Menopause – truth and myths

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Being a woman isn’t easy. Our bodies go through tremendous changes throughout our entire lives. Many of those changes, from menstruation to pregnancy to menopause, have been tainted with negative misconceptions.

It’s easy enough to see why an innocent 12-year-old may believe that a girl can’t get pregnant during her period, or how a naïve 16-year-old could believe that a woman can’t get pregnant if she only “does it” once. But we hope that by our mid-40s we won’t be so easily fooled and are better able to separate fact from fiction.

Yet, misconceptions persist.

The best defense to ignorance and fear is education. So, as we pass into the “change of life,” it’s better to be prepared than it is to be scared.

What is menopause?

blond-hair-casual-chairs-1251832As women age past child-bearing years, they’ll experience a normal condition called menopause. According to Arizona Gynecology Consultants, which is dedicated to providing excellent health care to all women, menopause occurs when a woman’s ovaries no longer release an egg every month and menstruation ceases to occur. It is a perfectly normal part of aging and generally takes place after the age of 40.

There are three stages to watch for:

  • Perimenopause: According to Arizona Gynecology Consultants, when the ovaries gradually begin producing less estrogen, a woman is considered perimenopausal. Typical symptoms of perimenopause include worsening PMS, irregular periods, mood swings, and trouble sleeping. The average length of perimenopause is between four and ten years.
  • Menopause: If a woman has not menstruated in a year, she is in menopause. Typical symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, sleep difficulties, and irritability. This phase can last anywhere from ten months to four years.
  • Postmenopause: At this point in a woman’s life, the inconvenient and uncomfortable menopausal symptoms begin to gradually decrease. The chances for conceiving and becoming pregnant no

Falsehoods & Myths About Menopause

Where do these falsehoods and myths about menopause come from? Sometimes from our own mothers or grandmothers who themselves were misinformed. Other times, simple lack of available educational resources. And we all know that the Internet can sometimes be a hotbed of outright lies and untruths. That’s why it’s so important to equip yourself with the truth so you can make critical decisions about your health and your body as you enter and pass through these phases.

