How Drug Addiction Affects Relationships

What is Codependency?

When a person is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, family and other close relationships can be vital in helping the person to overcome the addiction, providing emotional support, motivation, and practical help throughout the treatment and recovery process.

However, some relationships can have the opposite effect, resulting in the increased potential that the individual will either never get help or relapse even after receiving effective, research-based treatment.

Codependency is one of the relationship issues that can lead to these results. When a person is struggling with addiction or substance abuse, having a loved one who is codependent can make it more challenging to quit. In addition, the codependent individual can make it difficult to stick to the post-treatment plan, resulting in relapse and a return to destructive, drug-abusing behavior.

The Palms Recovery is in-network with many insurance companies and your treatment could be free depending on your policy and deductible.

What is Codependency?

As described in an article from Psych Central, codependency defines a relationship in which one partner has extreme physical or emotional needs, and the other partner spends most of their time responding to those needs, often to the detriment of the codependent partner’s life, activities, and other relationships. Codependency can result in a difficult spiral in which the codependent partner cares for and enables the loved one’s challenges, making it easier for the loved one to maintain challenging or destructive behaviors.

Symptoms of codependency include:

  • Low self-esteem: The codependent person may feel unlovable outside of the relationship role and depends on the opinions of other people to feel personal, positive self-worth.
  • People-pleasing: The opinions of other people have a great deal of weight for the codependent individual. This person will do anything to make sure others have a positive opinion of them. The person may feel intense guilt or an inability to say “no” to others.
  • Caretaking: The person feels a primary need to care for others, often at the expense of self-care; in extreme situations, the person doesn’t feel secure or comfortable unless needed.
  • Unhealthy, or absence of, boundaries: The codependent person may not have a sense of boundaries, either for oneself or others. These individuals may offer unwanted advice, feel responsible for other people’s feelings, or want to manipulate or control others in order to feel secure.
  • Obsession with relationships: Because the codependent person feels defined by relationships, they may become an obsessive focus for the individual; on the other hand, actual relationships may lack emotional intimacy.

Codependency and Drug Abuse

Codependency does not necessarily occur with drug abuse, but it was first recognized in relation to family members of people struggling with alcoholism, as explained by Mental Health America. Codependency is commonly found in those who have close relationships with people who struggle with addiction. It can manifest in multiple ways:

  • Partners who are both abusing drugs
  • Close adult family members or significant others of individuals using drugs
  • Children of people who are abusing or addicted to drugs

The codependent partner in the relationship is not necessarily a spouse. In fact, Psychology Today explains how to recognize codependent behavior in children. Often, children of people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol become codependent, especially when an addiction has gone so far that the child feels the need to take on a caretaker role with the parent.

Negative Effects and Risks for the Codependent Partner

When a person is in a codependent relationship with someone who is abusing drugs, both individuals may experience multiple negative effects and even risks based on the situation. For example, a study from the journal Science and Collective Health indicates that there can be serious implications not only to the family dynamics surrounding codependent relationships but also to the health of the codependent individual. Some of these risks include:

  • Loss of relationships with those outside the codependent relationship
  • Inability to keep up with other responsibilities outside of the codependent relationship

Codependency generally results in the individual working so hard to care for the addicted loved one that the codependent individual’s needs are neglected, which can also result in poor health, low self-esteem, depression, and other mental and physical consequences.

Negative Effects and Risks for the Addicted Partner

As for the person struggling with substance abuse, the codependent relationship can also have severe consequences on the addiction itself as well as on potential treatment outcomes. First and foremost, the codependent relationship serves as an enabling influence in a person’s life. The codependent person may want to help their loved one, but at the same time, they may subconsciously fear that the other person won’t need the codependent person anymore if the addiction is resolved. This tends to thwart any truly effective attempts to get help, leaving the loved one continuing to struggle with addiction and with the physical and mental health risks it creates.

A study from the International Journal of Culture and Mental Health states that this factor can also be a risk if treatment is undertaken. Because the codependent partner feels dependent on the addiction to maintain the relationship, returning to the relationship as usual after treatment can actually increase the risk of relapse for the addicted partner. For this reason, codependence should be considered as part of the individual’s treatment plan when the person enters a rehab program.

Codependency Treatment for Drug Abuse

Because of the issues described above, when a person who is struggling with addiction is also in a codependent relationship, this should be taken into account for treatment. There are elements of research-based treatment programs that can help both partners in the codependent relationship; for example, a study from Substance Abuse and Misuse demonstrates that having addiction treatment professionals work with the addicted person’s family members to modify codependent behaviors can have lasting effects even after addiction treatment is completed.

In more severe cases of codependency, it can be helpful for the codependent partner to seek their own treatment program. Psychiatric professionals can provide behavioral and personal therapy to improve the codependent individual’s self-image and ability to set goals, define needs, and draw boundaries that make it possible to have a stronger sense of self-worth, deeper emotional intimacy, and healthier relationships. The Palms Recovery provides you with all the support and resources you’ll need in treatment, outpatient, and for the rest of your life! No matter what your challenges will or what will be, you’ll never be alone.  Make the call 844-80-PALMS your time is now!

