Is It Ever Okay to Use Drugs in Moderation?

Is It Ever Okay to Use Drugs in Moderation?

Articles, Australia, Education, International, LGBTQ, Malaysia, Testimonials, Treatment, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

If someone is passing out cocaine at a party, or you’ve heard self-medicating with Xanax might help reduce your constant feelings of anxiety, you might be wondering. Can you ever take hard drugs in moderation and still be safe?

The answer may seem complicated. You might have read a story online about someone who claims to cocaine ‘occasionally’ and still live an otherwise healthy lifestyle. The reality is that these substances can affect everyone differently. And the severe consequences of misuse are no small price to pay to experiment with drugs you’re unsure about.

If you’ve ever thought about recreational drug use or your own ability to self-moderate, read on as we explore what even small doses of opioids, prescription drugs and other powerful stimulants do to the body, and how they can put you at risk for drug addiction.

Why It’s Not Possible to Self-Regulate Drug Use

The most glaring problem with the idea that you can completely control the extent of your drug use is that drug addiction is not a lack of willpower or self-control. Addiction works by affecting your brain’s reward center. Each time you use a drug that produces feelings of euphoria, your brain is flooded with the pleasure chemical dopamine. Over time, your body becomes accustomed to this increased level of dopamine, and intense cravings occur when it doesn’t happen. This is all wired into your biological survival mechanism (that is, your body literally believes it will die if it doesn’t get more of the substance), which is why addiction overrides your normal reasoning and logic. That’s why people who struggle with addiction continue to engage in their addictive substance use or behaviors despite their desire to quit. Or its negative impacts on their life.

Typically, addiction begins with experimentation. Testing limits and pushing boundaries is normal behavior, especially in earlier stages of life. But what most people don’t know is how quickly this can spiral out of control when it comes to substance abuse. As drug use continues, users’ tolerance increases, causing them to use more of the drug to achieve the same effect. This paves the way for physical dependence and addiction. Even over just a short period of time, drug use rewires the parts of the brain responsible for impulse control. Making it all the more difficult to discontinue use and overcome the powers of addiction.

Dangerous Opioids - Oxycontin


The Dangers of Opioid Addiction

Whether you’ve been prescribed opioids by a medical professional or take them under illicit circumstances, the effects can be the same. Opioids are among the most highly addictive drugs available anywhere in the world, as they directly impact the way the brain perceives pleasure. Ingesting in small or moderate dosages can create feelings of relaxation and euphoria that keep users coming back from more… and more, and more.

Unfortunately, opioids also quickly create a tolerance that makes small and moderate dosages insufficient to sustain the same effects over time. The need for more of these drugs in shorter periods of time to recreate the same ‘high’. This makes opioids a highly addictive, and deadly, class of drugs.

What Happens When You Use Ice (Meth)

While most ice use begins socially – you’re out with your friends, someone offers a line, and you figure, “Why not?” – there’s a mountain of evidence to show why this is one drug you don’t want to come anywhere near. Ice is so addictive because it’s tremendously powerful and fast-acting, creating intense feelings of pleasure, energy and clarity. But that intense high is followed by an equally intense low.

Says Dr Nicole Lee, Adjunct Associate Professor at Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute in Australia. “The ‘come down’ period is like a hangover, a recovery period after which people may move into withdrawal if they are dependent”. The uncomfortable feelings associated with that comedown cause many users to reach for more. This lead far too many people down a dangerous road to addiction.

Why You Can’t Just Use Cocaine ‘Occasionally’

Like opiates, cocaine creates dramatic surges of dopamine in the brain. A central nervous stimulant, cocaine increases the amount of energy users feel. Keeping them highly stimulated and creating short-lived, dangerously addictive rushes of euphoria.

Because of the powerful short-term effects of cocaine use. It can be a highly addictive drug that completely alters the chemical makeup of the brain. People experimenting with cocaine often struggle to maintain occasional or moderate use because of the intense highs and lows experienced after each use. Cocaine leaves the body almost as quickly as it enters the bloodstream after being ingested. This makes it all the more likely that even occasional use will result in a very dangerous form of addiction.

The Bottom Line: All Drug Use Can Lead to Addiction

Experimenting with prescription opioids like Xanax or Valium or stimulants like cocaine and ice can be tempting. From their potential as self-medicating substances, to the peer pressure of recreational use. The allure of ‘occasional’ or ‘moderate’ use can be tempting.

But no matter how strong you are, the power of addiction can quickly turn what started as experimental drug use into a dangerous and deadly habit. Predisposition to addiction can be a hereditary condition. Drug use restructures the chemicals of the brain, making moderating your use or quitting completely an extremely difficult task. An almost impossible task for anyone to accomplish on your own.

Can’t Quit? Get Expert Help for Addiction at DARA.

If you’re struggling to stop your drug use, our team of compassionate addiction experts can help. Here at DARA, our goal is to help you find your true self again with our all-inclusive treatment programs set in the serene scenery of Thailand. As the most experienced drug and alcohol rehab centre in Thailand, we truly believe in every client’s ability to recover. And we provide individualised support along every step of the way.

