Tag Archives: Signs And Symptoms

Drug Addiction: “You Don’t Understand Me”

Addiction is influenced by your specific body, biology and brain chemistry. It is a result of your past experiences and your current environment. It reflects your personality and that of the people around you. It is the accumulation of an infinite number of factors that can never be duplicated or replicated.

Knowing this, how could anyone ever understand you? How could they understand the and why of your addiction? How could they help? They can, because although addiction is a unique and individual experience, it is also a universal and shared one.

The Guardian[1] shares, “One in seven Americans will experience a problem with alcohol or other drug misuse in their lifetimes, and some 20 million have current substance use disorders.”

No one faces your specific circumstances, but many can and do understand. As with any disease, there are treatment paths and outlines. As with any disease, addiction’s expression and your experience of it are influenced by past and present factors. Treatment outlines adjust to fit your unique circumstances. Professionals and programs recognize and provide for your personal recovery needs.

Understanding Addiction on a Biological Level

Brain retro xrayAddiction is a biological disease. As the American Society of Addiction Medicine[2] (ASAM) explains, “Genetic factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop addiction.” The body and brain you are born with shape your future drug use trajectory. This doesn’t mean addiction is inevitable or inescapable. It means you need to be aware of your genetic risk and how it impacts your thoughts, behaviors, and recovery. Treatment professionals understand addiction on a biological level. They help you explore how your genes and your physical health have interacted with your drug use. They understand how some factors leading to addiction were beyond your control. Michael’s House helps you develop coping mechanisms for managing your health. We provide the experienced medical support that is a necessary part of full understanding and recovery.

Understanding Addiction on a Social Level

Addiction is a social disease. Friends, family, peers and community members have influenced and continue to influence your drug use. A lack thereof can be just as detrimental. You may think no one understands your addiction, but your addiction may be the result not understanding others.

The Huffington Post[3] explains, “Human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe…A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.”

Before you retreat further into addiction with the excuse that no one understands, consider how reaching out could lead to discovering much-needed social support. Recovering from addiction involves more than knowing how people influenced your drug use. It involves knowing how they can help you heal. You can and will find others in recovery who understand you. Open up to others. Share your story and listen to theirs. No one perfectly fits the stereotypical “addict” mold. You may not find understanding from everyone, but you will find understanding from someone. You will find people who have had similar life experiences, face similar challenges, and feel and think similarly about certain issues or concerns. Doing so begins with knowing that others understand you, and you can understand them. Make yourself open to the possibility of friendship and support.

Supportive friendsRecovery involves finding a community of like-minded, supportive peers. Negate social risk factors by finding the people who understand your desire for a better, healthier life. ASAM explains, “As in other health conditions, self-management, with mutual support, is very important in recovery from addiction. Peer support such as that found in various ‘self-help’ activities is beneficial in optimizing health status and functional outcomes in recovery. Recovery from addiction is best achieved through a combination of self-management, mutual support, and professional care provided by trained and certified professionals.” Michael’s House teaches self-management skills. We teach you how to find personal strength and the strength to find additional help when you need it. We connect you to professionals who understand addiction and recovery. We connect you to peers who may just become lifelong, sober friends.

How Can Treatment Help Me, Specifically?

You may think you don’t need treatment. You may think other patients won’t have a similar story to yours. You may think professionals can’t help you with your personal challenges. None of this is true. No matter how “mild” your substance abuse or addiction seems, treatment helps. No matter how alone you feel, understanding exists. Call Michael’s House and speak with our caring, compassionate staff. We want to get to know and understand you. We can create a personalized treatment path that reflects your unique situation and recovery needs.


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/18/us-drug-alcohol-addiction-statistics-treatment-reform. “US addiction statistics are dire. Small changes won’t solve the problem.” The Guardian. 18 Nov 2016. Web. 23 Mar 2017.

[2] http://www.asam.org/quality-practice/definition-of-addiction/. “Definition of Addiction.” American Society of Addiction Medicine. 19 Apr 2011. Web. 23 Mar 2017.

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936.html. “The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think.” Huffington Post. 25 Jan 2016. Web. 24 Mar 2017.

Your Drug Addiction – Who Does It Hurt?

You’ve been using drugs or alcohol for a while now. You recognize that you use in unhealthy ways or amounts, but you’re not really sure it’s a problem. You’re pretty sure you’ve managed to hide your use from your boss, your family, or your friends. You still feel okay, even if some aspects of life may seem a little out of control.

Unfortunately no matter how much you deny the impact of substance use on yourself and your loved ones, addiction does hurt. You know this is the truth at the same time your addiction argues otherwise. Addiction has changed your life. It changes the lives of people around you.

Drug Addiction Hurts You

Woman in denial with hand over faceYou have denied, minimized, ignored, or excused it. However, the truth is that addiction hurts you. It changes how you feel and how you think. You’ve given up things that once brought you joy. You wake up feeling sick or sore. You don’t feel like the same person you once were. This sometimes seems okay, especially if you began using drugs or alcohol because you didn’t feel good in the first place. However no matter what mental or physical health challenges you face, you have to recognize that substance use hasn’t made them better. One or more aspects of your life has suffered.