More and more service animals—specifically dogs— are being spotted everywhere we go.  Service animals are very useful in helping individuals with the various things they struggle with.  Service dogs or service animals are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “dogs (or other animal species) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.” The disabilities stated include blindness, deafness, loss of limb and paralysis, as well as physical diseases such as epilepsy and diabetes. Further, service animals called “emotional support animals” can help with emotional illnesses such as anxiety and can comfort those with emotional or mental illnesses. The National Service Animal Registry has been the main database for the United States for many decades, beyond the 1990s.  

SERVICE ANIMALS AND RECOVERY: HOW THEY CONNECT

More and more service animals—specifically dogs— are being spotted everywhere we go.  Service animals are very useful in helping individuals with the various things they struggle with.  Service dogs or service animals are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “dogs (or other animal species) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.” The disabilities stated include blindness, deafness, loss of limb and paralysis, as well as physical diseases such as epilepsy and diabetes. Further, service animals called “emotional support animals” can help with emotional illnesses such as anxiety and can comfort those with emotional or mental illnesses.

The ADA National Network defines a service animal as “Any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals.”

“The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to:”

  • Assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks.
  • Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds.
  • Providing non-violent protection or rescue work.
  • Pulling a wheelchair.
  • Assisting an individual during a seizure.
  • Alerting individuals to the presence of allergens.
  • Retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone.
  • Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities.
  • Helping individuals with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

Specifically, service animals are trained to do things in certain aspects of life that a disabled person can’t. For instance, these animals can get clothes, open doors, navigate routes, etc.  Even more amazing is the animals that help individuals deal with seizures, anxiety, diabetes, or even OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).  These animals are trained to know and sense the beginning of a medical episode and warn individuals so they can take measures to prevent or lessen what is about to happen.  Having a service animal can reduce stress, soothe individuals, and for many individuals-having a service animal can give emotional support.

Service Animals and Recovery

Studies are showing more and more that service animals could positively impact those delaying with addiction recovery.  This good news shows that the soothing impact of an animal companion can stop triggers, can sense oncoming anxiety attacks, and many more things to benefit those in recovery.

Many service animals help addicts make it through recovery one day at a time.  Taking care of someone else needs is also good for those in recovery and feeling unconditionally loved gives them an immense amount of support in return.  The reciprocal relationship of having an animal that is helping to take care of an addict while the addict takes care of the animal is shown to be very beneficial.  Service animals don’t judge based on a person’s past and are more than happy to forge a new future together with those they are helping through recovery.  Many find that having a service animal is the final piece that gives them purpose as well as hope during their addiction recovery.

Knowing how to register an emotional support animal isn’t common knowledge. What is an emotional support dog? That’s a question you may need to answer when someone approaches you while you’re with your emotional support animal (ESA). It’s a great opportunity to educate others on how ESAs help and comfort people who deal with certain disabilities. One thing you’ll want to take care of as soon as possible is to register your support animal. 

The Palms Recovery wants to see individuals succeed. We’re here and open to help you achieve your best life today! Call us anytime at 1-844-80-PALMS

Treating Heroin Addiction

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”

How Is Heroin Used?

Heroin can be injected, inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or smoked. All three routes of administration deliver the drug to the brain very rapidly, which contributes to its health risks and to its high risk for addiction, which is a chronic relapsing disease caused by changes in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter the consequences.

What Are the Other Health Effects of Heroin?

Heroin abuse is associated with a number of serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV (see box, “Injection Drug Use and HIV and HCV Infection”). Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, constipation and gastrointestinal cramping, and liver or kidney disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health of the user as well as from heroin’s effects on breathing.

What are the treatments for heroin addiction?

A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin addiction, including both behavioral and pharmacological (medications). Both approaches help to restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior, resulting in increased employment rates and lower risk of HIV and other diseases and criminal behavior. Although behavioral and pharmacologic treatments can be extremely useful when utilized alone, research shows that for some people, integrating both types of treatments is the most effective approach.


Pharmacological Treatment (Medications)

Scientific research has established that pharmacological treatment of opioid addiction increases retention in treatment programs and decreases drug use, infectious disease transmission, and criminal activity.

When people addicted to opioids first quit, they undergo withdrawal symptoms (pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting), which may be severe. Medications can be helpful in this detoxification stage to ease craving and other physical symptoms, which often prompt a person to relapse. While not a treatment for addiction itself, detoxification is a useful first step when it is followed by some form of evidence-based treatment.

