Though eating disorders are more common in women than in men, recent studies have shown that the percentage of men with eating disorders has increased considerably within the past decade. In fact, some specialists estimate that the percentage of men battling eating disorders is even higher than current research shows, as some men may hesitate to seek treatment or even admit to having a disorder. Many individuals attribute this hesitation to the social stigma that exists regarding male eating disorders.
Though men can be affected by the same disorders as women – such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa, binge eating, and exercise bulimia – symptoms exhibited by a man with an eating disorder often manifest differently than in a woman with the same disorder. For example, women may have an abnormal fear of gaining weight, while men tend to focus more on building muscle or having a low body fat percentage. Due to this difference, many male eating disorders are centered on excessive exercise, the abuse of steroids, and unhealthy dieting plans that may revolve around excelling at sports or a career. It is harder to diagnose an eating disorder in some men, like athletes or military personnel, who are required to maintain a specific body type, as they may not realize that they have an eating disorder. However, similarly to women, men with eating disorders may have a skewed perception of their body image.
Because eating disorders have been linked to other types of mental illness – like depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder – men and women with eating disorders may also have another psychological issue that causes them to self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol. Cyclical behavior regarding eating disorders, such as over-exercising or compulsive eating, often coexists with other addictions because the individual’s mental health is already affected by the habit-forming aspects of the eating disorder. Eating disorders alone can be considered addictions, as they often involve the suffering individual to engage in an activity compulsively, despite any harm done to themselves or others.
Eating disorders in men can be highly destructive, especially when coupled with other addictions or when treatment is not sought by the individual with the disorder. Treatment programs for eating disorders are not as readily available for men as for women, but many centers throughout the United States now offer men-only programs to alleviate some of the social stigma associated with male eating disorders.
Marijuana – a mind altering, psychoactive drug – is one of the most used drugs in the United States. Though some people do not believe that marijuana is addictive, the American Psychological Association considers marijuana addiction to be a real condition, and a percentage of people who use marijuana do become addicted to the drug. People who use the drug heavily for an extended period of time, or individuals who use marijuana and find themselves having to take more of the drug in order to achieve the same effects, are potentially addicted. Additionally, some people use other drugs in order to intensify the side effects of marijuana or produce a longer lasting “high.” This combination of drugs can amplify an individual’s addiction.
Though marijuana is not known for its addictive qualities, people who are dependent on the drug find that they need to continue taking it in order to function normally. This is partially due to the major chemical components in marijuana, which produce relaxed sensations that some users find addicting. Also, users can experience various withdrawal symptoms after they suddenly stop taking the drug. These symptoms include (but are not limited to) insomnia, anxiety, nausea, and irritability. Though the withdrawal symptoms of marijuana are less extreme than the symptoms of other types of drugs, they can be uncomfortable and last up to a week.
Treatment for marijuana addiction is important, and the causes of the addiction should be treated as seriously as those of other addictions. Treatment for marijuana addiction is usually performed in an outpatient program, and users can successfully undergo the detoxification process without medical supervision. However, if the addict is using other substances in addition to marijuana, inpatient treatment or physician assistance is usually more beneficial. In each type of treatment program, the main goal is to address the underlying causes of the addiction. After treatment has completed, it is important that the recovering addict remain consistent with the program and avoid people that may encourage drug use.
Detoxification (or “detox”) for fentanyl becomes necessary when an individual is addicted to the drug. Fentanyl is an opiate used as an analgesic to treat pain; the drug is almost 100 times more potent than morphine, and it is highly addictive – both mentally and physically. Though fentanyl is often prescribed to patients with legitimate chronic pain and is used prior to performing medical procedures, its highly addictive properties make it difficult for individuals to stop using the drug. In fact, fentanyl is more addictive than heroin because its effects last for a shorter period of time. Fentanyl derivatives that are procured unlawfully tend to be extremely potent – even more so than the drug used for medicinal purposes – and the risk of overdose in individuals taking the drug is relatively high.