The American Psychiatric Association explains, “Substance use disorders are associated with impairments in psychological development and social adjustment, family and social relations, school and work performance, financial status, health, and personal independence (e.g., as a result of legal charges associated with substance use, suspension of the individual’s driver’s license after being convicted of driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance).”

You have been hurt by addiction. Drugs or alcohol may let you push aside concerns for short periods of time, but these physical, mental, social, or emotional concerns return. They return and hurt even more than before. Recovery brings real healing and real relief.

Drug Addiction Hurts Your Family

You feel like you put on a good show around your family. You smile when you’re supposed to. You hide the extent of your drug or alcohol use and stay away when you are high. You think you’ve managed to protect those you love the most. However, anything one family member does can hurt the others.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration[1] shares, “A family is a system, and in any system each part is related to all other parts. Consequently, a change in any part of the system will bring about changes in all other parts.”

Addiction impacts everyone in the family even if you are the only one it has directly changed. Positive change can have a similar cascading effect. Getting clean and sober means healing the hurt you have unintentionally caused those who love you most.

Drug Addiction Hurts The Community

Police officer with patrol carYou don’t have to personally know someone for your addiction to impact their life. On a large scale, addiction touches every single life with no exception. The Surgeon General shares, “Alcohol misuse, illicit drug use, misuse of medications, and substance use disorders are estimated to cost the United States more than $400 billion in lost workplace productivity (in part, due to premature mortality), health care expenses, law enforcement, and other criminal justice costs (e.g., drug-related crimes), and losses from motor vehicle crashes.”

You don’t even have to look at the social impact of addiction to see how it changes lives. On just a purely financial level, every taxpayer is hurt by substance abuse. Coworkers face greater workloads on the job as they take up your slack. You risk the lives of strangers through vehicle or other accidents. You support crime and the cost of fighting that crime. You hurt the community by removing your contributions to it. Addiction is not an individual problem. It hurts every life. Recovery goes a long way towards healing that hurt. It lets you give back to the world rather than take from it.[2]

Drug Addiction Hurts

Drug addiction hurts you. It hurts the people you love and the people you haven’t yet had a chance to meet. Continued drug use puts your life, your family, and your community at risk. Begin the healing process to end the hurt and harm. Feel better and protect your family. Call Michael’s House at 760-548-4032 and learn about your opportunities for a bigger, better life.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64269/. Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2004. Web. 22 Mar 2017.

[2] https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/surgeon-generals-report.pdf. Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nov 2016. Web. 22 Mar 2017.

Long Term Health Effects of Alcoholism

The news often promotes studies that show the benefits of drinking alcohol. But when someone misuses or becomes addicted to alcohol, the list of associated health problems gets very long. These effects are different depending on a person’s gender, and is unfortunately worse for women. Because alcohol use is common and legal for adults, this is an article you just can’t miss. Before you take another drink, you need to understand whether you are putting yourself at risk.

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Gradual Organ Breakdown And Dysfunction

When a person’s body is subjected to the toxic effects from excessive alcohol, the effeciency and interconnection among the body’s organs starts to fall apart. Because the organs all depend on each other to keep the body going, big problems in one area can mean big problems for the whole system. This can eventually cause death.

Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

Cirrhosis of the liver is scarring from excessive alcohol use This scarring is permanent and cannot be reversed. Scarring means that parts of the liver are non-funtional, causing the remaining portions of the liver to pick up the slack. As a person keeps drinking, they overwork the ever-shrinking remainders.

The liver’s job is to process and filter out toxins from the blood. If a person stops drinking, they can preserve the remaining unscarred portion of their liver. But if they continue to drink, they can eventually die from complete liver failure.

Alcohol-related hepatitis is another serious disease related to alcoholism. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and can cause abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyeballs, and skin), and fever. Like cirrhosis, it can be fatal if a person continues to drink. If they stop drinking, the effects of hepatitis can be partially or even completely reversable.

Alcohol-Related Heart Disease

It’s now well known that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can have some heart benefits, especially if a person already has a risk for heart attack. But if you go over the modest recommended amount, the benefits quickly disappear. Excessive drinking will increase the risk for stroke, various forms of heart disease, and blood pressure problems.

Other Alcohol-Related Health Problems

Heavy drinking causes capillaries near the surface of the skin to break. This gives the face and other exposed skin a ruddy blotchy look. This damage is generally not reversable.

The extra empty calories consumed by an alcoholic can also contribute to obesity.

Obesity can cause a great deal of strain on muscles, bones, and the circulatory system. While obesity is a problem on its own, obesity can also be a leading cause of Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes can lead to loss of vision, poor circulation, organ damage, and loss of feeling in the extremities.

Brain cells are permanently damaged or killed with excessive drinking. Nerve damage can also develop over time. Bleeding ulcers and other digestive problems can emerge after years of irritation by large amounts of alcohol.

Health Risks From Excessive Drinking

So now you know a few of the worst health problems associated with alcoholism. Many of these can be fatal in one way or another. If you think you may be drinking excessively, call your doctor for help and more information.