  1. background-citric-citrus-1493378Menopause starts at 50. While it’s true that the average age of menopause is 51, women get a little bit confused about what menopause actually is. True menopause is diagnosed when you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months. However, there’s a lot that happens prior to that point – typically evidenced by well-known menopause symptoms such as irregular periods, skipped periods, hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, changes in libido, weight gain, increased abdominal weight, etc. All of these things can take place over the course of several years or more leading up to menopause, which means it typically begins when women are in their 40s. This “gearing up” phase is called perimenopause.
  2. You’re destined to be heavier in menopause.Yes, declining estrogen leads to a slowdown of your metabolism. However, that slow down isn’t anything a healthy diet and regular exercise can’t handle. As you approach menopause, it’s important to make sure you’re truly cutting back on all background-blue-background-close-up-1328890those processed carbs and white sugary additives that pack bulk on a body that wants to keep blood sugar balanced. When you find the “sweet spot” created by a higher-protein, lower-carb diet, your sugar cravings will diminish. Switch white flour products to whole wheat versions, focus on eating more whole foods, fruits and veggies and skip the processed snacks and fast foods. Drink more water, fruit-infused if that helps, and give up sweetened beverages for the most part. Then, make sure you’re exercising for at least 30-minutes, three to four times a week. A brisk walk is just fine, but balance that with resistance training to boost muscle mass and bone density, the former of which increases metabolism!
  3. Hot flashes are the most common symptoms of menopause.They’re certainly the one that gets the most attention, but not every woman experiences them. Or, some women experience very mild versions that don’t interrupt their life at all. Equally common is disruption in sleep patterns. When you notice that your periods are lightening up or that you’re skipping them altogether, start establishing a clear nighttime sleep pattern and a set bedtime. This can help you weather the insomnia storm. Adding more rigorous physical activity into your daily routine can also help. If you don’t exercise like you should, make it a priority and try to mix it up. If you’re a swimmer, try adding a Zumba or flow yoga class into the routine. This shift will task different muscle groups, which gives you a better workout and will make you more tired.
  4. Your body doesn’t produce hormones after menopause. It’s not that your body doesn’t produce hormones, it’s that it restructures the types and quantities of the hormones it does produce. The biggest changes occur in the levels of estrogen you generate, and that makes sense since pre-menopausal women need more estrogen to remain fertile. Once you’ve hit menopause, ovarian hormone production is diminished. The majority of your estrogen and progesterone are produced by the adrenal glands. This drop in estrogen is part of what contributes to incontinence as well, so learn more about core and pelvic floor toning exercisesthat will counteract that.adult-casual-chef-1418355
  5. The sex drive tanks after menopause. We can’t deny that changes in hormones affect sex drive. We also can’t deny that decreased vaginal lubrication and thinning tissues – which can make sex more uncomfortable– are also contributing factors. Then, there is the fact that you may be exhausted because many women go through menopause with a house full of young children and/or teenagers. Plus, you may have been with your partner for a decade, two decades – or more – by now. So, which one is responsible for the lack of libido? Hard to say. What we do know is that when you feel good about yourself, your partner, and your relationship – and when you are rested and well-lubricated – the libido seems to perk right back up!
  6. Hormone replacement therapy is dangerous. It’s not hormone replacement therapy that is dangerous – it’s unregulated and unmonitored hormone replacement therapy that can have consequences. If your menopause symptoms seem to be more dramatic than normal or if they negatively-impact your life, hormone therapy can have wonderful results. The key is to work with a doctor who uses the least amount of hormones to do the trick – and then gently wean off of them to see if your body finds its own healthy balance once you’ve officially reached menopause.
  7. Menopause is a dreaded event.Look around at the number of vibrant women in their 60s, 70s and 80s. You’ll quickly realize it’s time to kick this menopause myth to the curb. For many of our patients, the confidence, self-understanding, wisdom and freedom that accompanies menopause are worth every single one of the physical changes. The best way to make a smooth transition from middle-age to menopause is to surround yourself with energetic and empowered women. Find an OB who will work with you to find solutions or balms for any hiccups that may arise.

 

What Is Menopause?

New vs Used Car – Buying Advice and Tips

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Other than your home, your car might be the most expensive purchase that you ever make. I love nice cars, but I also try to manage my finances responsibly. Most of the time, it can be possible that biyng a new car is an unnecessary expense.

Sure, you can find overpriced used cars and bargain buys on brand-new vehicles, but it’s not just the sticker price that makes a new car a waste. The associated fees, subsequent costs, and losses in value add up to thousands of dollars over the first few years of new car ownership.

On the other hand, a slightly-used car – one that’s only around two years old and has under 30,000 miles on it – can help you keep cash in your pocket without sacrificing quality. Below are 6 benefits of buying a used car (in like-new condition) over a brand new one.

1. Used Cars: Lower Price Tag, Less Depreciation

action-adult-auto-401800Remember the old adage that a new car loses thousands of dollars in value the moment you drive it off the lot? It’s still true, and it’s why used cars are better bargains.

Think about the average price of buying new. Figures from CNW Marketing Research show that the average price of a new car in 2008 was $25,536 before taxes and fees. That car could now be worth around $13,000. Would you rather be the original buyer, who lost $12,000 or $13,000, or the second buyer who saves that much?

If you buy a car that’s one or two years old, it’ll still depreciate, but you’ll lose less money less quickly. And you’ll avoid that big initial hit that the previous owner took.

2. Sales Tax on New Cars

Every ad for a new car glosses over the tax issue. Many state laws subject new cars to state sales tax, but not used cars. In Georgia, for example, if you buy a used car from a private seller, you won’t owe any sales tax at all. Comparatively, the sales tax that dealers have to add to the price of a new car can be thousands of dollars. Don’t underestimate the savings, and research your state’s laws on the subject before you make a decision.

