Distinguishing Drug Abuse From Drug Addiction

Though “drug abuse” and “drug addiction” are often used interchangeably, in reality the terms refer to two distinct behavior patterns. An individual can abuse or misuse drugs without being inevitably addicted to them. Abuse or misuse involves the use of drugs defying the culturally acceptable standards or medically prescribed doses to attain a certain effect. The substances abused may be legal, such as alcohol or prescription drugs, or illegal, like heroin and other street drugs which have no medicinal value.

On the other hand, drug addiction, or compulsive drug use, refers to an uncontrollable desire to use a drug in spite of being aware of harmful psychological and physiological effects that they can have on the body. Addiction is often characterized by an insatiable appetite for substances by increasing the dosage, leading to a complete dependence on them.

Since abuse and addiction are two distinct concepts, their causes are unique as well. Abuse is generally considered to be more complicated but it is not necessarily triggered by any motivational factor, unlike addiction which is caused by a powerful motivational force. Therefore, in most of the cases, abuse may not always result in addiction, but addiction can certainly lead to abuse.

Impact of drug abuse and addiction on the brain

It has been observed that both drug abuse and drug addiction have similar effects on mind and body. People often view abuse and addiction as a moral weakness or character flaw. One of the common myths surrounding drug use is that quitting it is directly linked to behavioral changes. In reality, addiction is a disease which alters the brain functions, hijacking the natural motivational control circuits. Thus, quitting is simply not a matter of choice or willpower. Though, the decision to use the drug initially might be voluntary, changes in the brain structure due to repeated drug use can inhibit someone’s self-control and decision-making ability, causing intense cravings.

Experts attribute the inability to refrain from drug use to these changes in the brain. However, modern medical advancements have led to the development of an array of treatment and rehabilitation options to combat the disastrous effects of addiction and help abusers take control of their lives. Studies have shown that a combination of medications and behavioral therapy can boost the recovery process with minimal withdrawal effects.

Possible reasons leading to drug abuse and addiction

For those who are dependent on illegal substances, it can be difficult to know whether they have crossed the limit. Here are some possible reasons that can trigger drug abuse or addiction:

Connecting socially: A strong desire driven by an urge to fit into a certain group could lead people toward drugs.
Dealing with problems in life: Continuous drug use can get individuals accustomed to it, and soon it might become the only way to escape from problems and challenges.
Using drugs to combat other issues: Serious concerns, such as panic attacks or chronic pain, can cause dependence on drugs, until people discover healthier alternative methods to counter such problems.
Strong influence of any drug: Frequent use of drugs triggers dependence on them. Thus, what started as a voluntary choice may slowly transform into a physical and psychological need.

Leading a drug-free life

Many families and individuals have suffered great losses due to addiction to drugs. Fortunately, there is hope, though the battle to eliminate addiction and regain sobriety is challenging. There are numerous treatment strategies that can go a long way in helping people come out of their addiction-related problems.

Rehab Referrals – Pitfalls in Seeking Help for Addiction

The purpose of this article is not necessarily to be a whistle-blower, as much as it is to inform. When it comes to Drug Addiction, Inpatient Rehab is one of the most common and effective treatment methods used today.

However, in the growing world of Treatment centers, more emphasis is being put on the degree with which these rehab centers are marketed. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because prospective clients need to be aware that there is help available for their problem. In addition, those with private insurance can often enter treatment with little or no out-of-pocket costs.

However, there is another side to this coin, most treatment centers cost from $10,000 to $60,000, although this number varies based on the level of care. Because of this, there is an extra incentive for them to keep beds full.

I am a Heroin addict in recovery, and I have been to in-patient treatment 3 separate times, one of which was a referral. In my case, I was referred by a friend to a very good treatment center that helped me get back on track.

That friend received a referral commission for connecting me with the treatment center, although I am not sure how much. In my case, it helped me out, but this same scenario is happening all over America and in some situations it is being abused.

In some areas such as south Florida, where there is a large recovery community in cities such as Del-ray Beach and Pompano, scandals have been busted wide open where people were coaxing addicts into detoxes and rehabs, in order to earn a share of the commissions.

The reason I have written this article is to inform those seeking treatment, or those interested in the addiction industry about the risks they face when finding treatment.
There is nothing wrong with getting a referral fee for connecting someone with lifesaving drug treatment.

However, in such as sensitive and serious issue as finding the best chance at recovering from heroin addiction, there can’t be any mistakes.

If it happens to be a payday for somebody else, and not actual advice, then it can hurt an addict’s chance at getting real help. If you follow addiction stories on social media, and social media accounts for rehabs, you will be bombarded with advertisements for treatment centers.

They are advertising these just like any business, but I feel that the general public is still very unaware when it comes to this industry.

I have written this article, and am sharing my knowledge to inform the public about the risks they may face when trying to get help for themselves or a family member that is addicted.

The main method I see on Facebook that I want people to be aware of is the way some of these accounts post articles that seem genuine, but are really just basic information that everybody knows.

I see that they are posting many articles, that are really designed to get clicks to their referral program. Anybody can spot these because before you even read the article, you will be prompted to enter your information and see if you qualify for treatment.