Fentanyl is also dangerous because it causes severe side effects that include respiratory depression. Because the median lethal dose in humans is unknown, there is a greater risk of respiratory failure and death. Other side effects of the drug include anxiety, headaches, depression, and fatigue. In an addict, these symptoms persist or worsen in the form of withdrawal symptoms when s/he stops taking the drug. Fentanyl addicts are not only physically dependent on the drug, but they also develop a mental dependency on the drug. The physical dependence worsens the addiction, as the body’s system relies on the drug in order to maintain a state of normalcy; thus, the individual is pushed to not only continue taking the drug, but also to take higher doses of fentanyl in order to achieve the desired effects.
The intensity of this type of addiction makes the detoxification process more complex. Usually, fentanyl addicts undergo the detox process and treatment under medical supervision. Because detoxification involves removing the drug from a person’s system, it can be painful and potentially life threatening. The temptation to use the drug in order to avoid the side effects of detox can be incredibly strong, which is why physician assistance is recommended. The detoxification process for fentanyl can involve medication that lessens the withdrawal symptoms. After detox, the addict proceeds with additional treatment in order to fully recover from the mental addiction.
Interventions are held for individuals suffering from an addiction who do not believe that they have a problem or cannot face the addiction on their own. Oftentimes, interventions are a last resort: the addict has refused to get treatment, and all other options for addressing the addiction have been exhausted. Although there can be interventions for gambling, eating disorders, and other compulsive disorders, the majority of interventions are held for drug addiction or alcoholism. Due to the severity of most drug and alcohol addictions, holding interventions can mean the difference between life and death for the person suffering from the addiction.
Drug interventions can be led by professional interventionists, therapists, or family members and friends. Professional interventions are hosted by individuals who have had experience working with addicts – many of these interventionists are licensed therapists, counselors, or even physicians. There are several benefits of utilizing a professional interventionist: they have worked with addicts before; they provide an objective, third-party viewpoint; and they can act as a guide during the process. Though family members and friends are still key elements in professional drug interventions, they may not know how to approach the addict or how to manage situations that may arise.
Having a support system is an integral part of the treatment process, especially because the support of family and friends extends well beyond the intervention. It is important that the family and friends of the addict not only help him or her, but that they also educate themselves on the addiction so that they truly understand how to help and be involved in the addict’s treatment.
There are some warning signs that can help identify an individual who has a drug or alcohol addiction, including isolation, denial, personality changes, excessive alcohol or drug use, and medical problems. If someone is displaying some or all of these signs, s/he may have an addiction to drugs or alcohol that requires an intervention. A drug intervention, though it can be an immensely beneficial tool in helping someone with an addiction, is just the first step in the treatment process. However, it is one of the most important steps because it shows the addict that s/he has a real problem that needs to be addressed.
There are many different types of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating, body image issues, and compulsive overeating. While each of these eating disorders has different causes and symptoms, they can all be potentially life threatening if they remain untreated. For example, individuals suffering from anorexia can become malnourished, which can affect every system in the body, and, if left untreated, may cause death.
It is relatively common for some individuals to progress through different types of eating disorders, or undergo multiple eating disorders simultaneously. This makes treating the cause(s) behind the eating disorder – as opposed to only addressing someone’s physical actions – critical to full recovery. Treatment to help individuals overcome eating disorders is similar to that of treating an alcoholic or a drug addict: people with eating disorders are essentially “addicted” to food or overly obsessed with their body image. Their mindset is similar to an addict’s as well because they channel mental or emotional problems through their eating disorders, just as some addicts attempt to control psychological issues by abusing drugs or alcohol.
Once the root cause of the disorder has been identified, treatment for the eating disorder can progress to addressing the cause and becoming healthy again. Overcoming eating disorders can be extremely difficult, as individuals participate in the disorder to the point where it becomes ritualistic. Breaking the pattern of overeating or compulsively counting calories can present various challenges.
When attempting to overcome an eating disorder, therapists or counselors can provide valuable, objective advice. Because it is common for individuals to return to the pattern of the disorder after overcoming it, treatment is an ongoing process that requires the individual to truly be aware of the causes and triggers of his or her behavior. The support of family and friends is also helpful when trying to overcome eating disorders; a support system can help keep the person on track with his or her recovery program.
