Addiction and Needles: Intravenous Drug Use

Intravenous Drug Use

There are many ways to abuse drugs. While some may take them orally, others may smoke, snort, or inject them. “shooting up” or the practice of injecting drugs directly into the bloodstream utilizing a needle is incredibly dangerous. Not only does this method instantly produce significantly more intense effects as the drug reaches the bloodstream immediately, but it can also speed the development of addiction and expose the user to significant health risks not necessarily related to the drug itself. Due to the significantly increased rate of addiction, and potential overdose resulting from intravenous drugs, treatment at an addiction treatment center is often necessary to help the user safely detox and begin recovery.

 

What Is Intravenous Drug Use?

Intravenous drug use involves injecting a substance into a vein by the use of a hypodermic syringe. This administration method produces a rapid and heightened effect because, unlike swallowing, snorting, or smoking, this process bypasses bodily processes that slow the absorption of the drug. For example, if someone swallows a pill, the drug must first be absorbed into the intestines, carried to the liver, and metabolically processed before reaching the bloodstream. Injection, on the other hand, allows the drug to reach the bloodstream immediately, which increases the speed of delivery to the brain. In many cases, the effects of the drug can often be built within one minute of injection. 

 

Can Intravenous Drugs Be Used Illegally?

When people think of intravenous drug use, they think of the drugs that are commonly abused and injected, such as Heroin, Methamphetamine, PCP, Ketamine, and anabolic steroids. While these are the first to come to mind, they are not the only substances that can be taken intravenously and abused illegally. There are several prescription medications that are used illegally as well. All of these substances require a prescription and are, at least initially, obtained legally. Drugs such as Codeine, Fentanyl, Vicodin, Demerol, Methadone, Morphine, and Oxycodone are frequently obtained illegally through street sales, theft, or getting them from a friend or family member who has an active prescription. They are then processed (if necessary) into liquid form and taken as intravenous drugs.  

 

What to Do If You or Someone You Know Is Using Illegal Intravenous Drugs

If you or someone you know is using illegal intravenous drugs, there are ways to help or get help. 

Syringe exchange programs can help prevent the spread of infections related to needle swapping and sharing. Also, these programs will often offer preventative services such as counseling, infectious disease testing (HIV, Hepatitis C, STDs, etc.), Hepatitis A and B vaccines, and referrals to drug addiction treatment programs

There are also several types of addiction treatment programs that can help intravenous drug users achieve and maintain sobriety. Some examples of addiction recovery programs include outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment programs. There are also group meetings, 12-step programs, and other types of counseling available. For most seeking treatment for intravenous drug addiction, an inpatient program is the safest and most effective option. The early stages of detox from intravenous drugs can be unpleasant and, in some cases, dangerous. For many individuals with an addiction to intravenous drugs, detox should not be attempted without the type of medical supervision found in inpatient treatment programs. Many who try to detox alone will often relapse when withdrawal symptoms become too difficult to manage independently. Successful detox is the first step to successful treatment and recovery.

 

Get Help With Addiction Today at Crosspointe Recovery

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to intravenous drugs, don’t wait to seek treatment. Drug addiction is life-threatening, and early treatment and intervention are crucial to recovery. Contact us at Crosspointe Recovery in Sherman Oaks, California, today. Let us help you take that first step towards living drug-free.  

What is Substance Abuse Disorder?

substance abuse disorder

Substance use disorder negatively affects millions of Americans. Alcoholism or drug addiction might sound more familiar to you than substance use disorder, which is a broad term for the abuse of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescribed medications. At Crosspointe Recovery, we assist individuals suffering from substance use disorders to overcome it for good.

 

What is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder is a disease that affects the brain and behavior of an individual, causing them to lose control over their use of a substance. A “substance” can be legal, illegal, or controlled but they are all psychoactive compounds with the potential to cause addiction. There are seven classifications of substances including: 

  • Opioids—Painkillers including heroin, opium, codeine and narcotics
  • Depressants—Substance that reduce anxiety and sleep problems, including drugs like barbiturates and benzodiazepines (like Valium or Xanax)
  • Stimulants—Substances which stimulate the brain and nervous system like cocaine, methamphetamine and methylphenidate (drugs used to treat ADHD). 
  • Hallucinogens—Substances that cause a person to hallucinate, including LSD, mushrooms, PCP, and mescaline
  • Nicotine—Cigarettes, vapor-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes), chewing tobacco and snuff
  • Cannabinoids—Marijuana or hashish
  • Alcohol—All forms

The cause of substance use disorder isn’t known, but certain biological, psychological and genetic factors are associated with substance abuse like a person’s genes, depression, anxiety, stress, and emotional distress. Environmental and social factors like interpersonal, household, and community dynamics as well as family, social networks and peer pressure also strongly influence the likelihood of substance use disorder. 

