Read these 9 Site Guru: Substance Abuse (Questions) Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Substance Abuse tips and hundreds of other topics.
Alcoholics can come in many different forms, from the panhandler to the CEO, to the young mother in the PTA. Retirees and clergy are also among the ranks of those afflicted with an inability to control their drinking, after the first drink. While their drinking patterns can be quite different, there are some symptoms that are universal.
A real alcoholic has one primary goal when they begin drinking: to get drunk. Whether the person is a "binge drinker" (doesn't drink every day, but when they do drink, it's to get drunk), an occasional drinker, or the stereotypical daily drinker, any alcoholic will be striving for the same result, which is inebriation.
When I hear someone say that recovering alcoholics cannot drink, I think, “I can drink anything, anywhere I want. I just cannot do it successfully.” Or, “ It costs too much for me”, as in my family, self-respect, hope for the future, car, job...it's not that the addicted person “lost” everything, like some folks in the rooms like to say. Rather, we “traded” everything for our drug of choice.
Some of the signs of Methamphetamine use include sleeplessness, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and skin abscesses and infection. The sores are the result of picking at imaginary bugs ("Crank Bugs").
For pregnant women, Methamphetamine use can cause premature labor and low birth weight babies with possible nerve damage.
For intravenous (IV) users, using Crank may result in HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, sores at the injection site, and infection of the heart lining and valves.
When a person has been accustomed to drinking large amounts of alcohol, over a long period of time, they will be likely to have the “D.T.s” as the alcohol leaves their system. The “D.T.s” is short for Delerium Tremens, which occurs in at least 5% of people who go through the process of acute ethanol withdrawal. Occurring only in people who have a history of constant, long-term alcohol consumption, The D. T.s usually begin between 18 and 24 hours after stopping consumption of alcohol. Sometimes, the shakes might not appear for two or three days.
The symptoms of Delerium Tremens are:
• Severe, uncontrollable tremors of extremities
• Intense hallucinations
• Panic attacks
The D.T's can be contributed to by psychological factors, especially infection, malnourishment, and other underlying medical disorders. Many alcohol abusers have other mental disorders; often, these are related to the alcoholism.
When in doubt, the person affected should be under a medical professionals' care, because alcohol withdrawal can be fatal.
Although Anabolic steroid users do not seem to develop a tolerance over time, it is possible to become addicted to them.
There are short- and long-term effects from using steroids. Some of the short-term effects include more energy and motivation for intensive training. However, acne, high blood pressure, nausea and a host of emotional problems are also among short-term effects.
Some of the long-term effects for females include increased facial and body hair, reduced breast size, irregular periods, and
deepened voices. For men, the long-term effects include temporary infertility and painful enlarged breasts.
High amounts, taken over a prolonged period can cause blood clots, ruptured tendons, heart attacks, liver disease, and cancer.
When a family member uses drugs of any kind, it has an almost immediate affect on the rest of the family. Some of the signs of abusing drugs can be:
- changes in friends
- self-imposed isolation
- deteriorating family relationships
- changes in behavior and attitude
- long, unexplained absences
It is important to keep in mind that any one of the signs listed may not be enough to indicate drug abuse, but more than two at any time is enough to suggest that further investigation is appropriate.
For a Heroin addict, one of the more particular symptoms is the appearance of needle-marks, or "tracks" usually found on the inside of the arm. Oftentimes the tracks will turn into sores which may leave visible scars. Another one of the common indications of heroin abuse is that the person will wear long sleeves in warmer weather.
Inhalants, also known as solvents, are chemical vapors that are inhaled for their mood-altering effect. Because they were never intended to be used for an intoxicating effect, inhalants are common in most homes and many workplaces. Some of the products used for huffing (sniffing) are gasoline, cooking spray, deodorant spray, lighter fluid, antifreeze, typewriter correction fluid, and nail polish remover. Inhalants can damage the users' central nervous system, eyes, liver and kidneys, hearing, cause permanent brain damage and personality changes. Sniffing highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals can result in heart failure and death within minutes of repeated inhalations.
Some of the effects of abusing less concentrated inhalants include clumsiness, difficulty speaking, nausea, chest and stomach pains, aggression, and hallucinations.
Sometimes, solvent users pour the solvents onto a cloth and hold it over their faces. Others squeeze glue and other thicker fluids into a bag and breathe in the fumes.
In the case of suspected child abuse, the standard operating procedure is to look for the worst and hope for the best. Anyone can report another person for abusing a child, whether they saw the incident, or heard about it, or even if it was written about online. However the authorities are able to locate the alleged abuser, they must examine the evidence, to see if there are any grounds for the accusation.
If someone were to report that they had simply overheard a suspicious phone call, or read an e-mail that seemed to indicate abuse, they are legally bound to report it.
The police will investigate the situation, and their professionals will determine whether or not the accusations are real. Certainly in the case of possible child abuse, it is better to err on the side of protecting the child.
Making a report is the duty of whoever might have information about a child being abused in any way. After that point, though, it is necessary to let the Police and Investigators continue their work.
There is a huge difference between accusations and convictions.
Physical intimidation, controlling (through scare tactics) and oppression are just a few of the forms in which psychological abuse can come. As in the situations of romantic relationships and child abuse, it is usually related to an unequal division of power. The humiliation and intimidation of others in the workplace, for example, are examples of psychological abuse taking place on larger scales.
Workplace abuse is a large cause of workplace-related stress, which in turn is strong cause of illness, both physical and mental. Group psychological abuse is another real phenomena, such as in racial oppression, bigotry, and cults.
Although being dysfunctional has not been proven to be genetic, quite often abuse is passed down from one generation to the next.
"Gaslighting" is a particular type of abuse that derives its name from two movies of the early 1940s, in which an attempt is made to cause the victim to question their sanity, due to tricks and reality distortion caused by trusted people around them.
Any situation in which the repeated and extreme impact of a situation affects a person's emotional and rational thinking, in such a way as to adversely impact their later lives, could be termed as psychological abuse at some level.
When couples begin to drift apart in their marriage, it can be like two people leading separate lives, under one roof.
Someone said that it takes two people to make a marriage work, and only one to destroy it. When there is or has been abuse of some kind, the injured party has some assessing and re-assessing to do. There have been cases where the abuser has changed, and the marriage was renewed. These cases, of course, are very rare.
When a spouse has come to the crossroads of deciding to stay or leave the relationship,
it can be helpful to make an inventory of the relationship. It is as simple as listing the benefits in one column, and the deficits in the other.
Along with seeking their Higher Power, it can be quite instrumental in the healing process for the partners to each receive counseling. Part of the reason for this, is that unless the thoughts that led up to that time are dealt with, and adjusted as necessary, repetition is inevitable.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|