Books for Parents of Substance Abusers

Books for Parents of Substance Abusers

Getting Help for Children Who Use Drugs or Alcohol

Across the U.S., millions of preteens and teenagers drink or take drugs at least occasionally. Significant numbers of younger children are also involved in some form of substance use. Compared to adults, children are more susceptible to the major risks of using drugs and alcohol. They also have additional risks that are not a factor for adults.

Having a child who drinks or takes drugs is a cause for serious alarm. In this situation, you naturally want to do as much as possible to help your affected loved one. One key step is following the advice of verified addiction and substance treatment specialists. Among other places, you can find this advice in expert-recommended books and other resources for parents of substance abusers.

Why Read About Substance Use Disorders and Addictive Behaviors

Knowledge is power when it comes to helping your substance-using child. The more you know, the better your ability to understand what is happening to your loved one. You also have a better chance of responding to your child’s substance use in effective, supportive ways.

Reading is an excellent way to educate yourself about substance problems and addiction. Potential sources of useful information include:

  • Addiction specialists
  • Public health experts
  • Other parents who have faced similar situations
  • Books and articles from the wider substance recovery community

What to Read If Your Child Suffers From Addiction

All children who drink or take drugs are at-risk for addiction. Addicted children no longer use drugs or alcohol voluntarily. Instead, they have a chronic brain disease that leads to involuntary substance use.

What should you read if your child suffers from addiction? As a rule, the most reliable sources are federal public health officials. These officials belong to organizations dedicated to providing accurate information on addiction-related topics. One top federal source is the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA. NIDA features a resource page geared toward both parents and teachers. This page includes:

  • Information on the most commonly abused substances
  • Advice on how to talk to your kids about substance use
  • Links to a vast range of relevant articles and guides
  • Dozens of short, informative videos

 

What to Read If Your Child Suffers From Addiction

NIDA also offers much more detailed information on addiction-related topics. One key publication is the short book Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment – A Research-Based Guide. This online book:

  • Explains the general principles of effective treatment
  • Answers common questions about addiction and its treatment
  • Describes the treatments used for specific forms of addiction
  • Identifies treatments that are especially helpful for teenagers

 

Another excellent source of information is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA. SAMHSA offers more than 100 publications designed specifically for parents and other caregivers.

Online Resources Related to Staging an Intervention

An intervention is designed to provide effective help for anyone caught up in substance abuse. When performed properly, it can encourage your child to seek needed recovery support. However, when performed improperly, it can have the opposite effect.

A well-designed intervention requires detailed planning. For this reason, you must choose your online sources of intervention information very carefully. One of the best online guides comes from the Mayo Clinic. This guide provides comprehensive advice on topics such as:

  • Relying on professional help when making your intervention plan
  • Creating a team of people to carry out an intervention
  • Deciding what to say during an intervention
  • Holding the actual intervention
  • Taking follow-up measures after an intervention

Titles That Look at Drugs and Addiction in America

A quick Google search will bring up countless titles of books that look at drugs and addiction in America. Some of these books take a historical perspective. Others look at current aspects of drug use and addiction. Still others offer advice on how to help teens affected by addiction.

How can you wade through this sea of information? After all, in today’s world, anyone can write a book and publish it online or in print. Some of these authors are acknowledged experts in their field. However, others may have little expertise to offer, if any. How can you tell the difference?

One thing you can do is consider the credentials of a given book’s author. Do they have a background in the subject they are covering? Do they have academic positions or work for organizations that specialize in addiction-related topics? What do reputable reviewers have to say about a given book? These kinds of questions can help you separate reliable authors from those whose advice may be less valuable.