Opiates (or opioids) are extracted from opium seeds or created in laboratories, and these types of drugs are usually prescribed by physicians to treat pain. Among other drugs, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), and heroin can all be derived from opium poppy. Opiates act like endorphins in the brain; in fact, they eventually cause the body to stop producing endorphins, as they mimic the nerve cells that manufacture those types of chemicals. This results in a physical dependency on the opiates, thus potentially creating a cycle of addiction in the user. Though not all individuals who use opiates on a regular basis are addicts, the body does become dependent on the drug, and the user will experience withdrawal symptoms when s/he stops taking the drug.
The first step of most opiate treatment programs is detoxification (or “detox”). The goal of detoxification is to purge the addict’s body of the drug while controlling the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Medical supervision during this stage of the treatment program is often recommended, as addicts may find it difficult to continue with the detox process when the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms increases.
After the addict is stable and no longer physically dependent on the drug, treatment continues in order to resolve the psychological aspects of the addiction. Because opiates act as replacements for endorphins, the user may experience depression or anxiety even after the drugs have left the body’s system. The goal of treatment programs is to identify and address the underlying causes of the addiction to lessen the risk of relapse. Addicts may be successful during treatment but be unable to continue the program on their own. Thus, finding a treatment program that specifically suits the addict’s needs and lifestyle is important, as the addict will be more likely to continue with treatment if it is something that they feel is manageable and reliable. For example, a teen addict may have more success with an adventure treatment program, while an older adult may find that faith-based programs help combat the addiction. Opiate treatment programs such as these exist in numerous locations across the nation.
There are a variety of treatment options available for individuals who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Finding a successful treatment program depends on the addict and on the severity of the addiction. Though more unique programs have become increasingly popular in the past decade – such as adventure therapy and teen wilderness camps – traditional inpatient programs continue to be an effective form of rehabilitation. Also, inpatient programs can incorporate aspects of contemporary rehab, such as art and music therapy.
Some people argue that inpatient drug rehab centers are effective only until the individual leaves the facility because without the support of rehab, s/he reverts to a pre-rehab lifestyle of drug use. However, inpatient rehab centers continue to have relatively high success rates by promoting a complete treatment process that accounts for the recovering addict’s transition back to his or her previous environment. Because of the emphasis placed on a strong support system, inpatient programs can continue to positively impact the individual even after s/he has completed the course of treatment.
Inpatient drug rehabilitation facilities can offer patients a therapeutic environment that allows individuals to receive treatment without outside interference. In addition to providing an environment that encourages healing, inpatient centers pose several benefits: they remove the addict from unhealthy influences or people who may enable addictive behavior; they allow patients to have continuous medical supervision throughout the detoxification process and subsequent therapy or treatments; and they encourage long-term solutions by building a support system for patients.
The main goal of inpatient drug rehab facilities and drug treatment programs in general is to diagnose and resolve the cause(s) of an individual’s addiction. Some of the inpatient rehab methods for achieving this goal are group therapy sessions and meetings with family and friends. When attending this type of recovery program, addicts can receive the benefits of a healthy environment while still remaining connected to a support system outside of the facility.
Prescription drug addiction is not as rare as you may think; in fact, prescription medications are some of the most commonly abused drugs. There are three categories of prescription drugs, all of which can be addicting: opiates, depressants, and stimulants. Opiates are used to relieve pain. In the United States, some of the more common prescription drugs that are opiates include OxyContin, Vicodin, and Dilaudid. They are usually not considered habit-forming or addicting; however, an addiction to these prescription drugs can develop when used improperly. Because opiates slow down your breathing and heart rate, they can cause death if abused or misused.
Another type of prescription drug that can be addictive is depressants, such as Valium and Xanax. Depressants in particular are very addicting. Many people who use them rely on the drugs to achieve a feeling of normalcy; therefore, when the addict stops taking the drug, s/he can experience intense withdrawal symptoms that cause the user to continue the cycle of abuse. People who are addicted to depressants may show signs of confusion, and their personality may change dramatically.