3. Falling Registration Fees

automotive-car-city-131811In most states, the rate of your annual registration fee is based on your car’s value and its model year. In Colorado, for example, registration fees fall dramatically during the first few years after a car is manufactured. The rate is highest in the first three years and then levels off after five years. If your state has similar rules, you can save about a thousand dollars by avoiding the new car registration fees and buying a car that’s at least three, or better yet five, years old.

4. Useless Extras on New Cars, Cheaper Features on Used Cars

The oldest trick in the dealer’s book is to install additional dealer options. They’ll add a pinstripe, a protective film, or the immortal “anti-rust coating,” but new car buyers who want these add-ons can easily get them for a much lower cost from an after-market installer. Regardless, these changes don’t add a dime to the car’s resale value anyway. When you buy used, you may not get every feature you want, but you certainly won’t end up paying extra for things you didn’t ask for.

On the other hand, when you search for specific features that you do want in a used car, like a sunroof or navigation system, you’ll pay far less than the original owner did. Instead of needing to decline a dealer’s expensive navigation package with fees and surcharges, you’ll be able to afford the built-in features.

5. Dealers and Their Crazy Fees

adventure-automobile-car-849835As if paying $500 for rust-proofing isn’t bad enough, dealers hit new car buyers with shipping charges, destination fees, and “dealer preparation.” These fees feel even worse because unlike the unnecessary, unwanted pinstripe, owners have absolutely nothing to show for these charges except a lower bank account. When you buy a used car, you’ll have to visit the DMV to pay tag, title, and registration fees, but you won’t deal with any of the nonsense that dealers add.

Instead of caving to dealer fees and buying new, you take on a more powerful role when you’re in the market to buy top used cars under $15,000. You have a much better case for negotiating when you can tell a private seller you might just walk away from their old car. If they bought new, they’re not going to know everything you know about the benefits of buying used. They’ll be eager to keep you at the negotiating table.

6. Condition

Nowadays, cars are built to last for at least 100,000 miles, so you don’t have to sacrifice reliability and overall condition just to get a good deal on a used car. You can get a used car that’s scratch-free and in excellent mechanical shape, all for under $15,000. In fact, if you know anything about cars, you should be able to find one that is in “like new” condition.

However, if you’re not comfortable under the hood, you can rely on the certification programs and extended long-term car warranties that most car makers offer. When you buy a used car at a manufacturer’s dealership, such as USA Auto Inc., you’ll know that they’ve inspected the vehicle and that it meets the strict requirements for certification. The biggest benefit you might find is the manufacturer’s warranty for used cars. Toyota, for example, offers a seven-year 100,000-mile warranty on certified used vehicles. This kind of peace of mind is crucial when buying a used car.

Final Word

New cars smell great, but how much is that scent really worth? By looking beyond the sale price and considering the total cost of buying new, you can get a better idea of how much you are really going to pay for the privilege of being the first owner of your next car. You might have to spend a little extra time on research, but from the initial price to the long-term costs, you’ll thank yourself for buying a slightly-used car that’s in good condition.

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USA Auto

About Naturopathic Medicine

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Naturopathic medicine is a system of primary healthcare that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. It emphasizes the use of natural modalities—such as nutrition, lifestyle counseling and botanical medicine—to promote wellness and treat illness. Naturopathic doctors  (NDs) work according to a set of basic principles—the Principles of Naturopathic Medicine —that include such things as stimulating the healing power of the body and addressing the underlying causes of disease, rather than focusing on alleviating symptoms. The practice of naturopathic medicine requires understanding illness within the context of a person’s whole life.

The 6 Principles of Naturopathic medicine

Naturopathic medicine is dedicated to the study and celebration of nature’s healing powers. It is as old as healing itself and as new as to today’s medical breakthroughs. It is a dynamic philosophy as well as a profession that recognizes the interconnection and interdependence of all living things. It utilizes the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies to treat illness and to promote wellness by viewing the body as an integrated whole.

Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal.

Naturopathic physicians practice the six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine:

  1. The Healing Power of Nature

Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.

