Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

The use of alcohol during pregnancy is a public health problem which can have lifelong consequences for the baby.

Several decades ago the medical profession studied the effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and identified the condition as fetal alcohol syndrome. The United States Surgeon General has published material which indicates that no woman who is pregnant should drink alcohol. There is no safe amount of alcohol that she can consume, and none of the trimesters of pregnancy is a safe time for that either.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are a group of medical conditions which may affect the offspring if the mother drinks while she is pregnant. These consequences include behavioral disorders, growth deficiencies, central nervous system impairment, abnormal facial features, and impairment of intellectual development. There may be hyperactive behavior, low birth weight, speech and language delays, and heart, kidney, or bone problems.

Characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

These babies may have a small head at birth. They may have coordination problems later in life, memory problems, academic and behavioral problems at school, and shorter-than-average height. Sleep and sucking problems may occur during infancy as well. The cognitive and behavioral disorders continue through the child’s lifetime. Some of these pregnancies also result in miscarriage or stillbirth.

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it crosses the placenta, and the baby then consumes it as well. The fetus is still in various developmental stages, and alcohol is particularly detrimental during these phases. Since many pregnancies are not planned, it is important that sexually active women who do not use birth control avoid the intake of alcohol.

In other words, she may not know for several weeks that she has become pregnant, and the consumption of alcohol in the early weeks of gestation is very risky for the fetus and the pregnancy in general. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are 100 percent preventable if the mother never drinks alcohol while she is pregnant. Neither the mother nor the father is capable of transmission of these disorders to the child through heredity or genetics.

If the mother discovers that she is pregnant and has consumed alcohol in recent days or weeks, she should stop drinking immediately. She should seek professional help if she cannot stop the habit. With regular prenatal care, it is possible that the baby will not have fetal alcohol syndrome or any other abnormalities.

Childhood Management

There is no cure for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, but early intervention treatment services will significantly improve the child’s development. Moreover, a warm and caring household will enhance the growth and development of the child. Various psychotropic medications such as antidepressants, stimulants, antianxiety agents, and major tranquilizers will help the child adjust to his or her situation.

Health care professionals, especially primary care physicians, should inquire about the use of alcohol with all of their patients, and this is particularly true for women of childbearing age.


Man Struggles with Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug use on the streets is becoming an increasingly serious problem. One man tells his story about prescription drug addiction.

Dan was only 17 when he took a fall that was to drop him further than he could have expected. His fall off a building led him to hospital and an eventual addiction to oxycodone, a high-strength pain reliever that has become – more increasingly – a drug available on the streets. Dan’s doctor prescribed him the medication for three years and then cut him off.

However, Dan’s experience with the drug didn’t end there – he went to different hospitals in Oxford County, Ontario to get increasingly growing supplies of the drug. He also started buying the drug off the street.

“I lost my job because oxys became my No. 1 priority,” he told a group of about 50 people gathered at the Oxford administration building on May 18. “I realized I was a junkie.” Eventually, Dan – now 27 – sought help and turned to methadone treatment to fight his addiction.

Dan and several other speakers gathered at the administration building for one of three sessions being held in Oxford though the Oxford County Drug Task Force to help highlight the problem of misuse of prescription drugs in the community.

Indeed, such drugs are a problem across Canada and elsewhere. Edward Odumodu, a local pharmacist who took part in the May 18 session, said narcotics use per capita in Canada is only outpaced by the United States and Belgium. As for Dan’s story, Odumodu said it illustrates how a legal drug use situation can spiral out of control. At the session, prescription opioid misuse was described as having reached a “crisis” level.

Drugs Worth Plenty: Police

Daryl Longworth, deputy chief with the Woodstock Police Service (which operates in Oxford), has a history of drug enforcement and organized crime policing in Ontario. In Woodstock, oxys began to emerge in the early 2000s. However, by 2017, prescription drug misuse began to reach the same level as those of some illegal drugs such as cocaine. These days, a single 80-milligram oxy tablet can draw $40 to $50 on the street. Longworth remarked that if police took 100 people off the street for oxy sales, 100 more would soon replace them because of the sheer profitability of the drug. Police are heavily involved in educating the public about the situation. Also, the police are telling local doctors about the drugs they sometimes prescribe. “Some of them weren’t aware” of the magnitude of the problem, Longworth told the session.

