Knowing this you may be able to take preventative measures to help an adolescent in your life take a different path. Seeking counseling services and support groups for individuals having experienced trauma will provide a safe space for both boys and girls to process their experiences in a healthy, supportive and non-judgmental setting.

In regard to addiction treatment, choosing a gender specific program that offers dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders such as PTSD, is a great first step to starting the healing process. Other therapies and modalities that are known to help heal wounds from traumatic experiences include, EMDR therapy, cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy, and trauma informed process groups. 

We’re Here to Help

It is never too late to start the journey of recovery. There is support and services available to you. Anchored Tides Recovery wants to let you know that you no longer have to suffer in silence. Call our admissions line today to speak with a treatment admissions counselor to find the best options for you or your loved one. 

Tips to Help Your Loved One During the Recovery Process

Addiction is a terrible disease and it can take a tremendous toll on not only the addict but the rest of the family as well. When someone first agrees to get help for drug abuse and addiction, they often think that detox is the only step during the recovery process. People who are addicted to alcohol might even come out of the detox process and think they can drink socially. This is not the case. Sobriety represents a lifelong commitment and people need to embrace this commitment every day. Having support from friends or family is one of the main factors that keep a recovering addict determined and disciplined. It’s a great idea for friends and family members to familiarize themselves with ways they can help an addict through the recovery process.

How to Tell if Addiction is Taking Hold of a Loved One?

In order to be able to support someone throughout the recovery process, you’ll need to be able to spot the signs of addiction. There are a few key signs that someone is suffering from addiction: 

  • Defensive behavior: Addicts tend to become defensive during their addiction. If you start to ask them why they don’t have money or why they’re losing weight, they’ll get angry and most likely try to turn the conversation around on you. Although this can be hurtful, remember that they aren’t doing this maliciously. 
  • Hiding their use: People drug and alcohol abuse are generally not socially acceptable, addicts hide their use. An addict may stash alcohol or drugs in their car so no one can find them. They’ll often lie about what they’re doing as well to hide their use. If you ask an addict to come over for dinner, it’s common for them to make up an excuse because they want to get high. 
  • Mood swings: Drug and alcohol use can cause unstable moods. Someone using a stimulant will be down one minute, then up the next. Someone who is addicted to alcohol may start their day out feeling happy and normal, but the more they drink, the more depressed they can become.
  • Financial problems: Sustaining an addiction can become very expensive. If you suspect someone is struggling with substance abuse, and they ask to borrow money, they might have a problem. If you find someone going through your personal belongings to steal money, they most likely have a problem. 

When is it Time for Help?

It’s never too soon to get help. Once you recognize that someone you love is suffering from substance abuse, it’s time for help. Addiction is a progressive disease, the longer it manifests, the worse it gets.  It is critical to stop addiction in its tracks as early as possible to limit the collateral damage that might result.

How To Help Someone with Addiction

It may feel hard at first to try to help someone who is suffering from addiction. It’s normal to feel angry, or sad, or confused, especially if someone’s addiction has impacted you directly. The most important thing to remember is your loved one is sick. If they did something to hurt you, it wasn’t purposefully. It’s important to approach someone who is suffering from addiction with care and compassion. If they feel like they’re being attacked or misunderstood, they may resist getting help. 

There are different ways to approach someone about their addiction. Because everyone is different and every addiction is different, it can be hard to determine what is the right thing to do. If your loved one is struggling and is an introvert, try having a private conversation with them. They may get overwhelmed if too many people confront them at once. If your loved one gets agitated easily, you may want to confront them with someone else present. 

After you confront the addict, the most important thing to do is let them know you’re here to help them. You can offer to help them with researching different treatment options and even help by calling different facilities to learn more about their program. 

The best thing to do when helping someone during the recovery process is to not judge them and lend a shoulder to cry on. You’d be surprised at how much it can mean to someone by just saying “I’m here for you if you ever need to talk”. 

Let Us Help You With Your Addiction Treatment

At Anchored Tides Recovery, we are a complete, dual-diagnosis enhanced addiction treatment program, designed specifically for women, by women. This program provides a variety of levels of outpatient services, which include a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), a traditional Outpatient Program (OP), and long-term recovery monitoring. Our goal is to help women overcome addiction and mental health disorders. If you are interested in learning more about how our professionals can help you overcome the bonds of addiction, please contact us today!

How Are Women Impacted Differently by Addiction?

Addiction is a disease. It does not discriminate against anyone based on gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or occupation. It has the potential to impact anyone at any time. For the longest time, the vast majority of research was focused solely on drug abuse and alcohol addiction in men. This was because the trend was to use only men in medical studies. This exclusionary bias that women faced started to emerge in the 1990s. Many organizations in the United States noticed that women were also impacted by addiction, yet they were not receiving the same level of attention and treatment as their male counterparts. This led to a push to study addiction in women to a greater degree with the hope that medical professionals would be able to reach them more effectively during treatment sessions.

The Impact of Addiction in Women

As a whole, men are more likely than women to suffer from drug abuse and addiction. Between 11 and 12 percent of men over the age of 12 suffer from some form of substance abuse disorder. Just over 6 percent of women over the age of 12 suffer from a substance abuse disorder. Although the number of women suffering from addiction is lower than men, women are more likely to suffer fatal consequences from a substance abuse disorder. Women are more likely to end up in the emergency room or overdose due to substance abuse. For this reason, we want to raise awareness and spread information on the importance of getting the correct treatment. 