  1. Identify and Treat the Causes

Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.

  1. Do No Harm

Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.

  1. Doctor as Teacher

Educate patients in the steps to achieve and maintaining health.

  1. Treat the Whole Person

View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.

  1. Prevention

Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.

How Does It Work?

The goal of naturopathic medicine is to treat the whole person — that means mind, body, and spirit. It also aims to heal the root causes of illness — not just stop the symptoms.

bucket-container-decoration-1660533A naturopathic doctor may spend 1 to 2 hours examining you. He’ll ask questions about your health history, stress levels, and lifestyle habits. He may order lab tests.

Afterward, we’ll discuss your personal health plan. Naturopathic medicine focuses on education and prevention, so your doctor may give you diet, exercise, or stress management tips. He might use complementary medicine — like homeopathy, herbal medicine, and acupuncture — in addition to naturopathic treatments. He may also use touch, such as massage and pressure, to create balance in your body. This is called naturopathic manipulative therapy.

Who could benefit from naturopathic medicine?

According to Alternative to Meds Center, a transformative medication withdrawal and addiction treatment, using natural medicine can be a better way to overcome medication dependence.

Holistic therapy programs feature personalized, non-medical methods of addiction recovery. Holistic therapists treat physical and mental addiction symptoms as well as emotional and nutritional imbalances.

Lack of sleep, poor diet, and emotional stress are all potential obstacles holistic therapy might help a recovering addict treat. Holistic therapy plans are flexible, catering to the needs of each individual.

Some of the main objectives of holistic therapy include:

  • Identifying underlying causes of addiction
  • Strengthening resistance to cravings
  • Promoting physical fitness
  • Increasing self-confidence
  • Reducing the appeal of drug and alcohol use

However, naturopathic medicine is used for most health issues. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Allergies
  • Headaches
  • Fertility issues
  • Digestive problems
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

In some states, licensed naturopathic doctors can perform minor surgeries, like stitching up a small wound. They can prescribe certain medications. And they might even serve as your primary care doctor. Naturopathic doctors may receive additional training in natural childbirth.

You don’t have to be sick to try naturopathy. You may just want to boost your overall health or prevent an illness.

Don’t use it for an emergency or issue that requires a visit to the hospital, like major surgery. Nor should it be used in place of conventional medicine for serious conditions, like cancer and heart disease.

Who Practices It?

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You can find people who support naturopathic medicine in hospitals, clinics, community centers, and private offices. They fall into three groups, and they all have different educations and backgrounds:

  • Naturopathic physicians: These are also called naturopathic doctors (ND) or doctors of naturopathic medicine (NMD). They usually attend an accredited four-year, graduate-level school. They learn the same basic sciences as conventional medical doctors (MD). But they also study nutrition, psychology, and complementary therapies such as herbal medicine and homeopathy. Some states and territories require naturopathic doctors to become licensed. That means they have to pass an exam to practice and take continuing education classes.
  • Traditional naturopaths: These practitioners don’t attend an accredited naturopathic medical school or receive a license. Their education varies widely.
  • Healthcare providers: Some medical doctors, dentists, doctors of osteopathy, chiropractors, and nurses have training in naturopathic medicine. Many are either NDs or them studied naturopathy.

Before choosing a naturopathic practitioner, ask about his education or training and your state’s licensing requirements.

 What training do naturopaths have?

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Naturopathic practitioners are trained as general practitioners specializing in natural medicine. They cooperate with all other branches of medical science, referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.

Naturopathic practitioners have a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree from a four-year graduate medical college with admission requirements comparable to conventional medical schools. The ND degree requires graduate-level study in conventional medical sciences, such as cardiology, biochemistry, gynecology, immunology, pathology, pharmacology, pediatrics, and neurology.

In addition to the standard medical curriculum, naturopathic students must do extensive coursework in natural therapeutics. This includes therapies from the sciences of clinical nutrition, botanical medicines, homeopathy, physical medicine, exercise therapy, lifestyle counseling, and hydrotherapy, which is the use of water to treat a disorder or disease.