Medications developed to treat opioid addiction work through the same opioid receptors as the addictive drug, but are safer and less likely to produce the harmful behaviors that characterize addiction. Three types of medications include (1) agonists, which activate opioid receptors; (2) partial agonists, which also activate opioid receptors but produce a smaller response; and (3) antagonists, which block the receptor and interfere with the rewarding effects of opioids. A particular medication is used based on a patient’s specific medical needs and other factors. Effective medications include:

  • Methadone (Dolophine® or Methadose®) is a slow-acting opioid agonist. Methadone is taken orally so that it reaches the brain slowly, dampening the “high” that occurs with other routes of administration while preventing withdrawal symptoms. Methadone has been used since the 1960s to treat heroin addiction and is still an excellent treatment option, particularly for patients who do not respond well to other medications. Methadone is only available through approved outpatient treatment programs, where it is dispensed to patients on a daily basis.
  • Buprenorphine (Subutex®) is a partial opioid agonist. Buprenorphine relieves drug cravings without producing the “high” or dangerous side effects of other opioids. Suboxone® is a novel formulation of buprenorphine that is taken orally or sublingually and contains naloxone (an opioid antagonist) to prevent attempts to get high by injecting the medication. If an addicted patient were to inject Suboxone, the naloxone would induce withdrawal symptoms, which are averted when taken orally as prescribed. FDA approved buprenorphine in 2002, making it the first medication eligible to be prescribed by certified physicians through the Drug Addiction Treatment Act. This approval eliminates the need to visit specialized treatment clinics, thereby expanding access to treatment for many who need it. In February 2013, the FDA approved two generic forms of Suboxone, making this treatment option more affordable.
  • Naltrexone (Depade® or Revia®) is an opioid antagonist. Naltrexone blocks the action of opioids is not addictive or sedating, and does not result in physical dependence; however, patients often have trouble complying with the treatment, and this has limited its effectiveness. An injectable long-acting formulation of naltrexone (Vivitrol®) recently received FDA approval for treating opioid addiction. Administered once a month, Vivitrol® may improve compliance by eliminating the need for daily dosing.

Behavioral Therapies

The many effective behavioral treatments available for heroin addiction can be delivered in outpatient and residential settings. Approaches such as contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown to effectively treat heroin addiction, especially when applied in concert with medications. Contingency management uses a voucher-based system in which patients earn “points” based on negative drug tests, which they can exchange for items that encourage healthy living. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is designed to help modify the patient’s expectations and behaviors related to drug use and to increase skills in coping with various life stressors. An important task is to match the best treatment approach to meet the particular needs of the patient.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, cocaine is an illegal drug. As a street drug, cocaine looks like a fine, white, crystal powder. Street dealers often mix it with things like cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour to increase profits. They may also mix it with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine.

How do people use cocaine?

People snort cocaine powder through the nose, or they rub it into their gums. Others dissolve the powder in water and inject it into the bloodstream. Some people inject a combination of cocaine and heroin, called a Speedball.
Another popular method of use is to smoke cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal (also called “freebase cocaine”). The crystal is heated to produce vapors that are inhaled into the lungs. This form of cocaine is called Crack, which refers to the crackling sound of the rock as it’s heated.
People who use cocaine often take it in binges—taking the drug repeatedly within a short time, at increasingly higher doses—to maintain their high.

What are the health effects of cocaine use?

Short-term health effects of cocaine include:

  • extreme happiness and energy
  • mental alertness
  • hypersensitivity to sight, sound, and touch
  • paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others

Some long-term health effects of cocaine depend on the method of use and include the following:

  • snorting: loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, frequent runny nose, and problems with swallowing.
  • consuming by mouth: severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow.
  • needle injection: higher risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases. However, even people involved with non-needle cocaine use place themselves at a risk for HIV because cocaine impairs judgment, which can lead to risky sexual behavior with infected partners

Can a person overdose on cocaine?

Yes, a person can overdose on cocaine. An overdose occurs when the person uses too much of a drug and has a toxic reaction that results in serious, harmful symptoms or death. An overdose can be intentional or unintentional.
Death from overdose can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. Many people who use cocaine also drink alcohol at the same time, which is particularly risky and can lead to overdose. Others mix cocaine with heroin, another dangerous—and deadly—combination.

Some of the most frequent and severe health consequences leading to overdose involve the heart and blood vessels, including irregular heart rhythm and heart attacks, and the nerves, including seizures and strokes.

How can a cocaine overdose be treated?
Because cocaine overdose often leads to a heart attack, stroke, or seizure, first responders and emergency room doctors try to treat the overdose by treating these conditions, with the intent of:

  • restoring blood flow to the heart (heart attack)
  • restoring oxygen-rich blood supply to the affected part of the brain (stroke)
  • stopping the seizure

How does cocaine use lead to addiction?

As with other drugs, repeated use of cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward circuit and other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. The reward circuit eventually adapts to the excess dopamine brought on by the drug. As a result, people take stronger and more frequent doses to achieve the same high and feel relief from initial withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • depression
  • fatigue
  • increased appetite
  • unpleasant dreams and insomnia
  • slowed thinking

How can people get treatment for cocaine addiction?

Behavioral therapy may be used to treat cocaine addiction. Examples include:

  • cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • contingency management, or motivational incentives—providing rewards to patients who remain substance-free
  • therapeutic communities—drug-free residences in which people in recovery from substance use disorders help each other to understand and change their behaviors

While no government-approved medicines are currently available to treat cocaine addiction, researchers are testing some treatments, including:

  • disulfiram (used to treat alcoholism)
  • modafinil (used to treat narcolepsy—a disorder characterized by uncontrollable episodes of deep sleep)
  • lorcaserin (used to treat obesity)