 

How to Tell if I have a Substance use disorder

The first step to recovery is identifying substance use disorder as the problem. The symptoms of substance use disorder vary depending on the substance. Recognizing an unhealthy relationship to substances can be hard to distinguish, but chronic use of substances like drugs and alcohol take a toll on the body and mind so there are some general possible signs physical and behavioral signs of substance use disorder.

 

Physical Health Issues Associated with Substance Abuse

  • Lack in energy 
  • Weight loss or gain
  •  Insomnia
  •  Frequent nose bleeds or runny nose
  • Physical symptoms of withdrawal, like nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, headaches, or even run a fever or have seizures
  • Deteriorating hygiene
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sore jaw

 

Behavior Issues Associated with Substance Abuse

  • Lack of motivation and self-esteem
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or family activities
  • Paranoia
  • Feeling an excessive need for privacy or secrecy
  • Problems at work or school
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Forgetfulness

 

If you’re worried some of these signs indicate a problem but you’re still unsure, here are some further signs that indicate a substance use disorder:

  • You continued taking a drug after it is no longer needed for a health problem
  • You have built a tolerance to a substance, which requires you to take more to feel the same effects
  • You have difficulty setting limits with the substance or use it more often than you intended to 
  • You can’t stop yourself from using the substance, even if you want to stop
  • You spend a lot of time thinking about the substance, whether it’s how you feel taking it, how you’ll get more, or when you’ll take it next
  • You have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities and taking care of yourself
  • You’ve lost interest in doing things you previously enjoyed
  • You borrow or steal money to pay for drugs
  • You’ve been arrested or hospitalized because of your substance use
  • Your substance use has hurt your relationships with other people

 

How to Get Help for a Substance use disorder

If you think you have a problem, don’t hesitate to seek help right away. The sooner you can get help the better. Substance use disorder is a serious condition that is hard to solve on your own because it can change the parts of your brain in charge of self-control. Quitting can be difficult, even if you feel ready, but treatment and recovery are possible with the help of trained professionals. At Crosspointe Recovery, we understand the difficultly of overcoming substance use disorder, and work to help break old habits and implement new behaviors by focusing holistically on our patients. If you think you have a substance use disorder, we are here to help! Contacts us to talk to our compassionate, professional team members to see how you can take the first step in your recovery.

Do I Have A Drug Problem?

do i have a drug problem

How do you know if you have a drug problem? It’s not always obvious, especially if you socialize with others who regularly use drugs and alcohol. After all, we live in a culture where substance use of all kinds is often glorified. Questioning your own use can make you feel like the odd person out, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned. Levels of substance use vary greatly, and the truth is that no amount can actually be considered “safe”. That said, having a drug abuse problem is quite a bit different from having a few too many drinks once in a great while when you’re out with friends. 

You’re often the best judge of whether or not you have a drug abuse problem. Reaching this conclusion isn’t easy though, so Crosspointe Recovery would like to share some information that can help: 

How Do You Know If You Have a Drug Problem?

It’s important to understand that addiction is an illness, characterized by compulsive drug use and changes in behavior to accommodate it. In most cases, addiction also coincides with changes in brain chemistry that makes quitting the substance even more difficult. Addiction starts with drug abuse, which is consuming large amounts of drugs and/or alcohol or using substances in ways they are not intended (such as taking more than the recommended dosage of prescription pills or even taking ones that are not prescribed to you). You should also realize that some substances are more addictive than others, but all alcohol and illicit substances are habit-forming.

Now, the rate at which someone may become addicted depends on the substance, the amount of use and frequency, and the person (studies have shown a genetic connection that makes some more likely to become addicted than others). Many people develop more of a psychological dependency than a physical one, though for most people it is a combination of the two. Either way, the first step to treating it is recognizing that you have an addiction / drug abuse problem in the first place.

