Saturday, September 23, 2017       
     
 
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  Drug and Alcohol Awareness  

Abusing drugs and alcohol can destroy a person's family life and career.  Unfortunately, people usually wait until they have lost everything before asking for help, and the consequences of drugs and alcohol are not limited to people with the problem.  Family, co-workers, and even employers are directly impacted, which makes it all the more important to address the problem as soon as possible.  MHNet has developed these resources to help you understand and identify substance abuse problems and to let you know about the ways to seek treatment. 

  How Drugs and Alcohol Work  

Drugs alter the chemistry of the brain and nervous system, and act as a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen.  Prescription and over-the-counter medications, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine alter our minds and bodies just like illegal "street drugs."

  • Stimulants ["uppers"] are used to stay alter, get a rapid surge of energy, or lose weight.  Stimulants include Caffeine (Coffee, Tea, Cola Drinks); Tobacco; Cocaine; Crack; Amphetamines and Methamphetamine (speed).
  • Depressants ["downers"] slow down the central nervous system, making withdrawn and "spaced out."  Alcohol is the most widely used depressant.  Others include Over-the-Counter drugs (Sedatives, Sleep Aids, painkillers); Barbiturates; Narcotics (Heroin, Morphine, Opium, Codeine, Percodan, Demoral and Darvon).
  • Hallucinogens alter a person's sense of reality, enhancing and intensifying perception.  Substances include LSD; Marijuana; Mescaline; Peyote; "Magic" Mushrooms; and PCP ["angel dust"].
  Recognizing Substance Abuse  

It's common to attribute a person's erratic behavior to anything but alcohol or drug abuse.  However, erratic behavior and unusual physical symptoms, such as the following, are usually a signal for help.

  • Behavioral symptoms: confusion, excitability, mood swings, anger
  • Poor health habits
  • Strained or abusive relationships with friends, family, or co-workers
  • Physical symptoms: red eyes and sleepiness; chronic runny nose and bad breath; scars or needle marks and constricted pupils not responsive to light
  • Presence of drug paraphernalia such as roach clips, pipes, rolling papers, syringes, razor blades, or straws
  • Complaints about money; requests to borrow money
  • Increased absences or tardiness at work
  Ideas That Work  

Helping someone with alcohol or drug problems can be very difficult - you may even be considered the enemy.  However, if you fail to act, you risk becoming an "enabler."  The following resources can provide professional support for drug and alcohol treatment and recovery:

  • Local or national alcohol hotlines
  • Local community alcohol rehabilitation centers
  • Anonymous groups
  • Your personal physician
  • Your religious adviser
  • Your Employee Assistance Program

Remember if you or someone you know has a substance abuse problem, help is available.  Please seek it now!

  Following Your Treatment Plan  

Substance abuse disorders are difficult to overcome and cannot be cured overnight.  If you are suffering from substance abuse, the first step is seeking help.  Once you have sought help, it is important that you follow your treatment plan, and receive regular support services.  Continuing treatment is vital to success. 

Overcoming substance abuse is a process, but you don't have to do it alone.  MHNet is here to help.  Our representatives are available 24 hours a day and will help you find the assistance you need.  We will help you find the right provider and talk to you about community resources that will put you on the path to recovery. 

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