The pregnant drug-dependent woman subjects her developing infant to a host of problems. When assessing the effects of drugs, especially illicit drugs, on newborn infants (neonates) and young children, two factors must be considered: (1) the duration and concentration of the drug exposure on the developing fetus, and (2) any preexisting medical complications in the mother. These factors are interactive and together will influence, in varying ways, the eventual capabilities of the child. Therefore, the long-term outcome of children exposed to drugs during fetal development should be assessed.
The side effects of Ecstasy can also be fatal. Abusers at clubs often dance to the point of dehydration, which can lead to death due to failure of the kidneys and the cardiovascular system. Ecstasy use has also caused seizures, strokes, and heart attacks. The drug has contributed to at least ten deaths in Maryland and eight deaths in Miami. Also dangerous is counterfeit Ecstasy (paramethoxyamphetamine and paramethoxymethamphetamine), which has been linked to deaths in Florida and Illinois. In addition, Ecstasy pills are often laced with cocaine, PCP, or other drugs, which can increase the drug’s risks. It is therefore not surprising that Alan Leshner, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has stated, “MDMA is not a benign drug. In fact, all of the studies conducted to date in both animals and more recently in humans, confirm that club drugs, particularly MDMA, are not harmless ‘fun party drugs’ as they are often portrayed.”
Injection drug use. People typically associate drug abuse and HIV/AIDS with injection drug use and needle sharing. HIV can be transmitted between users when injection drug users share "equipment"-such as needles, syringes, and other drug injection paraphernalia. Other infections-such as hepatitis C-can also be spread this way. Hepatitis C can cause liver disease and permanent liver damage.
The use of alcohol and cigarettes typically—but not always—begins at an earlier age than does the use of illegal drugs. Adolescents who progress to illicit drugs, such as crack, generally begin smoking and drinking earlier than those who do not. Research indicates that a person who begins using drugs before the age of 15 is very likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as an adult.
Detox is necessary when an individual through their chronic use of drugs or alcohol has developed an addiction. The objective of detox is to help the individual achieve a drug and alcohol free state. Detox is intended to relieve the physical symptoms of withdrawal and helps prepare the individual for entry into drug rehabilitation. Therefore, the ultimate goal of detox is preparation for long term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
Tolerance to a drug takes place when an individual is exposed to the same drug repeatedly and begins to build up an resistance to the drugs effects. The body then adapts and develops a tolerance for the drug. The addiction that is produced is so powerful that it creates cravings in the user. These cravings for the drug are the result of its impact on the individual's memory with feelings of pleasantness and euphoria which the individual has come to associate with the taking of the drug.
Dependence is the compulsive use of a substance despite negative consequences which can be severe; drug dependence is simply excessive use of a drug or use of a drug for purposes for which it was not medically intended. Physical dependence on a substance (needing a drug to function) is not necessary or sufficient to define addiction. There are some substances that don't cause addiction but do cause physical dependence (for example, some blood pressure medications) and substances that cause addiction but not classic physical dependence (cocaine withdrawal, for example, it does not have symptoms like vomiting and chills; it is mainly characterized by depression).
An effective therapeutic community attends to the many needs of the individual, not just his or her drug use. Care given at a therapeutic community addresses the individual's drug use and associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. Also, a therapeutic community will continue to be flexible and provide ongoing assessments of the individual's needs, which may change during the course of care.
Remaining in care at a therapeutic community for an adequate period of time is critical for treatment effectiveness. The time depends on an individual's needs. For most people, the significant improvement is reached at about 3 months in treatment.
Alcoholism, also known as "alcohol dependence," is a condition that includes craving and continued alcohol abuse despite repeated drinking-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It includes four major areas:Craving: - A strong need, or compulsion, to drink. Impaired control: -The inability to limit one's drinking on any given occasion. Physical dependence: -Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking. Tolerance: - The need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to feel its effects.
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