First 30 Days Blog

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Three Common Types of Addiction: Spotting the Signs and Getting Help

JennaSmithAddiction is a touchy subject; even though most people have been affected by it in some form, open communication about this disease is rare. And while discussing substance abuse and addiction can be uncomfortable, an honest approach can help in both the treatment and prevention of this all-encompassing illness. As someone who has suffered the secondhand effects of addiction, I think communication, honesty and awareness are key in addressing the issue. Below, I’ve outlined three common types of addiction in the United States. With the information provided, you can spot the signs of addiction, and encourage your friend or loved one to seek the help they so desperately need and deserve.

Addiction to Prescription Drugs

Sadly, many drugs deemed safe are associated with dependence and addiction. Of these medications, the most commonly abused include prescription pain-relievers like Vicodin and OxyContin, and anti-anxiety drugs like Valium and Xanax. And while symptoms of abuse and addiction may vary, they usually include the following signs:

  • Constricted pupils.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Falling asleep or “nodding” at odd times.
  • Depression, anxiety and aggression.
  • Obtaining multiple prescriptions from different doctors, also known as “doctor shopping.”
  • Using illegal or immoral methods to obtain prescription drugs, e.g., lying about pain or other symptoms, theft, forgery, etc.
  • The onset of withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued. These typically include nausea, vomiting, chills, aches and other flu-like symptoms.

If you or someone you love is addicted to prescription drugs, failure to seek immediate treatment can result in complications like prolonged addiction, overdose, organ damage, an increased risk of hepatitis and other diseases, relationship problems, legal and financial difficulties and other harmful effects. Treatment for prescription drug abuse usually entails intensive psychological counseling, as well as supervised detox, aftercare and more.

Sex Addiction

Sex addiction, also known as hypersexuality or compulsive sexual behavior, is associated with obsessive sexual thoughts or behaviors, to the extent that it affects one’s relationships, professional life and more. In individuals with compulsive sexual behaviors, multiple partners are common, as is the habitual use of pornography and an inability to feel satisfied from normal sexual encounters. What’s more, these individuals often engage in risky sex acts, as well as fantasies and behaviors that may be considered inappropriate, immoral or even illegal.

Even given the extreme nature of sex addiction, spotting the symptoms isn’t always easy. If you suspect a loved one of compulsive sexual behavior, approaching the subject is crucial to their health and well-being. Without treatment, individuals with this disease are prone to complications like the transmission of disease, relationship difficulties, problems at work, unwanted pregnancies and more. Treating sex addiction typically involves psychotherapy, couples counseling, behavior modification and other psychological approaches. What’s more, sex addiction therapy for men and women is typically the same, and is designed to promote healthy sexual behaviors and improved quality of life.

Alcoholism

Alcoholism may not be a new problem, but it’s one that still permeates our society and affects individuals of all ages. What’s more, in addition to prolonged alcoholism, binge-drinking among teens and young adults is also an important issue. Indeed, binge-drinking can lead to effects like organ failure and death, as well as risky sexual behaviors and an increased risk of physical injury.

Like other addictions, spotting the signs of alcohol abuse can be tricky. If you notice that a friend or loved one is drinking too frequently or too heavily, uses alcohol as a means to deal with other problems, drinks alone, or allows alcohol to affect other areas of his or life, suggesting treatment is recommended. And while treatment measures can vary, they usually include a detox from alcohol and other addictive substances, intensive counseling, behavior modification techniques and more.

Having close friends and family members who have suffered the from substance abuse and addiction, I know how hard it can be to cope with the effects and complications of this disease. Hopefully, with the information provided here, you’re better equipped to seek help, recover from addiction, and lead a healthy life, free from the terrible effects of substance abuse.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on April 26th, 2014 in Family, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories | 1 comments

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