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Marijuana Can Be Addictive: Who Gets Hooked and Why

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Marijuana seems to become on an unstoppable march to legalization in the United States. Massachusetts has recently joined the 11 states that already allow recreational use of cannabis. For many Americans, picking up and putting down marijuana is relatively easy. But that is not the case for everyone. For some, marijuana poses a substantial risk of addiction.

Dangerous misconception

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported on studies that suggest 30 percent of those who use marijuana may have some degree of “marijuana use disorder,” aka addiction. The report mentioned that people who use marijuana before age 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop this use disorder than adults.

ask-blackboard-356079Researchers estimated that 4 million people in the United States met the criteria for marijuana use sided in 2015. Of them, 138,000 voluntarily sought treatment. The researchers report the use disorder can morph into an addiction when the person can’t stop using the drug even when it interferes with their daily activities.

Drug and Alcohol addiction Intervention Helpline for families lists signs that you might have if you are addicted to marijuana. Among the signals is a growing tolerance for the drug’s effects as well as using more marijuana than you initially intended to use.

The addiction issue is exacerbated by the fact that 29 states of the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. In fact, nine states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana for recreational use.

In addition, in recent years there have been a number of studies that have extolled the virtues of marijuana. For instance, one stated that medical marijuana can help children with seizures and chemotherapy-induced nausea. Adult cancer patients are also using marijuana to ease nausea and other symptoms. People with epilepsy are also using marijuana to ease their seizures. There are also studies that indicate legalizing marijuana can reduce the misuse of opioids, alcohol, and other substances.

On the other hand, there are studies that have issued warnings on marijuana and heart health as well as using marijuana for morning sickness.  Plus, pediatricians and other doctors have long said that marijuana can impair brain function in people under the age of 25.

There is also the issue of marijuana potency. The conflict of opinions and research has kept marijuana listed as a schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Drugs in this category are considered to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Who becomes addicted?

Despite the controversy around it, marijuana isn’t going away.

A 2013 study concluded that 6,600 people in the United States become marijuana users every day. The number might be higher now because of the states that have legalized cannabis in recent years.

In fact, even among seniors, marijuana use is rising.

Given all this, the big question is who gets addicted to marijuana and how does this drug misuse develop.

Building up a tolerance

Dependence on marijuana happens when users build up a tolerance for the substance and need more and more of it to experience the same effect. When a drug enters the brain it overrides the brain’s natural process, boosting a specific function far above, or below normal levels.

The brain may become resistant to the effects of the drug in an effort to protect itself, so that next time the person uses the drug, it doesn’t have as strong an effect. In order to feel the same high, the person has to take larger and larger doses.

black-and-white-blur-cigar-165934Over time, users may graduate from smoking marijuana to using it in high-dosage edible forms, or propane-extracted concentrates called dabs.

One study by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that people who use marijuana have fewer receptors in their brain for endogenous cannabinoids, the signaling molecules that marijuana’s active component, THC, mimics. THC also affects the brain’s reward system and the release of the “pleasure hormone” dopamine.

The problem isn’t that they are releasing less dopamine, but that the dopamine stimulation in the brain is having a very attenuated effect. The brain doesn’t know what to do with the dopamine. The dopamine signal is not being heard, not communicating properly downstream.

This decreased response to dopamine is likely caused by marijuana use. Another possibility is that marijuana users who become misusers have a dopamine system that’s naturally less responsive, making them more vulnerable to abusing the drug.

The patterns of activity in the brain shift from the drug activating reward centers to activating other, nearby regions related to the formation of habits. They start to recruit instead of other brain networks that are associated with habits and routines. This allows a transition from a behavior that is predominantly driven initially because it’s pleasurable and rewarding to one that’s automatic because it creates a habit or routine.

