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The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline website is designed to provide interesting and helpful information about the latest research and cutting-edge treatments available for interested readers. Check back often for new blogs.

 

Crush the Epidemic: Youth becomes change agent after recovery from addiction

Crush the Epidemic: Youth becomes change agent after recovery from addiction

It takes great willpower to overcome substance abuse due to the changes in the brain that trigger cravings and compulsions. Irrespective of the severity of the symptoms and situation, one can achieve sobriety through right support and treatment. The magnitude of drug abuse has magnified to an alarming level across all generations, genders and demographic groups in the United States. Continue reading

Signs indicating greater risk of addiction in a loved one

Signs indicating greater risk of addiction in a loved one

The increased stigma attached to drug and alcohol addiction has been the main reason behind the lack of awareness and knowledge about this problem. As a result, people often fail to recognize the warning signs related to substance abuse. In fact, the risk of exacerbation of mental health conditions increases due to the misinterpretation of the symptoms of addiction as signs of personality flaw. This leads to the occurrence untoward incidents one after one, such as delay in treatment, development of depressive symptoms, poor performance at work and school, etc. Continue reading

Family and socio-economic status make or break addiction

Family and socio-economic status make or break addiction

Overall, the total number of people afflicted with opioid addiction in the United States is an overwhelming problem. In fact, every year the graph only shows an ascending trend. While the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose fatalities rose from 6.1 to 16.3 per 100,000 people in 2015, it climbed to 19.8 per 100,000 in 2016. A 21 percent higher rate was clocked in 2016 compared to 2015. Moreover, it was more than three times the rate in 1999. Drug overdose deaths also increased from 52,404 in 2015 to 63,600 in 2016. Continue reading

Former drug users turn life coaches to help addiction patients

Former drug users turn life coaches to help addiction patients

The burgeoning opioid epidemic, now a national emergency, is leading to new approaches to help people overcome addiction and lead a sober life. Known as peer recovery specialists or coaches, people who have overcome a drug habit, are enlisted to help those who are currently in its grip.

There are two advantages of such a situation. In places where there is a scarcity of professional counsellors, peer coaches can step in and offer initial support. Secondly, patients can trust these life coaches as they share common experiences. Their services can be enlisted from the time a person is admitted to emergency department for a drug overdose. Most coaches are expected to stay in touch even after the patients are discharged from the hospital and help them stay sober. Continue reading

Legal highs: Risky, intoxicating and addictive

Legal highs: Risky, intoxicating and addictive

The spike in drug abuse and subsequent frenzy created by the media often promulgate wrong information about a range of drugs available in the market. The distorted data shams the public who largely remains ignorant of the drugs’ complex chemistry and tend to fall into the trap of drug abuse. Most of the time, these substances of abuse remain cloaked in mystery and wonder. Continue reading

Transgender college freshmen likely to drink more, finds study

Transgender college freshmen likely to drink more, finds study

Rejection and isolation are common to the transgender community whether in private or social life. For them, every day is a struggle to live against the norms of the society and carve an identity of their own. In school and university campuses, transgender students experience problems including deprivation of access to health care and education, and problems associated with sex-segregated facilities. Continue reading

The addicted brain – Part 3: Pattern of consuming drugs determines spike in psychoactive effects

The addicted brain - Part 3: Pattern of consuming drugs determines spike in psychoactive effects

People have experimented with drugs for many generations and will perhaps continue to do so as a means for activating the brain’s reward center. As drugs enter the body, the bloodstream carries them throughout the system, which reaches the brain as well. One way to check the potency of a drug is by measuring how intense its effects are and how quickly it affects the brain. However, the way the drug is taken into the system can also account for how quickly the drug can travel to the brain and how intense is the level of high experienced. These are known as pharmacokinetic variables reflect the way the body absorbs and distributes a drug. Continue reading

Decoding substance abuse in women

Decoding substance abuse in women

Effects of substance use and abuse depend on various factors – gender being one of them. In the United States, while prescribing medications to their patients, doctors did not stress on any such factor in the last quarter of the century. However, lately, doctors are keeping gender differences in mind while prescribing medications. Continue reading

The addicted brain – Part 2: Repercussions of substance abuse on brain pathways

The addicted brain - Part 2: Repercussions of substance abuse on brain pathways

The effects of addictive substances on the human brain follow one particular pathway known as the brain’s reward system. A brain pathway connects different regions within the brain or to the nervous system by a bundle of neurons through which information is relayed back and forth. Some parts of the brain, such as ventral tegmental area (VTA), nucleus accumbens (NAs) and prefrontal cortex, are involved in this reward pathway. Continue reading

Time to embrace change – 4: Integrating recovery support services with educational institutions to curb addiction

Time to embrace change - 4: Integrating recovery support services with educational institutions to curb addiction

The early use of substances, such as alcohol, drugs, etc., particularly among adolescents, is considered one of the primary risk factors for developing the problem of addiction. The use of substances before the brain fully develops causes a multitude of problems in the long run. Therefore, it has become exceedingly important for family members, friends and health care providers to support and spread education on the available recovery support services to aid America’s battle against the growing problem of addiction. Continue reading