Best Time to Go to Rehab: Some Signs to Know

Coming to terms with a substance abuse problem isn’t easy. There is still a great deal of stigma associated with addiction, and this fact alone often keeps people from reaching out to their families, friends, employers or doctors when they suspect they have a problem. But that’s not all that stands in the way.

The nature of addiction itself presents challenges. Denial is a huge factor and a powerful defense mechanism. Denial may have you believing you have things under control, that you’re not the one with the problem, or that you can quit any time—you just don’t want to.

Speaking of control, this is another issue that can keep people in the vicious cycle of substance abuse for far too long. Our society places a high value on control and independence. Admitting you have an issue with substance abuse, admitting you can’t stop, and admitting you need help is tough to do in a “do-it-yourself” world of people who don’t easily admit when they don’t have everything under control.

Deciding to Get Professional Help

You’ve been struggling for a while, and you’re tired. Oftentimes, it’s not one single, earth-shaking event that leads someone to want to quit using; it’s just the day-in-and-day-out chaos that becomes so exhausting, and you just want it to stop. Perhaps you’re tired of hiding your problem or tired of feeling trapped by your addiction. Whatever the case, you’re ready to get some help.

You may feel hesitant to take that step, though, and wonder if it’s really necessary. Do you really need to go to drug rehab? Maybe you should wait? You may have some fears around getting help or have some anxiety about committing to going to treatment.

It’s understandable that you may have some reluctance. A lot of it is simply fear of the unknown. You may not know what to expect from rehab, and you may have some misinformation.

How Do You Know Rehab Is What You Need?

Whether your problem is alcohol or other drugs, it isn’t always clear when it’s the best time to go to rehab. You may still feel that you can control the problem or quit on your own. It’s often when a person tries to quit and finds they can’t seem to do it that they realize they have a problem. Here are other signs that professional addiction treatment may be the way to go:

  • You’ve developed a tolerance or a physical dependence on a substance.
  • You have abandoned other activities that you used to enjoy because using substances is your primary interest.
  • You are experiencing problems at work or school, such as poor attendance or performance or job loss.
  • Friends and family have come to you with concerns about your drinking or using.
  • You are experiencing financial troubles related to your drinking or using. You find that you need to borrow money, you aren’t paying bills on time, etc.
  • You are engaging in unsafe or risky behavior.
  • You feel a need to keep your drinking or substance use a secret.
  • Substance abuse is interfering with your ability to spend time with your family or handle your responsibilities.
  • You are experiencing health problems as a result of substance abuse.
  • You’ve run into legal issues, such as a DUI or possession.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of red flags, but these are common signs that you have a problem that should be addressed immediately. Each person may experience the consequences of addiction differently. One common factor is guilt and shame. Most people find they feel badly about their substance abuse. If you find that you don’t feel good about your activities, if you find that you are behaving in ways that are out of character for you, that using is impacting your relationships, or that you are feeling depressed or anxious, it’s a good idea to talk to someone.

When Is It the Best Time to Go to Rehab?

The best time to go to rehab is right now. It’s an easy thing to put off. You can likely find plenty of reasons why you should go “later on.” You may have concerns about job or family responsibilities. You may be concerned about what other people think, or you might just be scared.

The reason right now is the best time to go to rehab is simple: It’s only going to get worse. Addiction is a progressive disease. However bad things may be right now, they can and will get a great deal worse.

If you’ve had an epiphany and realized you need some help,  you must seize that and pick up the phone. Denial may have you rethinking your decision. Talk to people. Talk to your doctor, your family, or trusted friends. Call a rehab, find out if you have insurance coverage that will pay for you to go to treatment. If you are employed, find out what their policies are on employee leave for rehab, many will allow you to take time off to get help without risking your job.

If you do have to leave your job to go to treatment, it’s important to realize that going to treatment can save your life and that eventually, addiction will take everything from you—including your job. And, if as things progress and the consequences pile up, you may find it difficult to find another job later on. It’s best to take the leap of faith and get help right now. Don’t let these drug rehab recovery myths deter you from your decision.

Considering Addiction Treatment?

Let us help you. If you, or a loved one, are fighting substance abuse or drug and/or alcohol addiction, call Serenity at Summit at 844-326-4514 today. Our advisers are standing by 24-7, ready to help you find a treatment program that will suit your needs and put you on the path to a new recovery and a new life. Make today your new beginning.

How Substance Abuse Causes Risky Behavior

What are some of the risk behaviors caused by substance abuse, and why are they so dangerous?

One of the few good things about the opioid crisis is that it has shed much-needed light about substance abuse issues, and has triggered public debate about developing new ways of handling this challenge.