Books From the Alcohol and Recovery Support Community

Books written by members of the alcohol and recovery support community can also be useful. The authors of these books typically:

  • Have children or other loved ones who have been affected by addiction
  • Speak from personal experience rather than from formal expertise

 

Recovery Support Community

Dozens of publications in this category are released every year. There is a good chance that you can find one suitable for your current situation. The right book may:

  • Offer timely advice
  • Help you gain a better perspective on your situation
  • Direct you toward important treatment resources

Fentanyl and Harm Reduction Reading Resources

Harm reduction is an approach designed to prevent overdoses and other severe outcomes of substance use. Today, public health officials sometimes take this approach to help people using the powerful opioid fentanyl. Why? Fentanyl use inevitably comes with a very real chance of experiencing an overdose. Harm reduction can potentially help lower your child’s overdose risks.

A variety of reliable online resources cover the topics of fentanyl and harm reduction. Some of these resources are provided by federal public health experts. Many state governments also provide similar resources.

Reading Materials for Kids With Addicted Parents

Children in communities across America grow up with parents affected by addiction. You may know teens or younger children in this situation. If so, you may want to provide them with helpful, supportive reading materials. You will find informative brochures on this topic at SAMHSA. The nonprofit organization Common Sense Media also provides a listing of recommended books for kids with addicted parents.

Finding Effective Treatment for a Loved One at Pathfinders

Resources for parents and loved ones of addicted individuals come in a variety of forms. Some of the most sought-after resources are books for parents of substance abusers. Books of this type can help you understand addiction’s effects on your child. They can also help you respond to your child’s needs in ways that support their eventual recovery.

Generally speaking, public health officials are the most reliable sources of information. However, you may get crucial help from other knowledgeable professionals. Books written by members of the recovery community may also offer important support and advice.

In addition to reading up on addiction, you must help your child enter an effective treatment program. At Pathfinders, we specialize in the treatment of all forms of substance addiction. No matter how your loved one is affected by addiction, our customized care will help them recover. We can also help your loved one recover from mental illnesses that often occur in people with substance problems. Ready to get the process started? Call us today to learn more about our available inpatient and outpatient treatment options.

What Is the Most Addictive Drug?

Most Addictive Drug

In a world where dozens of substances exist that cause an entire range of side effects associated with addiction, one of the most commonly pondered questions is “what is the most addictive drug?” Finding a definitive answer to this question is all but impossible, considering how relative addictions can be.

The science and medical worlds would disagree, considering the physical markers and battery of tests conducted on participants over the years. Readings of different brain chemicals and the way our body responds to abuse do show some pretty hard evidence as far as how addictive certain drugs can be.

However, the scientific and medical term is better served using the description of “physical dependence” than addiction. Addiction is far too mental to produce a definitive number one in this category.

A check of multiple sources produces multiple definitions, each with different wording or their own twist on the term:

Source 1: An addiction is a chronic dysfunction of the brain system that involves reward, motivation, and memory. It’s about how your body craves a substance or behavior, especially if it causes a compulsive or obsessive pursuit of “reward” and a lack of concern over consequences.

Source 2: Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.

By most definitions, addiction can stem from several different sources and isn’t limited to alcohol or illegal substances. People can develop habits with something as simple as Diet Coke.

Although the severity of the addiction is ultimately determined by the eyes or mind of the user, we attempt to make sense of this question in the following article.

What Is the Most Addictive Drug?

The answer to the question of “what is the most addictive drug?” depends on who you ask and the criteria you use to judge the addiction. Is it based on how often the user abuses the drug? Is it based on how much a user will go through to obtain the substance? Or is it answered based on the severity of withdrawal, using a combination of the drug’s grip on the mind and body.

If you’re using the latter to answer the question, technically, the most addictive drugs, not a drug, would probably be a three-way tie between alcohol, nervous-system sedatives, and opioids. Technically, we could cut that list down to two because alcohol can be grouped as a nervous system depressant.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin and prescription painkillers, while central nervous system depressants include alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates.

Opioid addiction is characterized by compulsive drug use despite adverse consequences to one’s health, finances, or relationships. This leads to tolerance—when users must take more significant amounts of the drug to get high—and withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it abruptly or after prolonged use.

