What is Harm Reduction and Does it Work?

Posted on September 2, 2014 By

What is Harm Reduction and Does it Work?

What is Harm Reduction?

Harm reduction is both a set of general principles used to change and enforce political policies concerning the way that societies respond to drug problems and, a belief system that encompasses the specific types of intervention, such as needle and syringe programs and methadone treatment, in order to reduce risks to drug users.

Harm Reduction Principles

Harm reduction is a wide range of strategies, such as safer use, to managed use (moderation), to abstinence in order to meet drug users “where they’re at,” that address conditions of drug use as well as the use, itself. And, because harm reduction calls for specific interventions and policies to be designed to serve drug users, specific individual, and community needs, there is no universal formula for implementing harm reduction practices.

Although there is no universal set of Harm Reduction tactics, the Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC) considers the following principles central to harm reduction practice:

  • Accepts that legal and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them.
  • Understands that drug use is a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a spectrum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others.
  • Establishes quality of individual and community life and well-being–not necessarily cessation of all drug use–as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.
  • Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.
  • Ensures that drug users and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.
  • Affirms drugs users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seeks to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use.
  • Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.
  • Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.

What is Harm Reduction and Does it Work?

Proponents of harm reduction argue that it is a much better and more effective approach to drug use than the war on drugs has been.

As far as whether harm reduction strategies work, it depends on what you mean by ‘work.’ When it comes to reducing the spread of diseases such as HIV, then yes, harm reduction works. Having clean needle exchanges, for one, ensures that IV drug users have access to clean needles and are therefore less likely to share needles with others.

When it comes to dependence and addiction rates, harm reduction isn’t the best approach. One of the main concerns regarding this approach is that it may enable drug use and keep people ‘stuck’ in a pattern of addiction, rather than give them the tools to learn abstinence and recovery techniques – or even be aware that this is a viable option. Those who oppose harm reduction strategies argue that it can prevent addicts from reaching that level of desperation – ‘hitting a rock bottom’ – that would otherwise motivate them to get help. One of the strongest examples is the methadone clinic.

Another possible negative consequence is that harm reduction might actually encourage drug use. The rationale behind this argument is that harm reduction ‘sends the wrong message’ and undermines drug prevention efforts. By helping drug users to stay healthier than they otherwise would, avoid problems and stay alive, people who do not use drugs will think are safe and decide to start using drugs themselves.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or drug dependence or addiction, there is a viable alternative to trying to use in moderation. Recovery from addiction is possible and we can help. Call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 to speak with an Addiction Specialist directly. We are available around the clock to answer your questions.

Adderall Addiction Treatment in Seabrook Island, SC

Posted on August 29, 2014 By

Adderall Addiction Treatment in Seabrook Island, SC

Adderall is a medication created by a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall is typically used to treat the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is also a dangerous drug that is classified as a central nervous system stimulant. This medication is frequently prescribed by a physician who will normally start a patient on a low dose, gradually increasing it if necessary.

Adderall Addiction Treatment in Seabrook Island, SC: Symptoms and Side-Effects Adderall abuse occurs when people take Adderall for reasons other than out of a medical necessity. Some people may take Adderall to help them stay up longer, for instance, or be more active and energized. With Adderall abuse, there is addiction and dependence. Adderall abuse also leads to a great deal of health issues, but there is treatment available in Seabrook Island, SC. Some of the symptoms or side effects of Adderall abuse include:

  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Heart Problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Death

Adderall Addiction Treatment in Seabrook Island, SC: Teen Adderall Addiction Teen Adderall abuse is common because of stress and time management issues throughout school, especially young people in college who seek to abuse Adderall as a means to maintain study patterns. Education on the dangers of Adderall abuse and better ways to manage time, activities, homework and other school-related items, is so important because it will promote healthy methods of studying and avoid the devastating damage done to the mind and body by using the drug to ward off sleep. Adderall Addiction Treatment in Seabrook Island, SC: Getting Help If you’ve tried to quit Adderall, you know how difficult it can be. You know that the effects from it are short-lived, but the withdrawal symptoms are unbearable. It may seem like stopping Adderall is hopeless and that you’ll be imprisoned by it for the rest of your life. Adderall Addiction Treatment in Seabrook Island, SC: Withdrawal from Adderall Abuse Since you’re getting a higher potency of the drug when you snort it, you are more likely to experience stronger withdrawal effects. These effects can make it difficult to stop taking the drug, which is why many addicts find it difficult to enter into recovery. The following are some of the withdrawal effects someone who is snorting Adderall experiences.