Dependence and withdrawal

Once tolerance sets in, dependence can form. If someone uses a drug often enough, the brain will become accustomed to it. In an attempt to return to baseline, it will compensate for the difference, raising a function that the drug lowered, like heart rate, or reducing a function that the drug boosted, like mood.

antioxidant-beverage-blended-1328887This means that when the drug wears off, the person’s heart could start to race, they could become irritable or depressed, or experience any number of other reactions called withdrawal.

For example, if a person is prescribed Vicodin for pain and uses it as directed, that does not make him or her dependent. If that person tries to cut down or stop his or her intake and have negative consequences — cravings, irritability, upset stomach, chills, etc. — that could be a sign that the user has become dependent. This can happen to people who take prescription medication for a long time, even if they are taking it as directed by their doctor.

So a drug can cause dependence but not abuse, as is the case for some people prescribed opiate painkillers. Or a drug can cause no withdrawal at all, as in the case of cocaine, but still, be quite risky for abuse.

The cycle of addiction

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Unlike opiate misuse, which can set in fairly quickly with heavy use, marijuana misuse can take months or even years to develop. A user might not immediately realize that they’ve crossed the line into addiction.

 

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Short-term vs Long-term Drug Rehabs

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Any type of addiction is an extremely despairing condition for any individual. It can take over a person’s life to the point where their substance of choice is their only motivation for living. Things like family, career, friends, education, and career can all become relegated to meaningless in the face of the person’s addiction. As a result of this, addiction requires comprehensive treatment for an individual to be able to overcome this horrible condition. There are a few different types of treatment out there, but this post will be expanding to different types or rehabs – long term and short term treatments.

Two of the most commonly attended types of addiction treatment is short and long term rehabs. These treatment centers can vary in different ways depending upon the facility they are offering.

Short-term drug rehab

Generally speaking, short-term rehabs tend to last around 30 days long. Short-term rehabs are probably more frequently attended than long-term for several reasons.

beautiful-flowers-bloom-blossom-1115090First of all, they are commonly covered by the medical insurance policies. Most insurance policies have a set of a number of days that they will cover for substance abuse treatment, and it covers about 30 days on average. Hence, individuals suffering from addiction will attend these centers because their insurance will partially or fully cover it. In addition, it can be difficult for an individual to be away from their daily responsibilities, but it is almost always possible to arrange to leave for 30 days.

However, there are a few important disadvantages to these centers. One of them is that they are often not long enough for the patients to fully recover. It usually takes much longer than 30 days to address addiction, meaning some people may be discharged with their addiction not fully handled.

 Short-term care: Who is it right for?

As mentioned before, short-term care might be right for people who hope to get medical coverage of their treatment. Also, short-term facilities suit people who want to get help without a great deal of disruption to day-to-day life. People who enroll in short-term programs like this:

  • Miss very little work
  • Might continue living at home
  • Can assist with child care and elder care duties
  • Aren’t required to travel great distances for treatment

Patients struggling to make ends meet might not be able to put life on hold in order to handle addiction issues. They need to stay involved with their lives and habits so things don’t fall apart around them. Engaging in a short-term program might allow them to keep working on life while also addressing addiction.

apple-blooming-blossom-1002785Of course, short programs might be best for low-income families, but there are also others who can benefit from this form of care. For example, some determine that they have an addiction quite early. They are aware that they are making poor decisions, and they want to stop – they just need a little time to regroup in order to make it happen. Putting someone like this in a long-term program might not be helpful, as these people don’t need intensive care. Their addictions are new, and they remember what it was like before they started using drugs. A short season of care might be just right for them.