This could end up saving someone’s life if the right person finds that article and gets the right help. However, I feel that it is a shady marketing tactic to use when dealing with something as serious as somebody’s life

One thing to be aware of is that not all addictions require the same treatment. I am not saying that someone should take addiction lightly, but a 10-year heroin junkie does not need the same level of treatment as a teenage pot smoker.

I witnessed many cases where someone who had just gotten out of rehab less than a month or 2 ago was being referred back to the same rehab again, sometimes not for the 2nd time!

What I witnessed was that some of the people getting these referral fees were also looked up to, and their advice was seen as trustworthy. Most of the people following this man’s advice had no idea that he was going to be getting a commission for sending them back to rehab.

One reason I think this is such an important issue is because in some cases, insurance won’t cover these rehab visits. Many parents have ended up spending a year’s salary on rehab stays, even though it is lifesaving treatment in many cases.

The point I would like to make with this article is that, with such a costly and crucial issue as treatment for addiction, there needs to be more awareness and oversight into the way these rehabs are marketed.

I hope that anyone reading this article has become a little bit more informed on exactly what to expect when trying to find treatment. I am not saying you should not accept a referral to a rehab center, because in most cases it is better to have a trusted source refer you as opposed to ending up at a random facility.

However, if there is one thing you can take from this, don’t trust everyone in the treatment industry just because they say they are here to help. In most cases they are, but many workers in these referral programs are out to line their own pockets.

Be aware, and be safe. If you are suffering from addiction there is help out there, and I have many channels through which I am sharing my experience and information.

Living in a Sober House – Addiction and Recovery

If you found this article because you wish to learn more about Halfway Houses and Sober Living, then read on. My name is Matt Morris, and I have spent years living in and managing a sober living house in Texas. This series of articles will help inform addicts, alcoholics, and their loved ones of some of the pitfalls and benefits of living in structured, sober living.

You may be asking; how did I end up at a sober living house in October 2013? I am a heroin addict that has just gotten out of a 74-day rehab stay, and I knew that going back to my home city was a bad idea.

Keep in mind that not everybody has the same options, so if you are seeking help for yourself or a family member, you may not have the same experience. This is not intended to be medical advice, just advice based on what I have seen over the years.

In-patient rehab, although not a prerequisite for sober living, is usually where people go before sober living. I do know many addicts that moved in off the street, and in some cases sober living houses are more accessible than an expensive rehab.

My counselors and I felt that I needed to be in a structured environment after the highly regulated rehab center, and this is true for most addicts. She referred me to one she knew was good, as opposed to me picking a random one off the website which had about 15 choices.

I say this because it is the best advice I can give here, if you do decide to seek a sober living house for yourself or another, don’t just pick one at random. Be careful when looking for advice because some people are out there to get referrals, but before you make such a big decision make sure you do your research.

The sober house I ended up at was strict, but at the same time allowed freedom to live my day to day life as long as I followed the program. There is no end to the different variations of sober living houses out there.

One reason I say to be careful is because some of them are much worse, and even are filled with drug use and scams. This is the real reason I wish to bring awareness, because I have seen many recoveries derailed when they ended up at the wrong sober house.

In my experience if a drug addict wants to get sober they will try to do the right thing, but sometimes you end up somewhere bad but you can’t do anything about it.

The typical rules involve a curfew, job requirements, house chores, drug testing, and mandatory participation in a recovery program. 12 step meetings and programs are common themes, especially in the one I lived at, but there are also many other recovery programs.

If I am being truthful, I feel that as a manager for a sober house it was sometimes difficult to really treat the guys that came through. Many guys had amazing success stories after living in our houses, which I am no longer affiliated with.

On the other hand, I saw a great number struggle to follow the strict rules, or struggle to continue their recovery outside of rehab. I will say that I saw people do much better in sober living as opposed to going straight home after rehab, but not everybody has this option.

For me ending up at a good sober living house did change my life for the better, but there were plenty of issues as well. This is not meant to be a scare tactic, just telling the truth unlike most.

When I first moved in it was DIRTY, which I didn’t mind much but I know many others weren’t happy. At one point we had mentally unstable people living there, someone sold drugs under our noses, we had many relapses and cops were called to the sober house.

The truth is, when you deal with addiction, these things are going to be encountered no matter what.

Another issue is drug testing, and many sober houses are pulling some sort of drug testing scheme. I am not sure exactly how much my owner made, but we were drug tested weekly and encouraged to use our health insurance to pay for it.

I did for a while, until my mom received a statement that they were charging upwards of $1,000 per drug test, and my insurance was no longer covering it. I never made a big fuss about it, but trust me there were some that did.

This is just one example of how things aren’t what they seem. The recovery and treatment industry saves lives, and the people that do the work deserve to make a living. However, when lives are at stake, I feel that this type of shady business dealing is unacceptable!

The truth is this sober house I am describing is still going to give some addicts the best shot they have at long term recovery, because it is strict and structured and produces results. It has been remodeled since then, but the drug testing scandal is still present in this house and all over the country.

This is the main reason I have written this out, because I want my readers to be aware of the potential challenges they may face, so that they are prepared to overcome them.

If this article has informed you, and you are interested in hearing more, I have written out my story into an 86 page, informative e-book that can be bought on Amazon Kindle, but no tablet is required.

Disclaimer: This article, my book, and my advice is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. If you are suffering from addiction or other health issues, please consult a professional before seeking treatment.