Central nervous system depressant addiction often occurs when someone uses these substances for recreational purposes but becomes dependent upon them over time due primarily to their soothing effects on areas within the brain responsible for regulating emotions and behavior. Users often get wrapped up in a cycle of using these substances to numb certain feelings.

In addition, they also have the most severe withdrawal symptoms, with nervous system depressants edging opioids slightly in this category. And they all have a high rate of relapse. In addition, the consensus of most users would be that these two are indeed the most addictive drugs.

But that’s if you ask people who have struggled with these drugs – people who preferred them. Plenty of people tried both categories of these drugs and didn’t enjoy them, instead maybe leaning toward cocaine or amphetamine.

To this demographic of the drug user, cocaine and methamphetamine would be the most addictive drugs. This makes this question so difficult to answer with any level of certainty.

What Makes a Drug Addictive?

What makes a drug addictive? This question is a little easier to answer but may vary from person to person. However, the core driving factors typically remain the same in nearly every instance of addiction.

Typically, addiction begins subconsciously, usually by blocking or correcting a negative feeling or emotion an individual has. It could be insecurity, guilt, anger, or several other issues.

A large majority of the time, individuals aren’t even aware that they’re participating in the abuse to mask or bury the feeling. However, dependence takes hold after a significant period of use, mental and sometimes physical.

During the early abuse period, the substance in question is causing an explosion of certain chemicals in the brain. Dopamine, serotonin, and other chemicals, released in large amounts, cause the euphoric feeling or “high” users chase.

However, after an extended period of the drug driving the release of these chemicals, the body cannot produce them naturally and relates the dispensing of these chemicals with the ingestion of the drug. Eventually, the user takes  the medication to maintain a somewhat average level.

Now, what about types of addictive substances?

Categories of Addictive Substances

Categories of Addictive Substances

 

There are several categories of addictive substances. Each of these categories seems to have its unique, addictive properties and potential level of severity. At the minimum, they can be distinguished by their levels of physical addiction or lack thereof.

  • Stimulants: Amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine
  • Inhalants: Spray paint, antifreeze, nitrous oxide
  • Cannabinoids: Marijuana, hash, wax
  • Depressants: Benzos, anti-depressants, barbiturates, alcohol
  • Opioids: Heroin, methadone, fentanyl
  • Steroids: Various performance-enhancing drugs, human growth hormone
  • Hallucinogens: LSD, PCP, DMT, Psylocibin mushrooms
  • Prescription drugs: Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, morphine

 

With such a variety of categories, how would we even begin to determine the most addictive substance?

How to Determine the Most Addictive Drug

Determining the most addictive drug is difficult because of the varying viewpoints. However, you can use two approaches when attempting to answer this question.

Using a scientific or medical approach to reach the answer would require looking at past data. Noting things like which drugs altered brain chemicals the most, which drug produced the most intense detox period, and other evidence-based conclusions would give you the popular answer for the most addictive drug.

The other approach requires a personal testament from specific users of various addictive substances. However, it’s not incorrect to assume that a large majority of personal opinions would point toward heroin or another opioid being the most addictive.

This also matches with scientific and medical data and is further intensified by the fact that we’re currently in the middle of an epidemic.

The Most Physically Addictive Drug

The most physically addictive drug isn’t as difficult of a question to answer. However, this spot is shared by three substances.

Alcohol, benzos, and opioids are the clear winners regarding the most physically addictive drugs. They all produce life-threatening, painful withdrawals and almost always require medically assisted detox.

The Most Psychologically Addictive Drug

This is another matter of opinion answer and garners many different results. However, many argue that methamphetamine is the most psychologically addictive drug.

The primary reason for this widespread opinion is the numerous cases of psychosis triggered by methamphetamine abuse. Typically, it takes prolonged use of methamphetamine to begin experiencing symptoms of psychosis.

However, more recent, highly concentrated batches of crystal meth are causing psychosis after only a month or two of abuse. In addition, overdose cases of methamphetamine have steadily increased after being almost non-existent for over a decade.

