How Do Drugs Affect the Body Systems?

How Do Drugs Affect the Body Systems?

Drugs affect the body in various detrimental ways. Substance use affects several body systems, and each different drug affects the body in different ways. The individual effects of substance use will vary from person to person. How a particular drug may impact you depends on factors unique to your body size, overall health, the type and amount of the drug you take, and whether you are consuming alcohol or taking other drugs at the same time. 

It is also important to remember that drugs have both short and long-term effects, including dependency, addiction, and overdose. Without addiction treatment, the most significant impact of drug addiction is overdose or death. According to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70,000 Americans died from a drug-involved overdose in 2019. 

The Negative Impacts Addiction Has on Your Physical Health

Although various drugs have different effects, there are several side effects of short and long-term substance use that are often seen regardless of one’s substance of choice. Drug use affects virtually every organ in the human body to varying degrees. 

  • Ongoing drug use progressively weakens your immune system, significantly increasing your risk for illness and infection. 
  • Most illicit (and prescription) drugs affect your heart and circulatory systems. Many affect your heart rate and alter your blood pressure. These changes can lead to heart attack, collapsed veins, and blood infections from injected drug use. 
  • Drug use impacts your digestive system causing nausea, appetite, weight changes, constipation, and stomach cancers. 
  • Many drugs affect your respiratory system by changing your respiratory rate. In some cases, effects on your lungs can lead to respiratory failure. 
  • Drugs also impact your reproductive system, liver, kidneys and have significant detrimental impacts on cognitive health and function. 

Negative Impacts Addiction Has on Your Mental Health

All drugs – including tobacco and alcohol – affect the brain’s reward circuit. These parts of the brain affect how your brain experiences and perceives joy and pleasure. Drugs target specific receptors in the brain responsible for controlling dopamine release. When they connect to dopamine receptors, it encourages higher than normal dopamine levels to be released and stay in the system. Eventually, those who struggle with addiction are unable to experience pleasure and joy without using substances. Although the initial use of drugs may be voluntary or experimental, drug use eventually alters (physically) the chemistry of your brain. These changes alter how your brain performs and can interfere with your ability to make healthy and safe choices. Over time, if the user does not seek treatment, this can lead to intense cravings, dependency, and addiction. 

In addition to physical and functional changes within the brain, addiction can alter your mental health. If you currently struggle with a pre-existing mental health condition, substance use and withdrawal can worsen your symptoms. When someone chooses to withdraw from substances, it can also trigger new mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and other significant mood changes. 

What CRC Is Doing To Help Our Clients Get Healthy

Seeking comprehensive, evidence-based addiction is a first and vital step on your journey to recovery. At Cal Recovery Center, our uniquely designed addiction treatment programs consider the unique needs of our clients. Your treatment plan not only considers your treatment needs related to your addiction but also your holistic needs as a whole person.

At CRC, our alternative treatment options and focus on your physical health help to ensure a better opportunity to attain sobriety in the healthiest manner possible. Our onsite chef provides meals focused on healthy cooking specific to your dietary needs. Part of our admissions program consists of nutritional testing to help ensure we can provide the best nutritional support throughout your stay. Your treatment program also considers any pre-existing medical or mental health conditions you may struggle with. 

Our goal at CRC is to ensure your treatment program addresses all of your treatment needs and goals. Don’t wait another day to start your recovery journey. Contact the admissions team at Cal Recovery Center today. 

The Best Self-Care for Addicts After They Leave Rehab

Mindfulness and self-care are frequently discussed hot topics today.

Mindfulness and self-care are frequently discussed hot topics today. One does not need to look too hard to read or hear about self-care and mindfulness practices, but not many understand the benefits of self-care and how these techniques can help addicts in recovery. Mindfulness practices have been a part of various lifestyle choices for well over 2,500 years. Mindfulness practices and self-care both improve mental health while promoting physical health and emotional well-being. They can also help calm the mind, helping to relieve anxiety and other emotions that may challenge your sobriety. During addiction treatment, you may have learned about mindfulness and self-care practices. Depending on your unique treatment program, some of these practices may have been integrated into your treatment plan as part of a comprehensive, holistic approach. 

Why Is It Important for Addicts To Practice Self-Care After Rehab?