 

do i have a drug problem

 

Analyzing the Drug Problem

At Crosspointe Recovery, we know drug abuse patterns vary from person to person. However, here are four tips you can follow that will help you determine whether or not you have a problem:

1. Look at Your Social Life

If you consider yourself socially active, take a look at the kinds of activities you do while out or while hanging out with people at home. Do your activities frequently involve drinking or drug use? If you feel like you have to use substances in order to have fun, then it is very possible that you have a drug abuse problem. On the flip side, blowing off friends and family members in favor of doing activities associated with drug use is another sign that you may have a problem starting to get out of control. In fact, any relationship suffering during this time is an indicator.

2. Check Physical Signs

Drug abuse may not always come with obvious physical signs, but it’s a good idea to examine your physical health nonetheless. Drug abuse can cause a variety of physical symptoms, and not just when it comes to hangovers. Difficulty sleeping is common, as is nausea and physical feelings of being “on edge”. Furthermore, do you feel healthiest when you’re using substances? If you’re experiencing any kind of withdrawal symptoms (headaches, sweating, gastrointestinal issues, etc.) when you stop using drugs or alcohol, then you may have developed a physical addiction.

3. Be Honest About Your Work Performance

Rarely does ongoing drug abuse not have an effect on our personal and professional lives. Regardless of whether or not you’ve had a recent performance review from your employer, now is a good time to look at the job you’re doing. Sloppy work, frequent mistakes and even showing up late to work more than usual are signs of a growing substance use issue. Furthermore, if you’ve ever taken drugs as a way to help your work performance or “get through the day”, your behavior has the makings of a drug abuse problem. 

4. Check in with Your Mental Health

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often go hand-in-hand. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with any kind of mental health issue, now is a great time to take a look at your state of mind. Have you been feeling down at all lately or anxious? Are you angry or feeling sad but can’t quite explain why? Do you feel “normal” while using drugs or alcohol? Do you feel like drug use helps you “escape” from life? Are you thinking about using substances more often? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you may be suffering from both drug abuse and a mental health disorder. 

Addiction Treatment Can Help You Quit Safely

Now, if you indeed determine you have a problem, addiction treatment may be your next step. Even in milder addiction and drug abuse cases, people rarely are able to make much headway all on their own. Furthermore, going through detox on your own can be dangerous and threatening to your health. Going cold turkey (ceasing drug use all at once) can result in serious health conditions like heart attack or stroke. In many cases it is also just ineffective and can lead back to even more intense drug abuse. Always consult with a medical professional and/or an experienced drug abuse / addiction treatment counselor before trying to handle things by yourself. 

We’re Here for You

Still unsure of whether or not your behavior can be considered ‘drug abuse’? Or, have you determined that you have a drug abuse problem and now need some help to treat it? Our caring staff at Crosspointe Recovery is here to help. Give us a call to have your questions answered and learn more about the comprehensive addiction treatment programs we offer. We treat patients with a wide range of substance abuse levels, we can help you build a healthy life you can be proud of. 

How To Support An Addicted Loved One

When you have a loved one who is suffering from addiction, you have to remember that the journey they are on is theirs. You can’t force them to walk away from the drugs and alcohol. The only things you can do is provide positive support and comfort and hope they make the right choices. If you try to force them to stop, they will only return to it later. The decision must be theirs and theirs alone. You are only a bystander who can encourage them from the sidelines.

Offer Encouragement

Offer encouragement to them every chance you get. Tell them how proud you are of their progress and let them know you are always there if they need someone to talk to. Remind them of good memories and let them know that there are good times waiting for them in the future. Allow them an opportunity to explore their newfound sobriety and share the experience with them.

Strengthen Their Support System

As part of their support system, you can be either a positive or a negative influence. Make sure that you try to stay as positive as possible even when the journey becomes difficult. A strong support system is part of the foundation a good treatment program is based on. When you are dealing with addiction, you need to be able to provide positive support that your loved one can count on when the going starts to get rough.