If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs, alcohol or toxic behaviours, help is right here for you. Recover in paradise with the addiction experts at DARA: contact us to learn more about the variety of recovery options we have on offer to help you start living your best life.

Success Rates for Treatment at DARA

Success Rates for Treatment

Articles, Australia, Education, International, LGBTQ, Malaysia, Testimonials, Treatment, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

The statistics for success rates for drug and alcohol treatment seem to vary according to who is measuring success. The very definition of “success” seems to vary quite a bit also. Success depends on definitions of rehabilitation. If you are getting the impression that this is a murky topic, you are right. There are those who do not see total abstinence as a goal the idea of success changes dramatically. The bottom line is that an overall picture of success from treatment is actually pretty good.

Relapse PreventionIf we take just one figure as emblematic of the overall issue we can get a sense of what is happening. According to one study 51% of addicted people who enter inpatient rehab complete the treatment program. Of that group, 21% remain sober for at least five years. Before jumping to conclusions about how to interpret these numbers we should consider similar figures for other health problems.

The “relapse rate” for drug addiction is something on the order of 40-60%. A disease such a diabetes is 30-60%. Putting the statistics in the larger context of treatable health issues changes the way we look at success for treatment. Health problems which require long-term treatment and attention generally carry a relapse rate that can appear alarming at first glance. Upon consideration in the larger context, the success rates appear much more promising.

Rather than focusing entirely on statistics—statistics by definition lie anyway—we should focus on personal outcomes and how we need to live our lives. For someone who is struggling and suffering with addiction, treatment offers recovery and healing. The choice between a continued downward spiral in a doomed drug or alcohol problem, and a chance at a healthy life from rehab and treatment is not much of a question. The benefit of treatment is not in the numbers. It is in the results individuals actually find in their lives.

What is more, the statistics are only bleak if taken in isolation. Placed against the recovery rates for similar health problems, the recovery rates for addiction are extremely encouraging. The science of addiction continues to evolve. With this, the forms of treatment also change and become more effective and more available.

Some things to consider are the fact that not all treatment centers track their clients beyond the time that they leave. Many of these people remain sober and live productive drug-free lives. There are some treatment programs which do not consider total abstinence to be a measure of success. This is a thinry issue for some, but this fact complicates claims of success.

I went through drug and alcohol treatment, and when I made the decision to seek treatment I did not consult the statistics. I looked to the state of my own life. Countless other people make the decision to seek treatment with the same motivation. Countless people the world over find a new lease on life by going through drug and alcohol treatment at a reputable rehab facility. 

CLICK HERE to get a Free Confidential Addiction Rehabilitation Assessment.

Three Common Myths About Recovery

Three Common Myths About Recovery

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False Beliefs Can Steer People Away From Recovery

Many people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy behaviors have certain preconceived notions about getting into recovery. They believe the many myths out there about what will happen if they stop abusing substances or give up gambling, shopping, or sex. These beliefs keep them stuck in the addictive cycle, continually repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

When it comes to addiction, the brain works in mysterious ways. It will tell you every lie you can think of so that you will continue to engage in your addictive behavior. It will justify and rationalize the addiction. This is because part of your brain doesn’t want you to get into recovery. It knows that if you do, you will stop getting drunk, watching pornography, or doing whatever it is that gives you the feeling of being high. The brain likes the way it feels when you engage in these activities and it wants more.

In order to find the freedom that recovery has to offer, you have to change the way you think about recovery. You have to stop believing the justifications that your brain has to offer you about continuing in your addiction. We want to help you do that. In this article, we will dispel three myths you might believe about recovery.

Debunking Three Common Myths About Recovery

MYTH # 1: Recovery is boring. Once I give up my addiction, I will never have fun again.  

TRUTH: Recovery is exciting. Not only does recovery offer you an opportunity to explore yourself through a beautiful process of self-discovery, you also get to experience life again. There is so much adventure to be had in recovery as you find new activities that bring you fulfillment and a sense of purpose. You will learn how to have REAL fun that doesn’t leave you full of regret, remorse, and guilt.

MYTH # 2: I won’t have any friends if I get into recovery.

TRUTH: You might have people you get drunk or high with or go gambling with, but chances are these people aren’t true friends. You can’t count on them to be there for you when you really need them and they probably don’t care about your well-being. Most relationships that are centered around addiction are not healthy and quite toxic. There are many authentic people in the world who have a lot to offer you and they aren’t addicted. When you get into recovery, you will forge healthy, fulfilling relationships with people who genuinely care about your highest good.

MYTH # 3: I can’t face the things I have done in my addiction. I can’t live with the guilt.

TRUTH: Many people continue to stay loaded or go forward with their addictive behavior because they are afraid if they stop, their shame and guilt will overpower them. It is true that you will have to take responsibility for the harm you may have caused in your addiction. However; this will ultimately give you freedom from your guilt and allow you to make peace with the past. As long as you engage in your addiction, you will cause more harm and the cycle will continue.