Achieving sobriety and successfully completing addiction treatment is a significant accomplishment. However, it does not signal the end of your recovery journey. One of the most significant challenges many addicts in recovery face consist of challenges to your psychological mindset. Triggers, cravings, and memories of old behaviors all contribute to ongoing difficulties as you continue to pursue long-term sobriety. Continuing to work on healing the body and mind is an essential part of continued health. Self-care and mindfulness practices have proven effective in altering how the brain functions. The brain itself is an organ shaped by experience and practice. Depending on one’s behaviors and habits, that shaping can be positive or negative. Repeated engagement in negative thoughts or actions is likely to propagate your addiction. Self-care exercises allow you to intentionally and positively reshape how your brain works. Such changes can allow you more control over your thoughts and behaviors, especially those pertaining to addiction. 

Self-Care Tips for Recovering Addicts

There are many ways addicts in recovery can practice self-care. It is important to remember that during the early stages of recovery (as well as long after treatment has ended), it can be beneficial to take a moment to sit with your emotions and remind yourself of your beliefs and the reason why you chose to seek treatment. Sobriety is not always easy to maintain. There will be bumps in the road, difficulties along the way, and moments where triggering experiences may take you to the edge of relapse. It is moments like these when self-care can be so beneficial. 

In addition to some more popular self-care options such as those briefly mentioned below, simple breaks to focus on yourself and take a shower or bath, watch a movie, or read a book can allow you the time you need to disconnect from everything else and regulate your emotions. 

Many treatment programs incorporate various self-care options into their treatment plans. Some of the most common examples include exercise, yoga and meditation, and alternative therapies, including art in music therapy. These treatment opportunities not only help enhance the benefits of addiction treatment during the “actual” treatment process, but they provide skills that can be used long term. Many of these alternative treatment options that involve self-care can provide ways to keep you physically and emotionally healthy. It is important to remember that the actual activity of choice is not as important as finding the self-care option that works for you and using it when you need to calm your mind or negotiate a triggering situation. 

You Can Achieve Sobriety With the Help of California Recovery Center

Addiction is a chronic, challenging disease to overcome. Self-care can provide various options in practices you can turn to when you need help with the emotions you may experience throughout the recovery process. The best part of self-care and mindfulness practice is that it can be called upon anywhere, at any time. It does not require you to be part of a support group, participating in a therapy session, or be immersed in a recovery program. Mindfulness can be practiced sitting in your car, while taking a walk, or relaxing at the beach. Self-care is an essential part of addiction treatment aftercare programs. If you would like to learn more about self-care, and the robust aftercare programs provided at Cal Recovery, reach out to our admissions team today. 

5 Signs of Substance Abuse in a Loved

Signs of Substance Abuse in a Loved One

If you are worried about a loved one who may be struggling with substance abuse, it can be difficult to know what to do or how to help.  It can also be challenging to understand the severity of their addiction. There are several indicators you may notice that could indicate your loved one is struggling with substances. The first step in knowing how to help your loved one is understanding what to look for and what particular signs and symptoms could mean. 

5 Signs of Substance Abuse in a Loved One

Signs of addiction in a loved one often come in various forms. You may notice behavioral changes, physical changes, changes in their emotional state (psychological changes), or other differences in the way your loved one behaves or acts. Some of the most easily noticed signs of substance abuse are often physical and behavioral. 

Physical Changes 

Physical changes are perhaps the most easily noticed. Many substances, if used long-term, will alter how one presents themselves to the outside world. It is essential to understand that if your loved one struggles with an addiction, their primary concern often focuses on obtaining and using their substance of choice. Therefore, life-sustaining functions such as eating regularly, sleeping, and personal hygiene receive significantly less attention. Certain drugs can result in visible side effects to the body. For example, you may also notice changes in skin color, complexion, dental hygiene (tooth loss formal source), or the development of sores on the body. 

Behavioral Changes

There are many ways your loved ones may change behaviorally if they are addicted to substances. They may lose interest in those things they once enjoyed, such as hobbies or spending time with friends. They may also experience significant changes in mood, such as new or worsening depression and anxiety. Suppose your loved one was once very active, and you notice that they’ve suddenly become very sedentary or stop participating in physical activities they used to frequent such as going to the gym. In that case, it may be a sign that they need help. You may also notice that your formally social loved one has become much more isolated and chooses to spend time alone instead of participating in events with their friends and members of their social circles. 