Police have a tough time with targeting traffickers who are selling oxys because they’re dealing in a legal product. “We have to catch them right in the act,” Longworth said. Those problems are something Const. Steven McEwen, community service officer of the Woodstock Police, knows all too well. “Oxys are the main one,” McEwen, who sits on the task force, said at the session of the prescription drugs that are available on the streets.

Fifty Strong Task Force

Jason Smith, chair of the task force, told the session that the group includes 50 community agencies, a number which has been attained since the organization was incepted. One of the group’s aims is to give out information about the misuse of prescription drugs. “It has a huge effect on our community,” Smith said.

No one knows that better than Dan. Asked by one of the session spectators what role the family can play in helping a relative held in the clutches of prescription drug addiction, he said: “You have to have faith in them and stand with them.”

Drug Detox

Relapse Prevention: What to Do After Drug Abuse Treatment

After seeking drug abuse help and going through drug rehabilitation, drug users are back to dealing with normal life issues. The problem is that most drug abusers have a set of friends who use drugs, dealers who offer drugs and an environment that triggers relapse. After drug abuse treatment, users are tasked with relapse prevention to lower the chance of relapsing on their drug of choice.

What is Drug and Alcohol Abuse Relapse?

Although drug and alcohol detox is physically painful, many drug abusers have the hardest time during relapse prevention. Drug abuse treatment gets the drug abuser through the first few weeks of “kicking an opiate habit,” but the following weeks usually bring depression and a sense of confusion. It is during these times that the drug abuser is more likely to relapse on drugs, although a relapse can happen years after alcohol and drug abuse treatment. There is a high likelihood that a drug abuse will relapse after drug abuse treatment. Even if drug relapse occurs, the patient should focus on getting clean.

Substance Abuse Relapse and Drug Triggers

Drug users refer to any conversation, image, smell or activity that leads to temptation a “trigger.” Drug triggers make it more difficult for users to avoid drug relapse. For instance, seeing images of drugs in blogs or other forums can lead to temptation, so the drug abuser avoids these types of drug triggers for relapse prevention.

The biggest triggers are friends. The drug abuser needs to avoid hanging out with friends who use drugs. This is probably the most difficult choice, because some drug abusers have friends with whom they have associated for years. Some friends decide to quit using drugs and seek drug abuse treatment together to avoid the triggers.

Dealers who call and offer new products are also triggers. Some drug abusers delete the dealer’s phone number and flush any remaining product in the toilet to avoid a drug relapse. All of these triggers and steps to prevent drug relapse are emotionally and mentally difficult, but they improve the chance of a full recovery.

Diet and Exercise to Help Prevent Relapse

Diet and exercise play a role in drug prevention and it also helps with health, attitude, avoiding depression and improving mood. Drug users can help avoid drug relapse using diet and exercise. Cognitive behavioral therapy also helps deal with the depression and drug triggers. Regular exercise gets endorphins circulating and helps with improving move to avoid depression. These two factors reduce the chance of a drug relapse along with proper psychiatric therapy with a licensed professional.

Drug Detox

Prescription Drug Abuse Signs, Symptoms, Treatment

The use and abuse of prescription drugs has become a nation-wide epidemic. Children of younger and younger ages are making their way into grandma’s medicine cabinet and helping themselves to her supply. They pay no mind to the consequences because of the false perceptions that come along with prescription drugs. The abuse of prescription drugs is just as lethal as the abuse of hard-core street drugs. In 2014, 43% of drug overdoses reported in ERs were caused by prescription drugs. An estimated 2 million people suffer from prescription drug addiction.

