TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. – Recovery experts from Footprints Beachside Recovery Center in Treasure Island are offering encouragement and helpful tips to help those considering kicking unhealthy habits for the start of the new year.
“With the approach of the new year, many people are beginning to consider making healthier lifestyle choices and one of the most common resolutions is beating some form of addiction,” said John Templeton Jr., founder of Footprints Beachside Recovery Center. “We strongly encourage anyone who is battling addiction or those who know someone who is to learn the facts, seek professional help and make a plan for success.”
When it comes to alcohol, the holidays can be a difficult but telling time for those who may have a problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Heavy drinking is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of five or more days in the past 30 days. Drinking too much alcohol can result in heart problems, stroke, high blood pressure, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis of the liver, breast cancer, mouth cancer, esophageal cancer, throat cancer, liver cancer and may weaken the immune system. While cutting back can be a good start, heavy drinkers most often need medical intervention, as the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can include seizures and even be life threatening. This should never be attempted cold turkey. Medical intervention such as a detox followed by a minimum 30 day treatment program with individual therapy can be very effective. If you or someone you know is battling alcoholism and want to knock the habit, make sure you speak to a professional.
The abuse of prescription painkillers or opiates like heroin has skyrocketed over the last decade and has become even more dangerous due to the emergence of deadly synthetic substances, like fentanyl. If you or someone you know is abusing these substances, treatment should be sought quickly. Not only is there a high risk associated with these drugs, but all opioids, including prescription painkillers when improperly used, have serious negative health effects. The repeated use of any opioid greatly increases the risk of developing a dependence. Historically used as painkillers, even at prescribed levels, users’ tolerance increases quickly and people will often increase the dose to get the same effect. Symptoms often include changes in behavior, missing school or work obligations and being dishonest to loved ones. Opioid addiction can progress quickly and end in criminal behavior to enable this expensive habit. Treatment for opioids is very effective and should include a medical detox to ease the symptoms and inpatient treatment to remove the user from their environment. Even for someone who is not intending on misuse, they should have a plan to get off of their prescription safely and that shouldn’t just be “quitting” once the medication runs out. We always recommend speaking with your doctor or an addiction medicine doctor who understands the pharmacology of substances and the effects on each person.
Stimulants come in both prescription medications and illicit street drugs. They increase a user’s alertness, attention, heart rate and blood pressure. Prescription medications like Adderall and Ritalin are often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but like all medications, they can be misused. Cocaine and methamphetamine are two of the most addictive street stimulants and can be snorted, injected or smoked. Stimulants are abused due to the early stages that produce a euphoria with feelings of increased energy and mental alertness, while continued use leads to negative effects like depression, hostility, paranoia and even psychotic symptoms. This can result in overdose and death. People who abuse stimulants should seek treatment due to the acute adverse physiological effects to the respiratory, cardiovascular and central nervous symptoms, and altered mental states, like suicidal ideation and neurological problems. If you or someone you know is struggling with a stimulant addiction, make sure to speak with a professional before it’s too late.
Overall, tobacco use is down, but it is still a leading cause of preventable death with almost one in five adults still smoking. Tobacco use continues to be much more prevalent in people who have substance abuse disorders, with those using tobacco in substance abuse treatment exceeding 75 percent. Although the short term effects aren’t as earth shattering as a substance like heroin or cocaine, nicotine is just as addictive. Over time a person becomes physically dependent and emotionally addicted to nicotine, and this dependence causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit, which makes it hard to stay away after they decide to quit. Smokers must deal with both the physical and mental dependence. Based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average smoker loses an average of 13 years of their life because of smoking. Smoking causes early deaths of about 480,000 people in the United States each year. Evidence-based treatment like individual counseling, group counseling and extended counseling sessions have been effective in helping smokers quit for good. Medications like Chantix and Zyban, as well as nicotine replace products like the patch, inhaler and nasal spray have also shown to be effective. Counseling and medication are both effective for treating tobacco dependence and using them together is more effective than using either one alone. The good news is that there are effective treatment options for smokers. In fact, there are more former smokers than current smokers.
Founded in 2008, Footprints Beachside Recovery Center is a small, private, holistic substance abuse treatment center for adults and is located in Pinellas County, Fla. Footprints provides specialized treatment plans for patients from throughout the U.S. and around the world. Opioid addiction recovery programs at Footprints focus on ensuring safe withdrawals and often combine holistic treatment with medication assisted therapies to reduce cravings and provide more successful recovery outcomes for patients.