The Top 5 Most Addictive Drugs

The argument over which drugs are the most addictive will likely be perpetual as long as abuse exists among the population. However, a list of the five most addictive drugs is probably more agreed upon, only in varying orders.

The top five most addictive drugs, in our opinion, are as follows:

1. Heroin/Fentanyl

Heroin and fentanyl may not have the severity level when it comes to withdrawals as benzos, but they seem far more prone to quick addiction and abuse. One look at the numbers of fentanyl overdose deaths and the use statistics give insight into the grave situation that is the opioid epidemic.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol has the number two spot for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the most widely abused drug out of all other options and is more accessible because of its legality. Two, the withdrawal symptoms are dangerous, potentially causing life-threatening side effects. Alcohol is tough to detox from without the help of medical professionals.

3. Cocaine/Crack

Cocaine Dependence and Addiction

 

Crack was an easy pick for the list and has been a staple among discussions of the most addictive drugs. Many crack users become hooked after their first hit, chasing that initial high through years and years of spiraling and abuse. It’s important not to forget that before the opioid and fentanyl epidemic, the crack epidemic ravaged inner-city neighborhoods across the country.

4. Crystal Meth

Number four on the list is methamphetamine, otherwise known as crystal meth. This drug was dormant for a period but is back with a vengeance, causing an epidemic of its own that’s been overshadowed by the opioid crisis. However, after a steep increase in meth overdose deaths, this dangerous drug finally has the attention of the public eye again.

5. Prescription Pills

Prescription pills round out the top five and include several different substances like benzos, pain killers, and stimulants. Although the prescription pill crisis isn’t at the heights it was in the early 2000s, it’s still a massive problem and takes lives daily. Not only does this category include benzos but also opioid painkillers, which are often a stepping stone to heroin and fentanyl.

The Rise of Fentanyl Addiction

As mentioned above, the prescription pill epidemic of the early 2000s eventually gave way to the heroin epidemic, which quickly morphed into the fentanyl crisis. Currently, massive quantities of drugs flood our streets because of the shifting availability.

Dealers no longer must import the substance from China, as Mexican cartels manufacture the drug right on our borders. This led to another record year of opioid overdose deaths and a grim reminder that the problem is far from under control.

Finding Top Treatment, No Matter the Addiction

Regardless of your drug, the top treatment regardless of addiction is essential. No addiction should ever take precedence over another, as everyone has their own battles to fight.

Each addiction case shares a common denominator – there’s human life at stake and a family that’s losing someone they love. Fighting substance abuse is a worthy cause that requires a collective effort, and winning the battle starts with awareness.

Long-term Sobriety with Pathfinders Recovery

If you or someone you love is suffering from any addiction, Pathfinders Recovery is here to help you reclaim your life and independence. Our top-notch staff is compassionate about our effort; every client gets 110%, regardless of their addiction or background.

To find out how we can help you in your journey to recovery, contact a member of our compassionate staff at any time, day or night. We have convenient locations in Arizona and Colorado that accept clients from all over the country, regardless of geography. Don’t let distance stop you – contact Pathfinders Recovery today.

Signs of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Relapse

What are the Reasons Relapse May Occur?

For addicts going through the recovery process, most have been told something along the lines of “relapse is a part of recovery.” Is relapse part of the recovery process? The simple answer is no. Many individuals in recovery find success the first time around. However, alcoholics and drug addicts may experience a relapse, or multiple, when attempting to get clean and sober from their drugs of choice. Relapsing can be devastating to addicts themselves, but can also take a toll on the loved ones that surround them. This article is meant to inform those who suffer from addiction and their friends and family different reasons why this may continue happening, and how to deal with relapse as it comes.