Types of Prescriptions Commonly Abused

The most commonly abused prescription drugs are the following:

  • narcotic painkillers (Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Roxycontin, Codeine, Fentanyl, Percocet, Vicodin, Diluadid)
  • anti-anxiety medications (Xanax, Valium, Librium, Klonipan, Ativan)
  • ADHD medications (Ritalin, Vyvanz, Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine)

Keep these, and all medications, out of the reach of children. If narcotics are prescribed, they should be kept in a safe and secure place, where no one other then the person prescribed the medication can find the pills.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

The symptoms that manifest from prescription drug abuse depend on the medication being abused. In people that are misusing opiates, look for drowsiness, nausea, constipation, depression, low blood pressure, confusion, and decreased heart rate. For abusers of stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, the symptoms that may appear are weight loss, increased energy, increased anxiety, jitteriness, irritability, agitation, insomnia, high blood pressure, and irregular heart rate. If sedative abuse is suspected, watch out for fatigue, drowsiness, confusion, unsteadiness, poor judgment, and irregular eye movements. Some signs of drug abuse other then the physical side effects can be recurrent theft, manipulative tendencies, dishonesty, mood irregularities, poor judgment, and doctor shopping (go to more than one doctor in order to rack up numerous prescriptions).

Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse

If you suspect that someone you know and love is abusing prescription medications, seek treatment immediately. Often an interventionist, a therapist, or a psychiatrist is a good person to consult because often the person being confronted will deny that there is a problem, or get very angry. Let them know that your intentions are good, and that when they are ready, help is available. Speak to a doctor to see what level of treatment might be necessary for the person struggling. Individual counseling, outpatient treatment, detoxification, and inpatient rehabilitation are all great options for the addict. The earlier the intervention happens, the greater likelihood of recovery, but whatever stage the disease is at, help is possible. Call a 12-step intergroup and find a local support meeting to start off. These meetings can be great hubs of hope and recovery to show the addict that sobriety is possible. Stay diligent.

Drug Detox

Coping with Prescription Drug Abuse: Treatment Options

Prescription drugs are commonly prescribed by health care professionals to treat a variety of ailments. Of the three classes of prescription drugs most often abused, opioid-based painkillers rank first on the list. As the number of opiate drug prescriptions rises, so too does the number of people seeking treatment for prescription drug addiction and the DEA and FDA are concerned that individuals are obtaining medication solely to feed their addiction. Opioids are generally prescribed to treat mild to severe pain, however, when you develop a dependence upon the drug and must supplement your prescription to achieve the original pain-relieving effects, overdose, coma and death can occur.

Coping With Prescription Drug Abuse: Get Help!

A medical detox or medically supervised treatment program is necessary for people who suffer from a prescription drug addiction and are ready to break that addiction and begin a drug-free life. Medication can lessen the effects of detox and, in some cases, shorten the length of detox.

There are different kinds of medical detox and treatment available. One popular choice is methadone, a synthetic opioid that replaces the prescription drug being abused. This medicine has been used in addiction and withdrawal treatment for 30 years, but the strict regulations surrounding the drug means that it is only available for patients who are able to receive their medication daily in a clinic. This means showing up every morning before work, standing in line, and requesting take-homes whenever you have a business trip or vacation planned-and possibly getting turned down.

LAAM is similar to methadone, and Naltrexone is used after a successful detox to promote sustained abstinence from opiate use. Naltrexone is combined with buprenorphine in the prescription drug Suboxone. Suboxone can be prescribed by a doctor, which allows you to treat your prescription drug addiction at home without going to a prescription drug rehab.

Prescription drug addiction treatment programs are available on an inpatient or outpatient basis. As an inpatient, you will live in a facility until your treatment is done, which usually lasts between 30 days and six months. An outpatient program is usually a better fit for those who have obligations to their career or family and asks you to attend daily but allows you to return home each night.

How To Know if You Need Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse

Not everyone is objective enough to realize when they are suffering from prescription drug addiction and are in need of treatment. One common action employed by abusers of prescription drugs is to go to several doctors in order to ensure an adequate supply. Another sign of addiction is the amount of money you spend to maintain your habit, the bills and other expenses you forego to continue to pay for your prescription refills and what you are willing to give up to make sure that you are never without your drug of choice. Relationships that were important to you before addiction become less important. You are suspicious of and defensive when people ask you about your prescription. Learn more about, “What is Drug Rehab” and get comfortable with the idea of getting help.

If you or someone you love is struggling with prescription drug abuse, don’t wait to get the help you need. It can be as private and inexpensive as you need it to be. Choose inpatient drug rehab, outpatient treatment or medical detox and get the help you need to win your fight with prescription drug abuse and addiction today. Some people prefer a holistic detox option, which can work for mild addiction, but for most addicts a traditional, medical detox followed by rehab is the most successful path to recovery.