  • Cravings
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness

Adderall Addiction Treatment in Seabrook Island, SC: Treatment Options Adderall addiction treatment in Seabrook Island, SC knows the issue once detox is complete is not so much in getting the individual clean from Adderall addiction, but teaching them to stay clean after Adderall Addiction Treatment in Seabrook Island, SC. It is more simple to complete a detox program and get clean initially than it is to maintain that sobriety. This is why Adderall Addiction Treatment in Seabrook Island, SC focuses not so much on how not to use drugs, but actually on how to lead a more fulfilling and happy life without drugs. Adderall addiction treatment in Seabrook Island, SC can help an individual struggling with their dependence on Adderall begin the recovery process through a great multitude of therapies. For instance, Adderall addiction treatment in Seabrook Island, SC will typically offer several variations of treatment methods such as:

  • Group Therapy
  • Family Programs
  • Individual Therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Therapy

Adderall addiction treatment in Seabrook Island, SC may also offer the added benefit of a Holistic therapy programs. Specified holistic therapies include aspects of healing that address mind, body, and spirit such as:

  • Massage Therapy
  • Vitamin Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Healthy Meds
  • Spa Days

Whatever style of treatment offered, it is important that the individual understands that using Adderall as a means to stay awake and stay active is not a sustainable source of empowerment, and that there are so many other ways to be effective, productive, and inspired that have nothing to do with dependence on a drug. Adderall addiction treatment in Seabrook Island, SC is there to teach the addict new ways to seek out that inspiration.  Adderall addiction treatment in Seabrook Island, SC is one of many options available to those who battle with this dangerous and progressive disease that can help to change the tide for an individual who sees no way out. Prescription medication abuse is far more common now than people realize, and even more deadly than most would guess. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 and get the help to make a change. 

The Downfalls of Long Term Suboxone Treatment

Posted on August 28, 2014 By

The Downfalls of Long Term Suboxone Treatment

Many people who are in recovery will admit that long term Suboxone treatment, also called Suboxone maintenance, is a hot-button issue – dividing people into two main camps: those who are for it and those who are against it. There is, however, one thing both sides agree on: Suboxone is an excellent detox aid.

Until Suboxone, whose generic drug name is buprenorphine, was developed eight years ago, most people who wanted to kick an opiate addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers had just one option: methadone, which is administered in liquid form and dispensed methadone clinics: crowded and dismal clinics, usually located in the worst parts of town (and far away) because it is a Schedule II drug.

But Suboxone, which is a Schedule II drug, was touted as the first in a new generation of addiction treatments that would change the face of recovery by removing patients from detox and rehab centers, and into doctor’s offices where they could be prescribed the drug, in pill form and thus control where and when they took it.

As someone who tried both methadone maintenance and Suboxone maintenance before finally going to treatment and seeking what I consider to be real recovery, I will share with you what I see as the downfalls of long term Suboxone treatment:

#1. Feeling blech

I needed to take daily naps, felt sick to my stomach, and had frequent headaches while on Suboxone. If I didn’t take my next dose on time, I would begin to feel withdrawal symptoms (see #3).

#2. Financially bleeds you

Suboxone is not typically covered by insurance; it’s an out-of-pocket cash business. Therefore, doctors will encourage you to stay on it, for their own benefit, rather than educate you on alternative ways to recover.

#3. Still dependent on a substance

Suboxone is part-opiate and many people will argue that being on it is not truly being in recovery from mood and mind-altering substances. And, because it contains an opiate, you will experience withdrawal if you try to quit cold turkey. Also, it has a longer half-life, making detox from it a lot longer and more difficult than kicking heroin. In fact, I went to treatment seeking help to detox from Suboxone.

#4. Not yourself

Again, being that Suboxone is part-opiate, you are still behind that hazy veil, or in a drug stupor. Also, my experiences with it were that I was moody, irritable, and impatient.