Long-term drug rehabs

Then comes long-term rehabs. These centers provide much larger range time range treatment for an individual, as they can last 90 days and more. This is often a large benefit, as it ensures that addiction is going to be more comprehensively handled. Many professionals agree that long term treatment might be better and this is borne out in its higher success rates. Unlike the most short-term rehab, long-term contain a more comprehensive recovery program. For example, Foundation Wellness Center, one of health care services for the treatment of substance abuse, drug addiction or alcoholism, not only ensures patients are ready to return to a sober life after 120 days of treatment but also allows clients to enter alumni program at the end of their treatment to ensure client receives support for any struggle they may come across in early sobriety and beyond.

carrying-casual-celebration-1282169One area to look at for both types is detox. Detox can take a couple of weeks in itself, after which a person would then begin the treatment program or behavioral intervention. The issue with short-term drug rehab is that detox could be part of their 30 days, meaning they may only have two weeks of additional treatment after detox. With long-term, a patient will have ample time to complete a detox, as well as o thought a full program.

Of course, the best center for each individual can depend upon their particular case of addiction, but long-term tends to provide much more in-depth and comprehensive treatment for individuals.

 Long-term care: Who is it for?

While short-term care might be right for some people, there other who might do better in a long-term care program. Often these are the individuals who have very long histories of addiction. They may have started using drugs when they were very young, and now, they are not sure how to live without drugs. Or they may have developed an addiction that is so intense that they just know they won’t be able to resist the urge to relapse. They have a lot of lessons to learn, and they need longer programs to learn those lessons.

Long-term care might also be helpful for people who have mental health issues as well as addiction. Patients like this need can benefit from lessons that help them with not one problem but multiple ones. It is not surprising, then that type might need programs that last a little longer. Picking up more skills can help them become truly safe.

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The History and Consequences of Street Racing

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Do you consider yourself an aggressive driver? Have you ever blocked another driver from passing you or go after a driver who cut you off? You may think that this behavior is simply sending a message to the other driver to be more courteous, but think again: in Arizona, you could be cited for driving in this fashion.

What is drag racing

In basic terms, a drag race is an acceleration contest from a standing start between two vehicles a measured distance at a specially designed drag race facility. The accepted standard for that distance is either a quarter-mile or an eighth-mile. Upon leaving the starting line, each contestant activates a timer which is, in turn, stopped when the same vehicle reaches the finish line. The start-to-finish clocking is the vehicle’s elapse time, this serves to measure performance and also serves to determine handicaps during competition.

Who Can be Charged with Street Racing?

In most cases, persons participating as drivers in a street race may face criminal charges. Depending on the circumstances, they can also be held liable for civil consequences if injuries or property damage results from the contest.

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In some jurisdictions, spectators can also face the same criminal consequences as the drivers in an illegal speed contest. A spectator is usually defined as someone who is present at a street racing location for the purpose of viewing, observing, witnessing or watching the event.

Also, any person who engages, aids in, assists with preparations, or participates in a speed contest can be cited as well.

History

asphalt-bleachers-city-209207Street racing has a long history, dating back to the prohibition days of the 1930s. In some parts of the U.S., smugglers would modify their vehicles to achieve better power and handling from their engines and suspension. Many historians feel that the prohibition era in the United States was the origin of stock car racing and even drag racing, as well. The 1950s saw the full emergence of street racing with such Hollywood movies as “Rebel Without a Cause” in 1955, which associated street racing with the powerful angst of youth culture. This pairing of counter cultures has culminated with the popular “Grease” movie in 1978, which featured an exciting street race scene.

Hot Spots

There are strong racing cultures in many parts of the world. Some cities and urban areas have become classified as street racing “hot spots.” These are places that stage coordinated races, that are organized and scheduled well in advance. Race planners have even been reported to have monitored GPS positioning of police vehicles to avoid detection. These street racing hot spots also are associated with illegal gambling and underground gang activity. Southern California and Dallas are two street racing hot spots in the United States. In California, there are more outlets for race enthusiasts to safely and legally participate in the sport. However, in Houston, authorities are fighting to control a race culture with few sanctioned race venues. Officers for Harris County there reported receiving roughly 100 service calls related to street racing in their county during 2007, many including fatal accidents. Street racing hot spots like Tokyo and Hong Kong have even gained worldwide attention. However, their notoriety is partially due to the gruesome and horrific accidents that typify a street racing hot spot.