Lawmakers and healthcare officials throughout the U.S. have implemented programs aimed at curbing the number of fatal overdoses among their residents, and in some instances, those programs are radical and controversial in nature.

But the dangers of substance abuse are not just about the potential for fatal overdoses, they are also about what long-term drug use does to a person’s personality and character.

In fact, there is ample evidence that substance abuse can lead to a number of high-risk behaviors, which makes the challenge for lawmakers, healthcare workers and family members of addicts even more difficult.

Let’s take a look at how drug use can trigger risky behavior, beginning first with an understanding of how the brain is impacted by long-term drug abuse.

The Effects of Drug Abuse On the Brain

Many studies have shown that drugs interfere with the way the brain communicates, which means that drugs short-circuit how information is sent, received and processed.

We know that some of the effects of drug abuse on the brain involve the reward system by producing abnormal amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls emotion, motivation, movement and how we experience pleasure.

When dopamine is at normal levels, it controls natural actions that we take on a daily basis. For example, if we eat chocolate, dopamine is released that tells our body that we really enjoyed the taste of chocolate and sugar, and sends signals that we should continue that pleasurable action.

But when you take drugs, the surge of dopamine overwhelms the brain and leads to powerful cravings for more of those drugs.  

The reason is that some drugs can release 2 to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards such as eating and sex do. In some cases, this occurs almost immediately (as when drugs are smoked or injected), and the effects can last much longer than those produced by natural rewards. The resulting effects on the brain’s pleasure circuit dwarf those produced by naturally rewarding behaviors. (1)

This produces cravings in a drug user that are hard to ignore, and often makes them take more and more drugs to achieve the high that the brain finds so pleasurable.

But what’s just as dangerous is that drugs also have a negative effect on the parts of the brain that control decision-making and impulse control.

As a result, drug and alcohol abuse often lead to impaired judgment, which means that addicts are much more likely to take risky actions that they wouldn’t have if their brains weren’t compromised by drug and alcohol use.

The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Risky Sexual Behavior

Studies have found that teenagers are the group most vulnerable to problems related to substance abuse and risky sexual behavior.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a strong correlation between drug and high-risk sexual behavior among teens.

This high-risk behavior includes unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, and a higher likelihood of becoming pregnant before the age of 15.

In fact, as teenagers use more drugs, their chances of having multiple sex partners also increase, and teens that abuse cocaine, marijuana, alcohol and prescription drugs are more likely to engage in sexual risk-taking. (2)

A recent national youth risk behavior survey found that:

  • 41 percent of high school students admitted to having sex at least once in their life
  • 30 percent of high school students were sexually active
  • 21 percent of high school students who were sexually active also admitted to using alcohol and drugs before they had sex.

But risky behavior doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and some of the risk factors for teenagers include:

  • Lower Economic Status
  • Family History of Violence/Conflict
  • Absentee Parents
  • Prior Rebellious Behavior
  • Associating With Drug Using Peers
  • Lower Academic Performance

The CDC has recommended several prevention programs to help reduce the incidences of risky sexual behavior among teenagers, including:

  • School Programs – School should implement programs that help build up social interactions and emotional support among high-school students
  • Resistance Programs – Peer supervised drug and alcohol prevention programs
  • Parenting Skills Training
  • Increased Parental Involvement
  • Family Support Programs – This can include counseling for families struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, violence, and other issues that create conflict

Substance Abuse and Crime

In addition to high-risk sexual behavior among teen drug and alcohol abusers, studies have also found a correlation between substance abuse and crime, including: (3)

  • Prison Population – 80 percent of inmates abuse alcohol or drugs, and half of all inmates are clinically addicted
  • Arrest Figures – 60 percent of people who are arrested for a crime test positive for illegal narcotics, and 37 percent were drinking when they were arrested
  • Violent Crime – 40 percent of all violent crimes involve alcohol

Nearly 20 percent of state and federal inmates said that their high-risk criminal behavior was directly related to their desire to get money to buy drugs. That’s because people who struggle with drug or alcohol dependency are compelled to do whatever it takes to get their hands on these substances, and that may sometimes involve illegal crime.

Help For Substance Abuse

People who seek help for substance abuse often find that detox is the first step toward an effective plan of recovery. Detox helps to control cravings, and also gets rid of the alcohol and drugs that are poisoning an addict’s body.

If you live in New Jersey, Serenity at Summit New Jersey Addiction Centers in Union provides addiction treatment services for New Jersey residents, and we are only 40 minutes from New York City. Please call us today at 844-432-0416 for more information about how we can help you.



