By Jacqueline Havelka

PO Box 221876, Hollywood, FL 33022 (866) MCP-BOOK (toll-free) • www.masoncrest.com

Copyright © 2023 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-4719-8 Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4222-4722-8 ebook ISBN: 978-1-4222-7093-6 Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file with the Library of Congress Developed and Produced by National Highlights, Inc. Editor: Andrew Morkes Cover and Interior Design: Tara Raymo • CreativelyTara Layout: Priceless Digital Media, LLC Publisher’s Note: Websites listed in this book were active at the time of publication. The publisher is not responsible for websites that have changed their address or discontinued operation since the date of publication. The publisher reviews and updates the websites each time the book is reprinted.

You may gain access to certain third-party content (“Third-Party Sites”) by scanning and using the QR Codes that appear in this publication (the “QR Codes”). We do not operate or control in any respect any information, products, or services on such Third-Party Sites linked to by us via the QR Codes included in this publication, and we assume no responsibility for any materials you may access using the QR Codes. Your use of the QR Codes may be subject to terms, limitations, or restrictions set forth in the applicable terms of use or otherwise established by the owners of the Third-Party Sites. Our linking to such Third-Party Sites via the QR Codes does not imply an endorsement or sponsorship of such Third-Party Sites or the information, products, or services offered on or through the Third-Party Sites, nor does it imply an endorsement or sponsorship of this publication by the owners of such Third-Party Sites.


Introduction ................................................................................. 7 Chapter 1: What Is Drug Addiction? ....................................... 11 Chapter 2: The Negative Physical and Mental Effects of Drug Addiction . .................................... 25 Chapter 3: Treating Addiction ................................................. 37 Chapter 4: The Impact on Loved Ones ................................... 51 Glossary of Key Terms . ............................................................. 66 Further Reading and Internet Resources ............................... 73 Index . .......................................................................................... 74 Credits . ....................................................................................... 79 Author’s Biography ................................................................... 80 KEY ICONS TO LOOK FOR: Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more! Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.



We live in stressful times. The COVID-19 pandemic, political unrest, and other ongoing challenges (such as poverty, racism, serious damage to the environment, job loss, financial distress, and the illnesses and deaths of loved ones) have raised stress to record levels. “These compounding stressors are having real consequences on our minds and bodies,” according to the American Psychological Association, which says that these and other problems are causing a “national mental health crisis” in the United States. The situation is the same or even worse in other countries around the world. As a result, many people are abusing drugs and alcohol more frequently and/or engaging in other addictive behaviors to reduce stress and blunt the pain of the loss of loved ones, relationships, homes, or jobs, or other serious life events. One example is the rising number of drug overdoses, which have been fueled by the growing use and spread of the deadly opioid fentanyl. Nearly 100,000 Americans died from overdoses from June 2020 to June 2021—an 18.2 percent increase from June 2019 to June 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other addictions—such as problem gambling or spending too much time on social media or playing video games—are not typically physically dangerous, but they



can damage our mental health, cause us to lose focus on important things in life (e.g., our families, relationships, faith, or careers), and otherwise downgrade the quality of our lives. For those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol or who have unhealthy relationships with food, gambling, or even shopping or social media, it can seem daunting to overcome these challenges, especially given the ongoing stressors in their lives. But there is hope for anyone who feels that they are controlled by an addiction or who seeks to otherwise rebalance their lives. They will have a bright future if they seek help with their addictions from friends and families, and, most significantly, from counselors, physicians, and clinicians (such as psychologists and psychiatrists). Each book in the Detoxing from series spotlights a major addiction; discusses the negative physical and mental effects of the addiction on the addict, as well as its effects on family and other loved ones; and provides an overview of treatment strategies for the addiction. Stories of those who are battling addictions are also featured to humanize these issues and help readers better understand that anyone—from young and old, to the wealthy, middle class, or the poor, to those who have a PhD or who are still in high school—can develop toxic relationships with drugs, alcohol, gambling, and/or other behaviors. The path to detoxing from drugs, alcohol, problem gambling, and other challenges will not be easy—and there may be bumps in the road. But there will be happiness, healing, and the opportunity for personal growth and success for those who continue walking on the road of recovery.



dopamine: a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain euphoria: extreme happiness genetics: properties that determine the features and characteristics of an organism opioids: drugs like morphine, heroin, and hydrocodone that are often abused withdrawal: the unpleasant physical symptoms that follow discontinued use of an addictive drug


1 Chapter

What Is Drug Addiction?

All About Drug Addiction Drug addiction is a disease. Addicts seek out drugs and find that drug use is difficult or impossible to control, even though they know that the drug use can cause physical and mental harm. Over time, repeated drug use changes the brain. The addicted person has trouble with self-control and finds it hard to resist the intense urge to take more drugs. Drug addiction is also referred to as substance abuse disorder . Drugs affect the reward circuit in the brain. When they are used, the person feels euphoria caused by a chemical called dopamine that is naturally released by the body. The drugs cause the reward circuit to operate differently. Normally, the brain’s reward mechanism motivates a person toward healthy behaviors like eating nutritious food or spending time with friends. However, the surges of dopamine that come with drug use can reinforce pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors, causing the person to use drugs again and again. The brain adapts and reduces its ability to respond to the reward. You may have heard this referred to as drug tolerance . The person has to take more and more of the drug to achieve the same euphoria . Long-term drug use can cause significant brain changes in learning, decision-making, judgment, and memory.


