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Anxiety and Addiction

Throughout life, the majority of us will be affected by anxiety in one way or another. For some of us it is just a minor blip to our normal, everyday life. However, for others it can be all encompassing and quite literally take control of our lives, sometimes without us even knowing it. 

Most commonly, when experiencing anxiety someone may experience an elevated heart rate, irritability, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, lack of focus and/ or increased worry.  

For many, anxiety is a short-lived issue that can be dealt with through calming breathing exercises, yoga, talk therapy and making life changes to fix the problem being faced with. Though, for some, especially those struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, anxiety is a deep-rooted issue that needs to be dealt with before it takes over more of your life than it already has.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) reports that people with a mental illness such as anxiety are twice as likely to have a substance use problem compared to the general population. More often than not, addiction is a result of someone suffering silently from anxiety, and not created by the addiction itself, as some would like to believe. 

Social Stigma

Unfortunately, even in 2020 there still is a social stigma around seeking help for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. CAMH also states that 40 per cent of respondents to a 2016 survey agreed to have had experienced feelings of anxiety or depression, but never sought medical help for it. 

Self-medicating your anxiety

These misconceptions can lead to self-medicating in an attempt to mask their problem. Though initially this may alleviate some of the pain caused by the anxiety, it does not solve the initial problem, and only creates a larger one over time – a dependance to the substance used. This vicious circle results in the body building a tolerance to the drug of choice, be it prescription pills, illicit drugs or alcohol, and many times adding different types of stronger substances to avoid the feelings of anxiety. 

Self-medicating is all about avoidance. Avoiding the feeling of doubt and pain caused by whatever set off the feelings of anxiety in the first place. 

This ‘coping mechanism’ is neither beneficial short or long-term. It creates both an overwhelming addiction as well as for many, a financial crisis because of the high costs of illicit drugs and prescription medication. On top of this, as people continue down this path, overdose, hospitalization, jail or even death can occur if something doesn’t change. 

If you feel a friend or loved one is experiencing any of these anxiety and addiction related issues, your first step should be to contact a rehabilitation centre such as The Farm. We employ experts in the field that can help you address these concerns and create a plan to help your loved one with both their addiction as well as coping with anxiety issues.

Addiction Myths and Facts

ADDICTION MYTHS: Separating Fact from Fiction

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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Commonly Used Illegal Drugs - Methamphetamine

OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: 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

OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: 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, cocaine 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 “OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Cocaine”

Heroin Use

OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: 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.  As 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 “OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Heroin”

Commonly Used Club Drugs

OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Club Drugs

Club drugs are a group of psychoactive drugs that take their name from their popularity at nightclubs, concerts, bars, and all-night dance parties. Club drugs are also commonly called designer drugs, as most are synthesized in a lab.

Generally used by teens and young adults, the majority of club drug use is limited to specific places, events, and activities where the drugs are thought to improve the overall experience or solicit a certain response.

The most common club drugs are Ecstasy, GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol.  All of these drugs act on the body’s central nervous system to produce a sense of euphoria, reduced inhibitions, heighten emotional and sensory feelings, and hallucinogenic effects.  But not all club drugs are the same.

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Am I An Addict?

AM I AN ADDICT?

Sometimes what you are most of afraid of admitting is the very thing that will set you free.

The cliché is true, the hardest part of addiction recovery is admitting you have a problem. Denial is a major part of addiction, and many people have to reach rock bottom before they will accept that they need help.

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you already know you have an issue with substance abuse, but you may be uncertain if you’re an addict.

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Commonly Abused Prescription Stimulants

OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: 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

HOW TO TALK TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT DRUGS AND ALCOHOL

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 “HOW TO TALK TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT DRUGS AND ALCOHOL”

Commonly Abused Prescription Depressants

OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: 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 “OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Depressants”