#5. Not allowing yourself to actually heal from addiction

Switching from one opiate, such as heroin, methadone, or prescription painkillers, to another, in this case Suboxone doesn’t “heal” the neurological aspect of addiction, which is characterized in part by the phenomenon of tolerance: as long as opioids are being taken, the body decreases its production of endorphins and increases the number of receptors, which in turn, creates cravings.

#6. Surviving, not thriving

Perhaps the worst repercussion of them all, when you’re on a long term Suboxone treatment – from my personal experience and from I’ve seen and heard from others who have done it or are currently doing it – you are merely getting by. In other words, surviving.

I don’t know about you but, when I was seeking recovery, if I knew I was just going to “get by” because Suboxone would give me *some* quality of life, to be honest, I’d probably still be out there using, if not dead. That simply wouldn’t be worth it to me to get clean. Today, I work a program of recovery, which means that I’m thriving in life. I have my dream job, loving and supportive friends, good relationships with my family members, and most of all, I’m not living with that horrible empty feeling that I had become so used to. Today, I’m thriving because I have a sense of inner peace and happiness.

If you are on a Suboxone maintenance or methadone maintenance and are seeking help with detox and/or rehabilitation, help is available. There are other ways to recover that won’t leave you dependent on medication. Call us toll-free 1-800-777-9588 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist. We are available 24/7.

5 Ways to Deal with Difficult People in Recovery

Posted on August 27, 2014 By

5 Ways to Deal with Difficult People in Recovery

Sometimes the recovery community has people who are less than friendly, and sometimes ‘normal’ people find it hard to be civil, and situations become stressful. As individuals in recovery we need to be mindful of the fact that not everyone is living the program we are living, and not everyone practices the principles we practice. The atmosphere in the recovery community may even put a little more stress on people who struggle with trying to make connections with sober people, or with learning how to maintain relationships. Difficult personal situations like this can create difficult people, so we have at least 5 ways to deal with difficult people in recovery.

Avoid being selfish…

Selfishness and self-centeredness are often described as the roots to our problems as alcoholics or addicts in recovery. One of the biggest hurdles placed ahead of us is to overcome our self-seeking and inconsiderate ways, so when presented with a problem with a difficult individual, it is important we be mindful that in recovery in order for us to be of any service of to contribute in any healthy way, we have to avoid being selfish with our feelings or actions when dealing with difficult people. Also make sure you have been accountable for your own part in the dispute, and see what you are bringing to the table for a solution.

Be sympathetic to circumstances…

It is important to remember that whether someone else is sober or not, we need to be sympathetic of their circumstances. If they are in recovery as well, it is important to try and identify with that and alleviate some of the tension by making that connection and trying to show you understand. Try to share with them some of your own experience, and sympathize with them. The more a difficult person relates to you, and knows your struggles, the more likely they are to ease off of their abrasive behavior. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Stop setting expectations…

It is important that you at least practice acceptance in recovery, and setting expectations are another way we can set ourselves up for failure to communicate with difficult people. There is no growth or positive outcome from judging others or condemning their actions based off of our expectations. In recovery we learn that in reality our expectations also derive from out attempts to control everything, and this is actually closely related to being selfish.

Be straight forward with problem…

On an occasion where a difficult person is continuing to put a strain on your serenity and causing you problems, it can be safer to come forward with the problem and be assertive with how the situation is affecting you, as opposed to gaining resentment and letting the problem fester and grow in silence. Honesty is so very important in recovery, and whether the other person is in recovery or not it may be necessary to let them know that the situation is bothering you, and you need to address it before it has any kind of impact on your sobriety.

Seek out a spiritual solution…

After everything is said and done, whether the individual has been able to come around and change their behavior, seeking some kind of spiritual solution can be one of the most powerful ways to overcome a difficult situation with someone. Often times in my experience meditation and prayer have been a huge part of conflict resolution. By praying for the person, it is easier for me to accept them and the situation, and to set my own boundaries of emotional involvement without setting expectations. Looking at situations from a spiritual point of view and not a worldly point of view is not always easy, but it definitely helps.

