addiction family holding hands

Addiction is a Family Disease

When you or somebody you love is struggling with addiction, it is often referred to as a family disease because of the impact the addiction has on the individual struggling and those around them. Being a family member of someone who is struggling can be extremely difficult because of the emotional turmoil that occurs while watching a loved one grapple with their battle with addiction. 

Some of the emotions that may arise from being a bystander to a loved one’s addiction include fear, anger, sadness, shame, guilt, anxiety and/ or depression. The emotions of helplessness and hopelessness are commonly experienced as you are forced to watch your loved one self-destruct. These feelings can evoke a belief that your loved one’s struggle with addiction is your responsibility: “Their pain is your pain; their struggle is your struggle.” 

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stop enabling addict drinking

Stop enabling an addict

If you have a friend or family member that struggles with addiction, it is likely that you have heard the phrase, “you to need to stop enabling the addict.” We always want the best for our loved ones, especially those struggling with addiction. We believe that we are doing the right thing when helping them. At the end of the day, we may not realize that our helping could be enabling the habits and behaviours of someone struggling with addiction. When we enable an addict, we are preventing them from seeing the total consequences to their actions and/or behaviours. 

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the importance of self-care - self-care isn't selfish sign

The importance of self-care

To say that life has been stressful this year is an understatement. Life as we know it has changed completely. We have been faced with social, financial, professional and spiritual restrictions. This has created a lot of additional stress for many of us and there really isn’t an end in sight. When life gets hectic and overwhelming, we can burn out from pushing ourselves too much without a break.  

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Are you addicted to drama?

Are You Addicted to Drama?

Do you know someone whose life is in a constant state of chaos?  For whom everything is a crisis.

Perhaps this is you?

Chaos addicts are more common than you think.

Signs You’re Addicted to Drama

  • You love to gossip.
  • You hate when you’re not the centre of attention.
  • You’re always late.
  • You’re always fighting with someone.
  • You overshare on social media.
  • You yell and scream to make your point.
  • You’re always sticking your nose in other people’s business.
  • You end or threaten to end relationships often.
  • You like to stir the pot.

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Impulsive Behaviour vs Compulsive Behaviour

Impulsive and Compulsive Behaviour

Impulsivity and compulsivity are natural behaviours that are essential for human survival. Being impulsive is acting on instinct. Being compulsive is acting upon an irresistible urge. While similar sounding, these two behaviours differ in intent. Impulsive behaviour is action without thought, compulsive behaviour is premeditated.

For some, impulsive or compulsive behaviour becomes an addiction, leading to serious mental health disorders that take control of their lives. Learning to recognize these behaviours, their causes, and the disorders associated, can better educate us about the mental health challenges facing our community, and help end the stigma surrounding mental health disorders.

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Understanding Common Mental Health Terms

Common mental health terms

Everyday we hear people talking about different mental health disorders, but how many of us know what they truly mean? To help clarify, the following are definitions of some of the most common mental health conditions.

Addiction

Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by a compulsive desire to do or to have something despite harmful consequences.

Anxiety

Anxiety is an intense feeling of fear, worry, nervousness, or unease caused by the anticipation of an imminent event or situation with an uncertain outcome.

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Addiction Myths and Facts

Addiction myths

Unless you or a loved one has a history of substance abuse, it’s hard to understand the true nature of addiction.  Without personal experience, people often fill their knowledge gap with presumptions, speculation, rumour, and conjecture, creating myths about addiction, and the recovery process that overshadow facts.  So, let’s clear the air.  The following are some of the most common myths about substance abuse, addiction, and recovery, and the real facts everyone should know.

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Eating Disorders

Understanding Eating Disorders

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are serious mental health illnesses defined by abnormal eating habits that can have a profoundly negative affect a person’s physical and psychological health.

People with eating disorders become obsessed with food and their body weight.  Whether the eating disorder manifests as eating too little, or too much, individuals with eating disorders use their preoccupation with food to create a sense of control over their lives, and to distract themselves from the painful emotions that are at the root of the condition.

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Commonly Used Illegal Drugs - Methamphetamine

Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Methamphetamine

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is a highly addictive, synthetic stimulant.

Developed in the early 1900s, methamphetamine gained popularity during World War II as a way to keep soldiers awake.  After the war, use became prevalent among college students, truck drivers, athletes, and homemakers who used the drug for its ability to create increased alertness, energy, and confidence; and suppress appetite.

Today, methamphetamine is one of the most commonly used illegal drugs in the world.

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Commonly Used Drugs - Cocaine

Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Cocaine

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug extracted from the leaves of the South American coca bush.

When processed, it is available in two forms, hydrochloride salt and freebase.  Hydrochloride salt is the powdered form of cocaine, it can be snorted, or dissolved in water and injected.  Freebase is the base form of cocaine, it’s sold as solid rock crystal and is “cooked” using heat and inhaled or “smoked”.

Crack cocaine is derivative of cocaine made by cooking hydrochloride salt with water and baking soda. It is also smoked, typically through a pipe. Continue reading “Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Cocaine”

Heroin Use

Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Heroin

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an illegal, opioid drug synthesized from morphine, a natural substance derived from the seedpod of the opium poppy.

In its purest form, heroin is fine, white powder.  When the drug is “cut” with other substances its colour and consistency can change.  Street heroin can range from a white powder to a beige or brown grainy substance to a dark black tar.  The purity of heroin varies significantly from batch-to-batch and depending on which additives are used to cut the drug, this will determine its potency and risk. Continue reading “Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Heroin”

Can Animal-Assisted Therapy Prevent Sustance Abuse?

Animals and your sobriety

Yes! According to a 2017 national survey of individuals recovering from addictions by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), pet therapy is valuable as a pathway to recovery. In Saskatchewan, 68.4% of survey respondents identified their relationship with animals or pets as an important support in recovery, and 39.5% said their relationship with animals was important to maintaining their recovery.

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Commonly Abused Prescription Stimulants

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Stimulants

Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin increase alertness, attention and energy by amplifying the activity of certain brain neurotransmitters including dopamine and norepinephrine. These prescription psychoactive drugs act similar to illegal substances like cocaine, crack and methamphetamine.

Originally prescribed for a wide variety of medical conditions, as the prevalence of abuse became more wide spread stricter standards were enacted. Today, prescription stimulants are predominately prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and occasionally depression.

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How to Talk to Your Child About Drugs and Alcohol

Talking to children about drugs and alcohol addiction

Research shows that children who learn the facts about drugs and alcohol from their parents are significantly less likely to use them.

No child is immune from exposure to drugs and alcohol.  Teen drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent in every community across Canada, and addiction has become a national crisis.

Children who aren’t properly educated about the dangers of drugs and alcohol are more likely to experiment and have a greater risk of addiction. Continue reading “Talking to children about drugs and alcohol addiction”

Commonly Abused Prescription Depressants

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Depressants

Prescription depressants are used as popular sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics. They work by increasing the amount of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) neurotransmitters in the brain to produce a calming effect on the central nervous system that reduces anxiety and over-stimulation and induces feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

Prescription depressants are grouped into three drug classes: Benzodiazepines, like Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan; Barbiturates, like Nembutal; and Sedative-Hypnotics like Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata. Continue reading “Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Depressants”

Commonly Abused Prescription Opioids

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Opioids

Prescription opioids are powerful pain relievers prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe acute pain.  They work by blocking the pain receptors in the brain, stimulating dopamine that produces a feeling of euphoria, heightened pleasure, relaxation, and in some cases, an altered state of consciousness. Opioids can be highly addictive even when used as prescribed and can cause a physical and mental dependency within a short period of time. Continue reading “Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Opioids”