Changes in Sleeping Patterns

For someone with a substance abuse problem, daily sleeping patterns can change almost daily. Depending on their substance of choice, they may sleep all the time, or they may sleep not at all. They may also keep odd hours or fall asleep in the middle of a conversation. Because various substances have different effects on the body (for example, stimulants such as methamphetamines will react differently than depressants such as alcohol), your loved one may act quite differently than you are accustomed to. Erratic changes in sleeping behaviors can indicate a negative relationship with substances and a red flag that your loved one needs to seek addiction treatment

New or Worsening Medical Conditions

New or worsening medical conditions also accompany many chronic addictions. Ongoing use of certain drugs can both cause and worsen pre existing medical conditions. If your formerly healthy loved one is suddenly spending a lot of time at the doctor’s office, it could be related to substance use. Common medical issues can include respiratory difficulties, heart disease, heart attack, digestive problems, and sexual and reproductive health problems, among others. 

Legal and Financial Troubles

As previously noted, the primary concern for someone struggling with addiction is obtaining and using their substance of choice. For many, this often leads to new or worsening legal and financial troubles. You may notice that your loved one is struggling more financially than ever before. You may also learn that they’ve been stealing money (or stealing drugs from family and friends) to satisfy their cravings. Another potential indicator of substance abuse includes new or worsening legal difficulties associated with drugs and alcohol, such as citations for possession or driving while intoxicated. 

How to Get Your Loved One Help with Addiction

If you were concerned about a loved one’s addiction and want to get some help but do not know where to start, reach out to Cal Recovery today. It is not uncommon for people to experience concern and apprehension when they think of approaching a loved one about drugs and alcohol. It is OK to be concerned about how they will react; however, it is essential to provide any assistance you can to get them what could be life-saving addiction treatment. The admissions team at Cal Recovery can help answer your questions about how to approach your loved one and provide guidance on the best ways to assist them in accepting addiction treatment. Let us help your loved one begin their journey to sobriety today. 

Get the Help You Need: Rehab for Veterans

rehab for veterans

Statistics show a disproportionate number of men and women who have served our country struggle with mental health and addiction-related disorders. Statistics provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate as about one out of ten returning veterans seen in various U.S Veteran’s Administration hospitals across the nation have a problem with alcohol or other drugs and meet the criteria for substance use disorder diagnosis. The stress often associated with training, deployment, war, and returning home may account for some of the differences between addiction rates among veterans as compared to the rest of the population. Those with multiple deployments, combat exposure, and combat-related injuries are at an even greater risk of developing substance use problems. 

Unfortunately, barriers such as stigma, confidentiality concerns, and zero-tolerance policies create difficulties in identifying and treating substance use problems in active military personnel and military veterans. For some, it can be challenging to find treatment centers where they feel safe and can open up about their experiences and how those experiences led to addictive behaviors. Without vital addiction treatment, many veterans will continue to struggle with lifelong mental and physical health challenges. 

Common Addictions Veterans Suffer From

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most prevalent types of substance use problems that present among male and female veterans include alcohol abuse, smoking, and prescription drug abuse. 

Among veterans seeking care within the Veterans Administration health system, approximately 11% meet the criteria for a diagnosis of substance use disorder that requires addiction treatment. In most cases, substance use disorder diagnoses are more common among male than female veterans. Today, alcohol use disorders are the most prevalent form of substance use disorder among military personnel.

Misuse of prescription opioids is also on the rise among military veterans. Opioids are being prescribed at increasing rates to veterans to address various conditions, including chronic pain and migraine headaches. In early 2010 the number of veterans receiving opioids medications for pain management within the VA health care system was as high as 24%, with some having prescriptions from as many as three different prescribers. The most common prescription was for oxycodone. In many cases, a co-occurring mental health diagnosis increased the probability of receiving a prescription for opioid medications. 

Illicit drug use among veterans is roughly equivalent to that of the civilian demographic. Marijuana accounts for the majority of illicit use, with other drugs accounting for less than 5% of use. The prevalence of cigarette smoking is higher among veterans (approximately 27%) than that of the civilian population. Smoking accounts for about one-quarter of cancer-related deaths among veterans who are former smokers and fifty percent of cancer-related deaths among current smokers. 