The Abuse of Prescription Drugs and the Role of Drug Makers

The abuse of prescription drugs has become a major public health problem as people addicted to prescription painkillers and to illegal opiates like heroin continue to die of overdoses.

The federal government has reacted to the opioid crisis by declaring it a public health emergency, which sounds good, but in reality, hasn’t done much to move the needle when it comes to lowering overdose rates.

One of the biggest challenges of this crisis is that big drug makers have been reluctant to take responsibility for manufacturing prescription painkillers that they knew were potentially addictive if patients took them beyond the recommended limit of seven days.

In fact, the opioid epidemic hasn’t done much to convince major drug makers to participate in the fight to get addicts into treatment, because the truth is, there is far too much money to be made distributing these medications to local pharmacies throughout the U.S.

However, that hasn’t stopped some cities and counties from trying to force drug makers to do their part, even it means taking legal action.

The most recent example is Camden County, New Jersey, which is suing manufacturers for distributing addictive painkillers that directly led to addiction and to fatal overdoses.

What’s interesting is that Camden County isn’t just taking legal action because drug makers flooded the streets with addictive painkillers, it is also suing to compel these companies to pay the county back for the costs of dealing with the addiction problem. 

Drug Companies and the Opioid Crisis

Even the most tangential evidence shows that there is some correlation between drug companies and the opioid crisis. The question is whether there is actually some liability on the part of companies because liability opens up the opportunities for legal action.

Several years ago, claimants who were addicted to prescription painkillers sued Purdue Pharma, claiming that their addiction was a direct result of the company’s negligent practices.

The claimants said that Purdue Pharma failed to adequately warn about addiction risks on drug packaging and in promotional activities. (1)

Other similar lawsuits claimed that opioid drug makers intentionally misrepresented their products as being non-addictive, when in fact, the drug makers knew that taking these medications longer than a specific period of time could lead to addiction.

One of the weapons that claimants are using against opioid drug makers is a law that makes it illegal for companies to distribute products that are misbranded. The federal government is also suing opioid drug makers alleging that their products are negatively impacting public health due to widespread misuse.(2)

The government is also using the concept of deceptive business practices based on the idea that opioid drug makers are falsely representing their medications as being safe when they know they can lead to addiction.

The Camden County Opioid Lawsuit

The details of the Camden County opioid lawsuit are illuminating because the county is the first in the U.S. to file a racketeering lawsuit against a drug company as it relates to the distribution of opioids.

Camden County is suing Purdue Pharma under federal racketeering laws that are usually reserved for organized crime.

The suit alleges that Purdue Pharma participated in an epic scheme to deceive doctors and the public at large into believing that opioids can be prescribed for long periods of time, with little to no risk of addiction.(3)

The suit also alleges that Purdue Pharma’s fraudulent scheme resulted in billions in profits. As we covered earlier, the drug maker isn’t a stranger to lawsuits related to opioid manufacturing, but this is the first time it is being sued for racketeering practices.

In 2007, Purdue Pharma was ordered to pay a $600 million fine for intentionally misleading the public about the addictive qualities of one of its drugs.

Camden County would like a similar payout for its suit and listed the services it had to use to fight opioid overdoses from 2016 to 2017, which included:

  • 1,740 man hours responding to 941 opioid overdoses
  • 131 opioid fatalities (90 alone in 2017)
  • 312 lives saved using Naloxone (an opioid overdose antidote)

The suit also alleges that Purdue Pharma has been hiding its practice under the cloak of pain management while pushing opioid painkillers it knew were highly addictive to the point that they could cause fatal overdoses.

Camden County did not release the amount of money it has spent fighting the abuse of prescription drugs, but it is likely seeking compensation in the millions.

A successful claim could pave the way for many more counties suffering from the effects of the opioid crisis to file similar lawsuits against other drug makers.

Addiction Treatment For Abuse of Prescription Drugs

Anything that can help curb the distribution of opioids is a good thing, but the truth is that despite all their best efforts, lawmakers may find that the most effective solution is to increase access to addiction treatment for abuse of prescription drugs.

Serenity at Summit New Jersey Addiction Treatment Center in Union is only 40 minutes from New York City, and have all the services needed for people struggling with substance abuse and looking for a family style addiction treatment center. 

Please call us today at 844-432-0416 to speak to one of our behavioral counselors who can tell you all your treatment options.




The Trillion-Dollar Opioid Substance Abuse Crisis

Thanks to the worsening opioid crisis in the U.S., substance abuse is the new hot topic, and that’s a good thing, because anything that helps to make us more aware of this problem, and triggers more solutions is welcome.