Why Does an Addict Relapse?

drug-addiction-relapse

Addiction is unpleasant (to say the least) for the person suffering and their loved ones. Many people wonder what is the cause of addiction. Debated by some, addiction is a disease that results in changes to the brain from continued substance abuse. Addiction is not a disease that develops overnight; we generally pass through a series of phases that begin with experimenting and partying from time to time, gradually developing into loss of control regarding our substance intake.

Our substance use, be it alcohol or drugs, becomes compulsive and renders us acting irrational and abnormal. After an addict has been sober for some time the tendency to relapse is very strong. The data shows that each time you try to stay sober your likelihood of gaining lasting sobriety increases.


How our Brains Work in Conjunction With Addiction Relapse

Our brains contain complex reward systems, developed over time and evolved to help us pursue the things necessary to our survival (i.e. food, reproduction, etc). Our frontal lobes (the part of our brain that develops last and is crucial in our ability to predict, reason, and create) help us weigh the consequences of our impulses. When this system is functioning in conjunction with one another it helps us to make better decisions for ourselves.

However, in an addict it is as if our reward systems do not communicate properly with the frontal lobe in a cohesive and logical way. Our sensitive reward system can be triggered very easily causing us to crave drugs or alcohol. To sum it up, our minds don’t allow us to think the consequences of our actions through clearly, even after some time in recovery has passed.

Can you cure a drug addict? Many addicts believe their disease is one that will last forever, but this notion isn’t true. Thankfully, addiction is a disease that can be successfully treated. Education is key in kicking addiction. That’s why it’s so important to seek out the resources and information about different treatment options


Warning Signs of a Potential Relapse

drug addiction relapse, pathfinders recovery center in scottsdale arizona, heroin addiction treatment, meth detox center in scottsdale arizona

  • Excusing unhealthy behaviors – after some time passes it can become easier to slow down on internal growth and honest self-appraisal.  This happens so subtly that we don’t always notice when this is happening.  Then after some time we begin to justify the behaviors that risk our sobriety and increase our chances of relapse. We know in our hearts the behaviors are wrong yet we do them anyway.  This leads us to feelings of shame, anxiety, guilt etc…
  • Obsessing about work, money, or a romantic interest – These are good things for us to have in our lives.  The key is to learn not to obsess, and let these distract us from our primary goal of staying sober and learning to love ourselves.
  • Unhealthy spending habits – This is something that many addicts and alcoholics struggle with early in recovery.  Being irresponsible with our finances can lead to a heavy burden on our lives.  This is not conducive to the new life we are trying to lead and can produce more stress and anxiety.
  • Elevated levels of stress and anxiety – Most people that suffer from addiction are not monitoring this effectively in their early recovery. Therefor they cannot intervene on this in a healthy manner.  This can lead to the thought process of “a drink or a drug sounds like a good idea.”
  • Isolating – Because we as addicts have a tendency to  experience difficulty in monitoring our behavior and being honest with ourselves about the impact of that behavior, we need a sober social network and support system to help us see the truth. A sober social network can help us see how we are truly doing internally, and help us redirect the driving force of those behaviors into a healthy and more productive outlet.  We don’t do this alone and the beautiful thing about recovery is that we do not have to.
  • Romanticizing and glorifying your addiction – It is very easy for us to fall into this way of thinking, our minds remember the good times we had throughout our addiction, which there were plenty of.  If we didn’t enjoy it for so long before our lives came crashing down we would not have kept using drugs or drinking.  It can be difficult to remember the hangovers, withdrawals, lying, isolation, loneliness and pain we experienced that led us to try and get sober in the first place.  Make no mistake about it, it starts with a lot of fun but when the party is over, it is over.
  • Being a pessimist and forecasting negatively for your life – No one likes to feel depressed and hopeless.  Being honest and in touch with the real challenges that are ahead of us, while maintaining optimistic about those outcomes helps us to function more effectively. Having foresight for our futures, and believing we can be successful is key.  “those who believe they can, and those who believe that cannot are both usually right.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction please call Pathfinders Recovery Center today and speak with one of our founders directly.  You are not alone, and there is hope.

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