In recovery there will be tough times, and difficult people either clean and sober or ‘normal’ and you cannot live in fear or resentment of these situations. Recovery gives us the tools and the support systems we need to face life without drinking or using drugs, because the hard times are not worth the suffering and pain of active addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

How to Quit Drinking: Everything You Need to Know

Posted on August 26, 2014 By

How to Quit Drinking: Everything You Need to Know

If you feel like your drinking has gotten a little out of hand and you want to cut back, there are a few things you can do to achieve this. For whatever your reasons, maybe it’s health concerns, maybe you’re worried about how your drinking is affecting your appearance, or it’s interfering with your relationships or the hobbies you used to enjoy. Whatever the case may be, if you think you need to cut back, that’s a good indication that your drinking has gotten to be a little more out-of-hand than you would like it to be. So, here it is…

How to Quit Drinking: Everything You Need to Know:

#1. Be aware of your alcohol intake

Look at how much you’re drinking at home. On an average night, you might be imbibing more than you realize, especially if you like a couple of beers or glasses of wine while watching TV; it can be easy to lose track.

What you can do: Replace the alcohol in your fridge with soft drinks. Fortunately for you, these days the “soft” options are numerous and more exciting than they used to be. Grocery stores are packed with all kinds of cordials, smoothies and fizzy drinks.

#2. Remember that homemade drinks are stronger than bar-made ones

Be aware of this before you pour yourself your favorite cocktail into a glass the size of a gold fish bowl.

What you can do: Buy smaller wine glasses or an alcohol measure in order to make sure you don’t drink more than you intend to.

#3. Host dinner parties at your place

That way you can control the amount of alcohol at the part or whether it’s a completely alcohol-free evening.

What you can do: Afraid your guests will think it’s lame? Don’t fret. You can entertain them by mixing up a variety of non-alcoholic ‘mocktails,’ which can make for a fun party activity, in and of itself.

#4. Opt out of rounds

Going round-for-round with your friends or drinking buddies will encourage you to drink more drinks and drink them a lot faster than you’d like or realize.

What you can do: Forego rounds or go out with a smaller group of friends instead. Set a limit for yourself and tell your friends that that’s all you plan to drink. If they are good friends, they will help hold you accountable by cutting you off at the limit you previously set.

#5. Say ‘no’ to cocktails

They usually contain more alcohol than you might realize.

What you can do: Stick to a low alcohol content beer or wine or else a spirit with club soda.

#6. Pace yourself

Pounding a couple of drinks right away, at the beginning of the night will ruin your plans to cut back in two ways. One, you will more likely end up drinking more because, when you’re feeling buzzed, you are more likely to take risks and make poor decisions, therefore you will break your commitment to yourself to drink less and, two, you will find that your buzz wears off too soon, leaving you wanting more throughout the night.

What you can do: Spread out your drinks throughout the night. This will help even out your alcohol intake and make those alcohol units go further.

#7. Less is more

Try drinking smaller amounts in a sitting.

What you can do: Instead of pints, try sipping on halves, go for a bottled beer or if you are drinking wine, opt for a smaller glass.

#8. Go diluted

Drink your alcohol mixed with a non-alcoholic beverage mixed with it.

What you can do: Pretty self-explanatory. Cut your drinks with club soda or Coke or Ginger Ale, whatever you prefer.

#9. Alternate

Keep hydrated and cut back on your alcoholic intake by alternating between alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beverages, such as soft drinks or water.

What you can do: For each alcoholic drink you have, have a soda/water or two. This will slow you down while keeping you hydrated. And this is an added bonus because it will keep you from being hungover the next day.

If none of these work, then that’s an indication that you are dealing with more than a drinking problem. Having a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol means that you may also have one or more conditions related to that condition. Namely, a substance abuse disorder and perhaps alcoholism, as well. Here’s what to do and what not to if that is the case.

Keep Calm and Admit You Have a Problem:

First of all, if, when you try to quit drinking, you experience symptoms such as the shakes, sweating, anxiety, increased heart rate, dizziness, and/or hallucinations, this means you have become dependent and are experiencing what is known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome. This is a medical condition that should be taken seriously as it can lead to seizure, coma, or even death. Therefore, you shouldn’t go ‘cold turkey’ and you definitely shouldn’t try to stop drinking on your own and by yourself.

The good news is that help is available. There are alcohol detox programs that are medical programs which are staffed by medical professionals who are trained and well-equipped to treat your alcohol withdrawal in a safe manner while keeping you comfortable and respecting your privacy. Call us toll-free 1-800-777-9588 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist today.