Be A Good Listener

There are times when a person dealing with addiction needs someone to talk to. Be a good listener. You will learn a lot about how they feel if you encourage them to talk to you. Sometimes they can sort things out on their own if they just have someone who will sit and listen to them. You don’t have to offer advice or say you know how they feel. All you have to do is listen and let them shed their burdens for a few minutes.

Stick to the Addiction Treatment Plan

When your loved one leaves the rehabilitation center, they will bring with them an addiction treatment plan. The treatment plan was developed on the individual needs of your loved one. In most cases, it will include a diet/nutritional plan, counseling sessions, possible medications, and a variety of activities that the person can perform in an attempt to bring themselves back to where they were before the drugs and alcohol started to take over their lives. If you plan on being there for your loved one during their recovery journey, you will have to be just as committed to their addiction treatment plan as they are.

Don’t Give in to Pressure

During difficult times, your loved one may consider using again. Don’t give in to the pressure if they ask you for money or a ride. Talk to them. Listen to what they have to say but stay committed to their recovery. Although you may not be able to prevent every relapse, you may be able to keep them from slipping back into the dark places they were that led them down that path. Take a few extra minutes every day to let them know that you care and that you love them. A few kind words may be all they need to hear to bring them back from the edge and back to center on their road to recovery.

An addiction treatment plan will only work if the person is fully committed to their own recovery. You can’t carry them along. Each step they take must be their own and in their own time. Find ways to provide them with the support they need and encourage them to try new things. It’s up to you to help them break the mold of the past and form a new future. While they are responsible for all of the work, as part of their support system, you play an integral role as part of the solid foundation they must build on.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us today at Crosspointe Recovery. We’re here to help!

How to Quit Using Opioids

America is in the middle of an opioids crisis. What started out as a good way to cure the pain turned into a nasty nightmare. Families are being destroyed. Lives were being ruined. People are even dying because of addiction. But it doesn’t have to be this way.  You can still get help. Addiction treatment is easier to find than you think. But is the process just as easy? How can you be so sure that you won’t fall back into your habits? There is some good news. You can break your addiction with these tips.

Seek Help

The first step to addiction treatment is to go seek help. You can’t rely on other people to do it for you. You have to be the one to speak up and get help. There is plenty of places to look for help. One place to turn to is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA. The hotline is available 24/7. They speak both English and Spanish as well. Do not hesitate to give them a call. The main thing that you have to keep in mind is not to feel shame in getting help. Society has always looked down upon drug addicts. They are always portrayed as the scum of the earth. It doesn’t have to be that way. There is no shame in getting help with your opioids addiction. You might find that you are not alone. Your friends and family will be there to help you kick your habits. But this can only happen if you speak up.

Set Goals for Yourself

Everyone needs motivation to complete a goal. This is drilled into us at an early age. Kids do chores around the house for praise, money, or treats. Adults do work to get money or a raise. Addiction treatment is no different. Aside from getting healthy again and turning your life around, why do you want to get clean? What is at stake if you don’t? Sit down with someone you trust and look at what you want. The HelpGuide suggests that you should, “set a limit on how much you will use.” What they are saying is that you have a better chance of kicking opioids if you do it little by little. Cold turkey sounds good in theory but it does not always work for everyone. Your best bet is to set up goals on usage and why you should get treatment.

Keep Records of Your Progress

Keeping track of your progress when you try to make changes is actually more helpful than you think. If it can work for losing weight, then it can work with addiction treatment. Your notes will be key. Write down why you started taking opioids in the first place. Keep track of how much you use. Keep track of how many days you have been clean. Writing down your triggers for drug use can also be a big help. You can look back on what causes you to turn to opioids and tackle it head-on. VeryWellHealth also talks about keeping a pain journal with your addiction. Why would you need to do that? VeryWellHealth suggests, “To help your physician determine the best route for cutting out opioids, consider keeping a pain journal and track everything related to your painkillers, including dosage, frequency of use, and positive and negative effects. Keeping notes will save your life.

Clear Out Your House

In order for addiction treatment to be effective, you need to clean out all the drugs in your house. Limiting access to your drug of choice will do wonders for your recovery. If that is not going to be easy for you to do alone, call up your friends to help purge your house of all opioids. This will cut down on the surrounding temptation. You can’t feed your addiction if you do not have the drugs in your house. But what about going outside? Call up a friend that you trust to help steer you away from the drugs. They can help you stay on track when you go out.

