The warning signs of almost addicts

Marijuana, pain-killers, and cocaine are just a few of the drugs people think they can use without becoming an addict. But even without an official diagnosis, the drugs can have a big impact on users' lives.

He won the Super Bowl with Tom Brady and the Patriots, then Chris Sullivan spiraled out of control. He started taking pain killers, after an injury.

"It's just such a small pill, you know, you're like what can this really do to me," says Former New England Patriot Chris Sullivan.

Chris didn't think he had a drug problem, then a friend turned him on to heroin, and he was hooked. His $25,000 a month habit took over his life.

"For people who are vulnerable to them, the very first time they take one of these pills, it might be the best that they feel in their entire lives," explains Author of ‘Almost Addicted’ J. Wesley Boyd, MD, PhD.

Harvard Medical School's Doctor Wes Boyd says 10 percent of the population are true addicts, others don't use drugs at all. In between are recreational drug users and many might be considered almost addicted.

"Consider as seriously as possible exactly how you are using substances and how they make you feel," says Dr. Boyd.

The doctor tells us these people fall short of being diagnosed as addicts, but drugs can still hurt their health, daily lives, and relationships. There's a chance, that like Chris, they could become full blown addicts.

Here are some warning signs. Users can only relax in social settings when they're on drugs. They miss functions or obligations because they're high. Their careers suffer, and they have conflicts with co-workers, family, or friends.

Chris has been drug free since 2008, and hopes his experience will help stop other almost addicts, from crossing the line.

"You really got to pay attention, you know,” says Sullivan. “I didn't. And it can happen to anyone."

Doctor Boyd says, there are several things loved ones can do to help almost addicts, including employing leverage.

He says, in some cases, the seven C’s could convince them to seek help. That means, cutting off their access to cash, credit cards, checks, cars, cell phones, and computers, and implementing a curfew.

For more about almost addicts go to thealmosteffect.com.

The warning signs of almost addicts
REPORT # 1964

DRUG DEPENDENCE: Addiction to drugs, whether they be illegal substances or commonly used medications, can be defined as the compulsive use of certain substances regardless of consequences. Some drugs can also cause a physical dependence in which the user will experience withdrawal if they go without using the drug, while others can lead to an addiction without actual physical dependence. Typically, most addictions begin as recreational or occasional use and then transforms into something more serious, although why some people become addicts while others may use substances without developing an addiction is not known. (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
RISK OF ADDICTION: Things that may make someone more susceptible to developing a drug addiction include:

* Genetics - Individuals with addiction issues in the family may have an increased risk for addiction. Other issues stemming from a person's biology, such as mental illness, could also raise the likelihood of drug abuse.
* Environment - Whether someone experiences a lot of stress, has easy access to drugs, is often around others who use drugs, or has gone through a traumatic event are all environmental risk factors for addiction.
* Childhood Development and Experiences - Growing up with parents or guardians with substance abuse issues can lead to the child having the same problems later on in life. Using drugs during the formative years of adolescence or young adulthood may also raise the risk of becoming addicted as an adult.
(Source: www.drugabuse.gov)

TREATMENT: Because of an addict's compulsion to use drugs, treatment can often be a long and difficult process. Admitting that someone has an addiction is the first step since many addicts will deny that they have a problem to themselves and others around them. Generally, some form of counseling is needed to help the person overcome their addiction and help them make better lifestyle choices. In situations where the individual is physically dependent, they may need to go to a medical facility that can monitor their withdrawal symptoms. The person may also need to treat an underlying condition, such as depression or bipolar disorder, which may be partly responsible for their reliance on drugs. (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

For More Information, Contact:

J. Wesley Boyd, M.D., Ph.D., Author of Almost Addicted
(891)449-1995
jwboyd@cha.harvard.edu


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