The last category of prescription drugs is stimulants. Stimulants are normally used to help weight loss, sleeping disorders, and children with ADHD. Dexedrine, Ritalin, and Adderall are some of the more common stimulant drugs that can become addicting. Many people become addicted to stimulant prescriptions because they use them with things such as alcohol or other drugs to augment the effects.
Signs of addiction with any prescription drug are relatively similar: the addict tends to increase his or her usage or dosage of the drug; his or her behavior and appearance changes; he or she has a tendency to want to be alone and secluded from other people; he or she may want to continue using the prescription drug even after the drug is no longer medically necessary; he or she neglects responsibilities and experiences blackouts and bouts of forgetfulness; and the addict may become more sensitive to light and sound. If a person does have a prescription drug addiction and is demonstrating some or all of these addiction signs, there is help. In order to avoid possible addictions to these types of drugs, you can request an alternative form of medical treatment. Also, if you do take prescription medications, it is important to follow the course of treatment specified by a licensed medical professional and only take the drugs for the required length of time.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is very common among children today. Oftentimes it is passed down from parents to their children. Until recent years, it was believed that children would eventually grow out of it during their teen years. Today, not all children with ADHD are believed to “grow out of it,” and if they do, symptoms may persist throughout their adult lives. It takes a period of months to diagnose ADHD because you need to know what is contributing to the disorder. In most cases, a child diagnosed with ADHD is also diagnosed with at least one more behavioral problem. Children with ADHD usually display symptoms related to inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior.
Some examples of inattentiveness are that the child has difficulty following instructions, s/he often loses toys, s/he appears to be daydreaming or in another world, or s/he is easily sidetracked. Hyperactivity symptoms tend to be more visible. The child may talk excessively or constantly fidget with their hands. S/he may also have trouble keeping quiet or staying seated. Another symptom that is present in children with ADHD is impulsiveness. Children may have a sense of urgency to reply to or answer someone before a question is asked. S/he may also be very impatient and eager.
The school work or social life of a child or teen with this disorder may also become affected. They may struggle with participating in class or finishing their homework efficiently. Socially, they may not make or keep friends easily. Children with this disorder find it very hard to get along with other students.
There are treatments for ADHD that usually involve medication and therapy. However, there is a risk of addiction to the medications for ADHD. When young people have ADHD, they may abuse the medications prescribed to them or resort to using alcohol or drugs to help cope with the disorder. Using drugs or alcohol may relieve some of the symptoms of the disorder, creating the potential for dependency and addiction. Instead, some alternative methods for treating ADHD include supplements and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
Substance abuse is a general term that refers to a negative pattern of illicit substance use. The term “substance abuse” is sometimes used interchangeably with “drug abuse,” though the connotation of the word “drug” is slightly more limited. Medical professionals and authors have adopted the term “substance abuse” and use it to describe a variety of non-dependent alcohol and drug related disorders. Generally, substance abuse occurs when an individual abuses drugs and/or alcohol to his or her physical or psychological detriment. Substance abuse encompasses a wide-range of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. While the abuse of certain types of substances has decreased in recent years, the use of other drugs such as prescription medications and heroin has increased dramatically.
The causes of substance abuse vary on an individual basis, and they can range from depression and pain relief to environmental and social factors. Specific risk factors such as a genetic predisposition can significantly impact an individual’s likelihood of developing a substance abuse disorder. Increased exposure to drugs and alcohol may cause an individual to become desensitized to dangerous substances, especially in cases of children and young adults witnessing family members or authority figures abusing drugs. Other causes of substance abuse include mental and emotional disorders, physical ailments, and peer pressure. An individual may also abuse a substance without developing a physical dependency on the drug.
There are numerous treatment options for individuals suffering from substance abuse, including therapy, detoxification, inpatient and outpatient centers, and more. Depending on the needs of the individual and the type of substance being abused, medical supervision may be required in order to deal with all aspects of the substance abuse disorder. Because abusing drugs and alcohol can have both physical and psychological effects, it is important to complete a full treatment program. When treating substance abuse, the support of family and friends can serve as a crucial part of the recovery process.