Drug Detox

Prescription Drug Detox

When you are suffering from mental stress, ADHD, or severe pain and anxiety, it is necessary for you to meet with a doctor and get prescription medications. Unfortunately, it is also one of the primary reasons there is an abuse of prescription drugs. Since most of the drugs are psychoactive, and some of them can create hallucinations it often tends to lead people to dependency on that particular drug. People generally come under the impression that these are the drugs that have been prescribed by the doctor, and therefore no harm can come from it. However, any time you deviate from the regular schedule of using the drugs, you are encouraging substance abuse within yourself.

According to a recent study by the National drug use and health Forum, it has been found that over 52 million people that are above the age of 13 have at least undertaken substance abuse through such prescription drugs. Without professional help, getting rid of the prescription drug addiction can be a big problem. Typically, the best thing that is needed is to consult another doctor and possibly go for a detox program.

The detox program will effectively get rid of all the toxins in your body. The length of the program is dependent upon the dependency on prescription drugs and the severity of it.

Different classes of prescription drugs

According to medical practitioners, there are three different classes of prescription drugs available in the market. They are;

  1. Opiate drugs for pain relief
  2. Depressants for the central nervous system
  3. Stimulants

Each type is responsible for causing a certain dependency on the drug by the user, and making changes to this dependency requires a considerable amount of time. If there are any abrupt changes in taking these drugs, it can result in withdrawal symptoms that can be even life threatening if it is not corrected at the earliest.

Detox for prescription drugs

One has to remember that substance abuse is a pretty common issue in the United States, and the level of abuse is only second to the people consuming marijuana. The level of the dependency on such prescription drugs can be directly related to the withdrawal symptoms that people experience during the detox.

Since almost all the drugs that form a part of your medical prescription come with withdrawal symptoms, attempting to undertake detox on your own is not advised. Rather, it should be medically supervised, and one should also get into a rehabilitation program. Detox is not single-handedly responsible for getting rid of their addiction, proper therapeutic and psychological sessions in the form of rehabilitation should also be done for the drug addict. Any kind of relapse after the detox without proper rehabilitation can be pretty dangerous for the drug addict. They could result in the person consuming the same or even larger quantities of prescription drugs that could lead to fatal consequences. This is the reason why professional care is very much a necessity in case of prescription drugs addiction.


Can My Family Visit Me During Rehab?

Can my family visit me in rehab?

Are you considering going to the rehab center for any substance or alcohol abuse? If so, then you might be wondering whether you can get your family members to visit you while the treatment is going on. There are various rehab center is that normally advise as well as encourage the family members to visit their loved ones. It provides a lot of encouragement and hope for the family member as he or she would not feel unwanted. The family members are also advised to attend any kind of information sessions in which they can understand about the addiction problems as well as its proper treatment. It can also help them to detect any withdrawal symptoms or for the use of drugs after the program is complete.

There are also various treatment centers that encourage the family members some psychological help so that they can deal with the addicted person in question. When you have a drug addict in your family, it is not affecting the health of the drug user, but also the mentality of the entire family is affected. As a family, they have to remain a constant source of support for the drug user, in and out of rehab. The family would need to know how to direct their anger, frustration, or even provide loving support to the user in times of need.

Can the family visit at the very beginning of your rehab journey?

You need to keep in mind that when you visit a rehab, the primary focus would be on your recovery. So, your family would have to visit you after a period of time, given that you are progressing properly in the recovery. Your family would become a source of inspiration, rather like a dog that is given treats after it has behaved well. Your family would also need to be very much focused upon your recovery, so much so that they would be willing to cut you off in case you relapse into drug addiction.

It is more likely that your family will be recommended to visit after the first week of your treatment. There are various detox centers that also advise family to not visit the establishment until and unless the treatment has been underway for a considerable period of time. This can allow the addicted user to focus on the task at hand, and get adjusted to the routine that has been given by the treatment center.

It is advised that instead of making use of mobile phones to contact with family members, the drug addicts could actually start writing letters to the family. This would let them to focus on the task at hand, help them to bring out their emotions much better, and also give them a pathway by which they can communicate their progress with their family members. This behavior encourages the drug users to move from their drug addicted life to a life that is fulfilling, and filled with a lot of hope.