Having a strong support group is one of the keys to overcoming addiction.

Many recovering drug users relapse, meaning that people in recovery are at high risk of returning to their drug use, even after years of being drug-free. Because it is so easy to relapse, drug users must dedicate themselves to lifelong ongoing treatment that can be modified over time to fit their current needs. Adam’s Story There is a well-known saying about addiction: It doesn’t care who you are, it can still hit you. People of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and income levels can become drug addicts. It can happen to a 16-year old, a 60-year-old, or an 80-year-old. Genetics can be a factor as well. Babies who have drug-addicted mothers can even show signs of drug withdrawal .


Detoxing from Drugs

Adam’s story is a very common one. He became addicted to painkillers at age 16. He went to a party where kids were experimenting with alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. Adam’s friend had taken some painkiller pills called OxyContin from his parents’ medicine cabinet. Adam didn’t know anything about OxyContin, but due to peer pressure, he decided to give it a try. OxyContin is widely prescribed by doctors for severe pain. The father of Adam’s friend was recovering from surgery and had been prescribed this painkiller. He hadn’t taken all of his drugs and had left the prescription bottle in his medicine cabinet. John’s friend wanted to be popular at the party, so he took his father’s medication along with him. OxyContin is highly addictive. In fact, as many as one in four patients can become addicted to it, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. People like Adam and his friend misused OxyContin, which is a time-released drug that works slowly over several hours. However, Adam’s friend crushed the pill, and the boys snorted the medication, feeling the full effect of the drug immediately. Adam became addicted. Oxycontin users quickly build up a drug tolerance, and Adam soon began needing more and more to feel the same euphoria. He began buying the drug on the streets, and he even looked through medicine cabinets of family and friends to steal any leftover medication. Adam’s family and friends intervened, and Adam began a five-year struggle with addiction, a process he described as “hell on Earth.” Adam is now 30 and has been sober for many years. He talks about the toll the drugs took on his body and how physically excruciating it was to go through withdrawal. Adam continues to suffer from health problems, but he is thankful to be alive. His story is very common. Luckily, he survived his ordeal, but many are not as lucky. The same CDC report mentioned earlier shows that 165,000 opioid deaths occurred in the US in a fifteen-year period between 1999 and 2014.


What Is Drug Addiction?

Drug abuse might begin casually as a one-time experiment at a party but quickly turn into an addiction.

Signs of a Drug Problem You may know someone like Adam. Addicts are not just athletes and celebrities, but possibly people in your everyday life. How do you know whether someone close to you has an addiction problem? Here are some signs to look for. You may see a friend directly using drugs. A first instance may be a casual use, but you may see the person having an intense urge for the drug or using it several times a day. That points to an addiction. You may also witness the person taking larger quantities of the drug to achieve the same effect. The person may spend money on the drug despite not being able to afford it, or he or she may be preoccupied with always maintaining a supply of the drug.


Detoxing from Drugs

Many people use drugs in secret. You may never see the person actually use a drug, but you may notice other signs and behaviors. One of the biggest signs is mood swings or mood changes. Unfortunately, moodiness is often attributed to teen hormones and not to a drug problem. Your friend may become aggressive or angry. A normally upbeat person may become despondent. You may notice your friend losing interest in activities they once enjoyed or dropping an old group of friends to hang out with a new group. The person may start to break rules or otherwise act irresponsibly. He or she may miss school or work assignments. Your friend may avoid eye contact, make secretive phone calls, or offer excuses or even lie about his or her behavior. He or she may frequently ask for money or even steal.

Caption text here Challenging relationships, workplace issues, sexual abuse, and many other things can prompt people to start abusing drugs or to relapse from abstinence.


What Is Drug Addiction?

You may also notice physical changes like weight loss, red eyes, hand tremors, or nosebleeds. He or she may sleep more than usual. They may start to have a sloppy appearance or poor hygiene, or they may be extremely tired or extremely hyperactive, and anxious or fidgety. If you know the person well, you will likely sense that something is amiss. Just remember that casual drug use at parties can quickly turn into an addiction. Furthermore, addiction is a progressive disease, and while early warning signs can be challenging to spot, unhealthy patterns become more obvious over time and develop into a full blown substance abuse disorder. Paying attention to early warning signs can prevent a larger problem later. Just remember that the earlier you intervene, the better. As a teen yourself, you are in your friend’s social circle, and therefore you may see the drug problem before adults (e.g., parents or teachers) see it. If you suspect a drug problem, talk to your friend or an adult in your friend’s life. Why People Abuse Drugs People often abuse drugs as a way to escape the stresses of everyday life. Teens are often under peer pressure to try drugs, as was the case in John’s story earlier. The euphoria that drugs provide is a temporary stress reducer, but unfortunately this practice can quickly lead to drug dependency. Stress also is a major determining factor regarding whether someone relapses into drug addiction. A person can be doing well but then experience a relationship problem or lose their job and relapse due to the stress caused by these events. Addicts have nervous systems that are much more sensitive to stress hormones sent to the brain to produce the fight-or-flight reaction. When a person is stressed, the body sends hormones as chemical messengers to the brain to reserve fuel; this is the “fight or flight” scenario. Usually, these hormones are released in small amounts, but if a person is


Detoxing from Drugs

Made with FlippingBook Annual report maker