Why Veterans Benefit from a Veteran Specific Program

Military veterans, especially those who have served during times of combat, experience events and trauma unparallel to that of most civilians. For this reason, the instance of substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders (especially post-traumatic stress disorder and depression) are significantly higher among veterans. While traditional addiction treatment programs provide comprehensive, evidence-based care, they are not necessarily designed to treat the root causes of the difficulties many veterans face. 

Choosing a veteran’s specific program ensures the veteran is surrounded by like-minded individuals who have experienced similar events and struggles. Also, individual and group counseling sessions are designed to address traumatic experiences and events that civilians may not be familiar with as the root causes of their addiction may differ from those of a veteran who served on the front lines of conflict. If you or a loved one are a veteran struggling with addiction or experiencing the mental health struggles that often lead to addiction, reach out to Cal Recovery today. Our experienced team of treatment providers can help you begin your journey to sobriety in a veteran-specific program designed to meet the unique needs of our servicemen and women. 

How to Talk to a Drug Addict About Their Addiction

How to Talk to a Drug Addict About Their Addiction

Whether it’s a struggle with opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, or another drug, addiction impacts the lives of millions of Americans every year. Today addiction is viewed as a disease that compels someone to repeatedly use or seek to use substances despite any adverse consequences resulting from their addiction. Fortunately, as society learns more about addiction and the struggles those with addiction (and their loved ones) face, the stigma around addiction and addiction treatment has started to wane. But it wasn’t always this way. For many years, addiction was viewed as a moral failing or a conscious choice. Many believed those who became addicted (or remained addicted) to substances did so by choice. This unfortunate misconception made it challenging and sometimes impossible to talk about addiction. 

Signs My Loved One Is Addicted to Drugs

Today over twenty-one million Americans have at least one addiction, and thousands die each year due to overdose or other drug-related events. To best help someone struggling with addiction, it is essential to know what addiction looks like. Recognizing addiction’s signs and symptoms is the first step towards helping your loved one get to rehab. There are several signs of addiction, including behavioral, physical, and psychological. Although how these present in each person will vary widely, certain indicators are often present to varying degrees. 

Behavioral Signs

Behavioral signs of addiction are those things that involve one’s relationships with substances outside of physical and emotional difficulties. Some of the most common include obsessing about using or obtaining substances, disregarding the harm using causes (to themselves or others), denial, hiding their drug use, stealing money or drugs, and other increased legal or financial difficulties. 

Physical Signs

Physical signs are those that are often visible to the outside world. They may present as side effects of use or as signs related to withdrawal. Common physical signs of use include weight changes, changes in sleeping patterns, unkempt appearance, gastric disturbances, slurred speech or lack of coordination, and changes in pupil size.

Psychological Signs

Ongoing addiction can result in significant emotional difficulties. For some, this can present as anger, hostility, and aggression. Others may experience worsening or new mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. 

In addition to looking different for each unique individual, specific drugs may present unique symptoms. It can be challenging to determine if particular symptoms are related to addiction, overdose, or withdrawal. The best chances for sobriety and success come with early and comprehensive addiction treatment. 

How to Talk to a Drug Addict About Their Addiction

Trying to help a loved one struggling with addiction can be difficult and emotionally challenging. Unlike a physical health condition where outcomes and symptoms are often clear, someone with an addiction may not recognize the true danger of their illness or understand the risk associated with ignoring it or attempting to recover without help. It is essential to remember that your loved one must recognize their addiction before understanding the value of rehab. Next, they must be ready and willing to address their addiction. 

The first step in talking to someone about addiction is to do so in a way that is not intimidating. For example, begin by approaching them one-one instead of staging an intervention. Find a time when you can talk without distractions or interruptions. Be honest about your fears and concerns but do so without placing blame or using accusations. Keep in mind that they may not be ready or willing to hear your thoughts right away but let them know you are available and willing to listen. If they become defensive, let it go for the time being. Do use threats or shame but consider talking with other family members about planning an intervention for a later date. 

Let Cal Recovery Center Do the Heavy Lifting

It can be hard to approach the subject of addiction with a loved one on your own. If you are concerned about a loved one who may be struggling with addiction to drugs, reach out to Cal Recovery’s kind and caring team today. Let our admission staff guide you and provide advice as to how to approach the idea of addiction treatment with your loved one. The best opportunity for sobriety comes with early, individualized, comprehensive addiction treatment such as that found at our northern California Rehab. If you are concerned about a friend or a loved one, don’t wait another day. Reach out to Cal Recovery today