Find Something Else to Do

Speaking of temptation, you will need to try to keep your mind off of your addiction. You are going to need something to distract you. As suggested above, cleaning your house can be a great help to you. It doesn’t have to be limited there either. Go and out talk to the family and friends that you trust. Pay them a visit. If you are alone, that is fine too. Pick up a new hobby or two. Learn some new skills. Exercise not only can help you lose weight but it can help keep your mind off your cravings. You might find that you now have a healthy alternative to using opioids.

 

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction don’t be afraid to contact us! At Crosspointe Recovery, we are eagerly awaiting your call. Our sole mission is to help you break free from addiction and help you live a new and free life.

How To Quit Using Cocaine

Once a person has realized the damaging effects of cocaine for themselves, the negative aspects of their addiction start to come into much clearer focus. This realization is one of the first steps that must be taken before an addict can receive the assistance that they need.

While the steps that are going to be outlined are as helpful as possible, your success is going to be focused on your personal willingness to quit. The biology of addiction can be tough to navigate [https://bit.ly/2K05ybA] for many, though. The brain becomes hard wired to seek out pleasure in a certain way.

Getting on the right path is easier said than done. Those who remain on the right path rely on the assistance that Crosspointe Recovery can provide. We understand that it is not the destination that matters most. It is the journey that is going to be taken to get there.

After all, it is a marathon….not a sprint. While cocaine usage comes with a very short high, the euphoria that it can provide is undeniable to a user. There is a reason why this is one of the hardest drugs to quit.

Putting a Stop To Cocaine Usage

The process may seem simple enough but without the help of addiction treatment professionals, an addict is going to struggle to reform. The withdrawal symptoms that you are going to experience will be challenging. The cravings are hard to kick, depression and anxiety are common and there are no shortage of physical symptoms.

That’s why addiction treatment centers like Crosspointe Recovery are so important. The process of quitting cocaine can put a user’s life at risk if they are not careful. However, there is more to the process that simply choosing an addiction treatment clinic. In addition to heading to Crosspointe Recovery, there are other factors at play.

The Five Most Essential Steps To Quitting Cocaine

1. Use Your Time More Wisely

When an addict has too much time on their hands, that is when trouble can arise. The cravings are furthered when an addict does not fill up their schedule. Be sure to find positive activities to pass the time. Start projects at home. Make time for exercise. Take a moment to think about your short term plans and your long term plans. The average craving tends to be time sensitive. Stay busy and give it time to pass.

2. Visit a Counselor

Once the initial steps have been taken and the addict is reintegrating into a normal routine, counseling is important. The counselor will talk the patient through the recovery process and give them the tools that they need to be successful. It can be hard to truly understand the various factors that cause a person to use. A counselor helps a patient to identify these factors and make sense of them. The thought process that fuels usage is broken down and the patient is given the tools that they need to fix their broken relationships.

3. Create a Support System

There are a wide range of addicts who will try to handle the quitting process on their own. Since they do not wish to involve family and friends, this causes them to go about this task in the wrong way. Having a support system is hugely important to long term success. When you take the time to share your experiences with your friends and loved ones, they can offer the love and support that you need most. Cocaine Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous also provide a valuable support group for those who seek to share their experiences with those who truly understand.

4. Abstinence

This may seem like a no brainer but it is easier said than done. The average user will tend to reward themselves with cocaine when they accomplish various tasks. Once that reward no longer exists, it can be difficult to find the same motivation. Do not replace cocaine with alcohol, marijuana or any other substances. Total and complete abstinence is necessary. Otherwise, the addict’s resistance to cocaine is going to be severely tested.

5. Head to an Addiction Treatment Facility

Crosspointe Recovery is here to help. Allow our skilled team of professionals to assist you. The effects that withdrawal is going to have on your health need to be closely monitored, for your own safety. As soon as the withdrawal stages are completed, you will receive customized treatment that is designed to assist you with your specific needs.

The patient is going to be taught how to recognize their triggers and manage their stressors. They will be given the tools that they need to establish a healthier lifestyle as well. The patient is given all of the tips and pointers that they need to avoid a relapse once the treatment process is complete. Developing positive habits is not always easy but with the help of the professionals, a total and complete recovery is made easier. Contact us today!