From the White House to local legislators, lawmakers are trying to implement measures that will help fund more addiction treatment, while also stemming the number of illicit drugs that are flooding the streets.

We’ve heard sad and startling overdose statistics, and we’ve lamented the shortfall in treatment facilities that is keeping addicts on long waitlists.

But what we haven’t heard as much about is the economic consequences of the opioid crisis. In other words, what kind of money are we spending to fund treatment, put more law enforcement officers on the streets, and to jail people who are found guilty of opioid-related crimes?

Let’s take a look at some of the obvious and not-so-obvious costs of the crisis and learn why these costs could have a long-lasting impact.

Explaining the Roots of the Opioid Crisis

Before we dive into the economic impact of abuse, we should try explaining the roots of the opioid crisis, and why it’s become such a major issue.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that about 115 people in the U.S. die of an opioid overdose every day. When we talk about ‘opioids,’ we’re not just talking about prescription painkillers, we are also talking about illegal opiates like heroin, and synthetic opioids, which are many times more potent. (1)

The question many of you are probably asking is why opioid abuse became so bad so quickly, and why many healthcare experts didn’t see this coming. The answer isn’t simple, because the opioid crisis is the result of a combination of factors that created a perfect storm.

Twenty years ago, big pharmaceutical companies began manufacturing new brands of prescription pain relievers that they advertised as effective and non-addictive. Doctors throughout the U.S. were sold on these promises, and they began prescribing opioids to patients in record numbers.

Unfortunately, patients quickly discovered that as these pills controlled their pain, they also released powerful chemicals in their brains that created a high. Even after their pain was under control, these patients would crave the pleasurable feelings produced by opioids, and within a short period of time, they became addicted to painkillers.

Over the next decade, the rate of opioid overdoses began to skyrocket even as doctors began to cut back on prescribing these medications.

The problem was that patients who couldn’t get prescriptions for painkillers would often move on to the next best thing, illegal drugs like heroin that produced the exact same effects.

In 2015, 33,000 people died from an opioid overdose, and those drugs included prescription painkillers, heroin and synthetic opioids. That doesn’t tell the full story, because two million people also admitted to a substance abuse disorder involving prescription opioids in 2015, and more than 500,000 people admitted to struggling with heroin abuse.

Studies have also found that in addition to prescription pill abuse, the opioid crisis is also driven by other factors, including:

Low-Income – Studies have found that the opioid crisis has impacted poorer communities to a greater degree than middle-class and upper-class communities. Some of the reasons include lack of access to counseling and to healthcare.

People On Medicaid – People on Medicaid are more likely to suffer from substance abuse related to opioids. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said this is because people on Medicaid are more likely to be prescribed opioids, at higher doses, and for longer durations, increasing their risk for addiction and its associated consequences. (2)

Economic Downturn – the 2008 economic downturn forced many companies to lay off workers, and many of them were middle-aged workers in industrial jobs that required less formal education. Some of these laid-off workers were unable to find new jobs, and the stress from their circumstance lead some of them to fall into drug use and addiction.

The Costs of the Opioid Crisis

As an increasing number of people fall prey to fatal opioid-related overdoses, the costs of the opioid crisis in human terms continue to grow more expensive.

But in real dollars and cents, there are some staggering numbers to consider, including: (3)

$1 Trillion – The total estimated toll on the U.S. economy from 2001 to 2017.

$500 Billion – The total estimated amount of money that heroin addiction and prescription opioid abuse will cost the U.S. from 2018 to 2020.

$217.5 Billion – The total estimated healthcare costs of the crisis from 2001 to 2017.

62,000 – The number of estimated people who suffered from a fatal opioid-related overdose in 2017. If this number holds, it will double the name of fatalities from just two years ago.

The bulk of the economic costs are related to lost wages due to people missing work because of opioid abuse, and lost productivity.

That also impacts tax revenue that state and local governments can collect, because missing workers can’t produce profits for companies, and those profits can’t be taxed, because they don’t exist.

Other economic costs include money spent on funding treatment facilities, social services and education, and costs related to prosecuting and defending drug-related charges.

In February, President Trump’s budget proposal included $17 billion to fight opioid abuse, including increasing healthcare services for treatment and recovery, and for mental health.

The Role of Treatment Facilities

Some suffering from addiction believe that they can overcome substance abuse on their own, but that rarely works, and every failure highlights the important role of treatment facilities. Serenity at Summit New Jersey Addiction Treatment Centers in Union are only 40 minutes from New York City, and offer a full range of services, including detox and rehab. Call us today at 844-432-0416 to learn all your treatment options.