How are Women More Susceptible to the Dangers of Addiction?

Two ways in which men and women are impacted differently by addiction are biological and sociological.  Society expects different things from men and women and these sociological pressures impact how both genders respond to addiction. Differences in body size, composition, and hormone levels also impact how men and women respond to addiction.

Women are far more likely to transition from substance to substance when they suffer from addiction than their male counterparts. This means that women may use alcohol, then opioids, then stimulants. Even though men are more likely to become addicts as a whole, women are more likely to engage in self-medication with certain substances. 

Women are more likely to suffer end-organ damage from the effects of substance abuse and overdoses. This includes damage to the liver and kidneys depending on the type of drug. 

Finally, women are also more likely to experience cravings during the recovery process. This means that women are also more likely to relapse while they are in addiction treatment programs. 

How to Find Treatment for Addiction

When seeking treatment, people have the option to choose from an array of programs. There are mixed gender treatment centers, gender-specific, adolescent focused treatment, etc. While it’s great to have options, it’s important to seek the right kind of treatment. For instance, some women will feel particularly vulnerable when going to treatment and feel safe around other women. If this sounds like you, then an all women’s treatment center is the right choice. 

All treatment centers have the same end goal in mind, the only difference between mixed gender and gender-specific is the gender aspect. Often, people start the treatment process by trying to break free from addiction on their own. Sadly, this is not effective. People are bound to relapse. Therefore, it is important for everyone to reach out to professionals for assistance.

There are plenty of programs out there for individuals who are looking to treat addiction effectively. For example, many people start in an inpatient program so they can get through withdrawal and detox under the supervision of trained professionals. From there, individuals often transition to an outpatient program. This might include a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP). There are programs out there for everyone. People simply need to know where to turn for help.

Let Us Help You!

At Anchored Tides Recovery, we are a comprehensive dual-diagnosis enhanced program that has been created by women to help other women recover addiction. We offer various levels of outpatient services including Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), Outpatient Program (OP), and long-term rehab and recovery monitoring. If you would like to learn more about our addiction treatment options, then please contact us today! We would be honored to help you and your family with the recovery process.

How Domestic Abuse Can Cause Substance Abuse For Women

There are many issues in society that people simply aren’t comfortable discussing. Sadly, many of these issues tend to go hand in hand. This is exactly the case when it comes to domestic violence and substance abuse. These are almost always found together. When someone abuses drugs or alcohol, they tend to lose control of themselves. Substance abuse has the potential to destroy relationships with loved ones. When someone surrenders control of themselves to the cycle of addiction, they tend to lash out at loved ones. This can lead to domestic violence.

At the same time, the inverse is also true. When someone is the victim of domestic violence, this can drive someone to the bonds of addiction as well. For this reason, many women who end up in the world of substance abuse are also victims of domestic violence. It is critical for everyone to know how the two are related. That way, they can get help if they need it.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is any pattern of behavior in a relationship that is exercised to gain or maintain power over someone else. Domestic violence is a major problem in society and many people feel that the exact figures are under-reported. Domestic violence can take many forms. While many people feel that domestic violence is limited to physical abuse, this is not the case. This type of behavior can also include verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and even sexual abuse.

Domestic violence, like addiction, has the potential to cause collateral damage as well. In households where there are children involved, they can end up getting caught in the middle. This can lead to severe trauma for children, tearing a family apart. Finally, women who are victims of domestic violence are far more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol down the road.

Addiction and Domestic Violence are Related

What many people don’t realize is that addiction and domestic violence are related. The actions of domestic violence come out of someone’s desire to control someone else. When someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are going to lose control of their own inhibitions. When someone is under the influence, they are far more likely to engage in abusive behavior. Furthermore, research has shown that the vast majority of domestic violence crimes are related to the use of drugs.

Drugs have the ability to change how the neurotransmitters in the brain flow back and forth. The brain develops a need for these drugs and will do anything to force the person to find them. As a result, significant others who get in the way of this addiction will cause someone to lash out. This will lead to domestic violence. There are a few major characteristics that addiction and domestic violence share. Both activities can cause someone to lose control over the actions, engage in dangerous behaviors despite the negative consequences, will get worse over time, and can lead to both denial and shame. In many cases of domestic violence, both the abuser and the victim have a substance abuse disorder. This only complicates things further. If there are children involved, the situation only becomes even direr.

The Effects of Addiction and Domestic Violence

The effects of these two dangerous activities can lead to serious issues. When someone is the victim of domestic violence, they are far more likely to experience other mental health disorders. While substance abuse is a mental health disorder unto itself, there are numerous other complications that might result as well. Some of the problems that might arise following addiction and domestic violence include:

  • The development of other dependencies including designer drugs and alcohol
  • The development of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia
  • Depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder can also start to manifest
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is becoming more common

These are only a few of the many mental health issues that might result when someone is the victim of domestic violence. Addiction is bad enough; however, when it is coupled with domestic violence, the consequences can be particularly severe. That is why it is important for everyone to rely on trained professionals to help address addiction and substance abuse. Nobody should have to face these problems alone.

Rely on the Professionals at Anchored Tides Recovery

At Anchored Tides Recovery, we are drug abuse and addiction treatment program designed by women because we believe that women deserve to have a dedicated cadre of professionals who know and understand them. We know that drug abuse and domestic violence go hand in hand. That is why we tailor our addiction treatment plans to meet your individual needs. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today.