Don’t Let Your False Beliefs Keep You From Recovery

Recovery has so many amazing things to offer you, but you have to experience these things for yourself. The only way to do that is to make the brave decision that you are going to get into recovery and stop the addictive cycle. Addiction promises only devastation and destruction. Don’t let your fears and false beliefs keeping you from getting your life back. Give recovery a try. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.     

CLICK HERE to get a Free Confidential Addiction Rehabilitation Assessment.

Early Sobriety - Testimonial - What I Wish I Had Known

Early Sobriety – What I Wish I had known

Articles, Australia, Education, International, Malaysia, Testimonials, Treatment, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

Looking back on my early days and weeks in sobriety, I often think of things I had known at the time. Early sobriety is an extremely confusing time. There are just a few facts which would have helped me sort through some of that confusion. We come into treatment dizzied and beaten, knowing just a few things would definitely help get through the first days. 

Upon finding myself in drug and alcohol rehab I was completely shocked to find that so many people I had counted as friends had disappeared as soon as I went into treatment. I thought surely some, if not all, of the people I had called friends would be there for me now that I had decided to get well. That was not to be the case. There were actually quite a few people for whom I had simply disappeared from the earth. I was shocked and hurt. I felt abandoned. The reality that I came to know was that not everyone in your drinking and drugging life is worth keeping around. This plunge into treatment had turned into a process of separating the wheat form the chafe and I am now grateful for it. Those people who saw me as nothing more than a party buddy are gone. The people I do have left in my life are precious to me.

One of the attitudes I took with me into the earliest days of sobriety was the firm belief that things can and will get worse. I think this is common for people who find themselves in need of drug and alcohol treatment. This attitude is really a hold-over from using. Drug and alcohol fuels the downward slide into the negative, and we become so accustomed to this that we mistake it for a reality. What I found is that life always gets better in recovery—always! I may hit stumbling blocks, and life still throws me difficulties. But life as a sober person is always a steady rise toward the positive. The days begin to seem normal, boring even, but over periods of weeks we all see noticeable and marked improvement in the quality of our lives.

This last piece of information leads to another fact that I was blind to in early sobriety. You will never regret being sober. It seems obvious now. But in early recovery I thought I would surely miss out on great times that centered on drinking. I would necessarily regret missing those times while I got with the business of being sober. This is just not true. What is true is that a life of being addled by alcohol always gave me regret. There has never been the slightest moment of life that I regret spending sober. The blunt truth is that could have done many things intoxicated that I did sober. But there was nothing about being sober that in any way diminished dong those things. This comes down to a simple wager. I will not lose anything by betting on being sober.

CLICK HERE to get a Free Confidential Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Assessment.

Managing Your Triggers

Managing Your Triggers in Recovery

Articles, Australia, Education, International, Malaysia, Testimonials, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

Managing Your Triggers in Recovery – Recovery can be a challenge. Whether in the beginning stages or years into your long term recovery you are likely to have certain triggers. Triggers are the people, places, and tings that can tempt you into using again. As recovery is a life long process that takes commitment these triggers can pop up at any time and must be dealt with as they come. If you are aware that this will occur then you can also be prepared to handle a trigger when it does arise.  Listed and explained are a few tips to help you when those triggers do crop up in life.

Though everyone is different in what becomes a trigger, these triggers still need to be identified in order to know what people, places, and things could be potential problems. This is not meant to be a source of fear for the individual, but a way to put a plan in place before a triggering event occurs.  Once the triggers are identified and documented if needed than a real plan can be created. When the plan to avoid or handle a given situation is in place than it should be practiced. Do not wait until faced with a trigger before practicing the plan. Practice with a friend, therapist, or even in a mirror to be fully prepared.

Now that you know what you are working with do not get over confident. You are not an exception to the rule. Triggers will occur and recovery is tough. Everyone has triggers and cravings that must be addressed in some manner. This is where planning and practice come into play. Do not test your strength or try to be a ‘hero’ by trying to prove you can handle a trigger. This simply means that you should not purposely come into contact with a trigger just to test your plan.

Finally, take care of yourself. Physical and mental health go hand in hand. Both aspects are highly important to recovery. If your mind and body are not healthy then recovery has a higher chance of failure or relapse. If a relapse does occur do not give up, simply start over and try again. However, while you are in recovery make sure to eat well and get plenty of rest so you are prepared for the challenges of daily life. Taking care of yourself has to become a priority for success.

In time you will be more confident in your own judgment in both dealing with triggers and in other areas of your life, but it will take time. Until you are further into recovery, with years under your belt, you can only be prepared and well practiced in your responses to the challenge that is recovery from addiction.

Managing Your Triggers in Recovery – If you have chosen recovery or are considering it you must be prepared. Do not let the hard work that is part of recovery be a deterrent to making the choice to battle your addiction. The road may be tough and filled with bumps, but the outcome will be well worth it in the long run. You have already made the first step by learning more, do not give up now.

CLICK HERE to get a Free Confidential Addiction Rehabilitation Assessment.