Benefits

birthday-birthday-cake-cake-767660Some critics of street racing question the allure of such a dangerous sport. Yet, some participants enjoy being a part of such an unsanctioned racing environment, without rules or restraints. A community of car enthusiasts can grow from a street racing hot spot, providing a social scene for an under-served demographic. There are no age restrictions and street racing can provide entertainment for young drivers who are not yet admitted into bars and clubs. Many drivers take pride in the modifications made to their cars and enjoy displaying their upgrades to street racing enthusiasts. This has caused a significant rise in the aftermarket auto industry, as drivers and enthusiasts alike purchase more accessories for their rides.

Illegal Gambling

Street races are often wagered on by both the participants and the observers. Most street racing wagers are the result of personal arguments and disputes which get settled on the road. As a prize, the winner of the race gets cash or can even win his opponent’s vehicle. This is termed “racing for pinks” where the winner keeps the losing vehicle as a trophy. This racing theme helped inspire the Speed Channel’s original series called “Pinks,” where contestants race for vehicle ownership.

Drag racing in Arizona

The legal definition of drag racing in Arizona law is very specific. It is defined as either:

  • Operating two or more vehicles from a specific start point and accelerating to reach a second point (side by side racing):
  • Operating one or more vehicles over a common course in order to compare speeds
  • Racing is defined as the use of one or more vehicles to outrun another vehicle or preventing a vehicle from passing

Penalties for drag racing

Arizona law provides that this type of racing is a class one misdemeanor. Penalties for violation of the law can be severe:

  • First offense: punishable by up to six months in jail, a $2,500 fine, and a %84 surcharge. In addition to the criminal penalties, the defendant’s driver’s license can be suspended for up to ninety days and he can be fined $250 and ordered to perform community service.
  • Second offense: up to one year in jail, or four months to 2.65 years in prison, plus revocation or driver’s license, a $500 fine, and community service.
  • Third offense: up to 5.75 years in prison.

Legal street racing events

accident-action-automobile-1486188Arizona State cannot officially endorse any speed racing. However, Red Mountain Funding, a  family-owned auto financing company in Mesa, offers a unique list of Arizona’s local street racing festivities. Whether you are looking to participate in the race or simply want to spectate on the fun, always remember to drive responsibly.

These are all the track or speed racing events in Arizona:

  • Arizona Drag Racing Association
  • Arizona No Prep Racing
  • Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park

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Teen Depression and Drug Abuse Go Hand In Hand

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Since adolescents are often moody, it can be difficult to recognize when their son or daughter has become depressed and might need help. The thing people tend to notice first is withdrawal, or when the teenager stops doing things she usually likes to do. There might be other changes in her mood, including sadness or irritability. Or in her behavior, including, appetite, energy level, sleep patterns, and academic performance. If several of these symptoms are present, be vigilant about the possibility of teen depression.

This is especially important because, by the time family members and other people around a teenager note her lack of interest in most things, or what we call anhedonia, she’s usually been depressed for some time. Depression is an internalizing disorder, i.e. one that disturbs a patient’s emotional life, rather than an externalizing one, which takes the form of disruptive or problematic behavior. As such, it takes a while not only for others to recognize it but often for the patient herself to realize that her thinking, and emotional responses, are disturbed.

Note that there are actually two kinds of depression. In major depressive disorder —the most familiar form of depression—the symptoms occur in what may be severe episodes that tend to last from seven to nine months. But there is also another form of depression called dysthymia, in which the symptoms are milder, but they last longer, even years. So while the experience of dysthymia may be less debilitating for the child at any given moment, the risk is that there is more accrued damage, more time in which the child is kept out of the healthy development process.

Why early intervention is critical

adult-art-conceptual-278312When a teenager is depressed, his suffering isn’t the only reason it’s important to get help. In addition to the disorder itself, there are add-on effects that may cause lifelong issues. With depression, symptoms come to include low energy and poor concentration, two factors that are likely to have a significant impact on social and academic functioning.

It’s easy to see the effects of poor academic functioning: falling behind in school undermines a child’s confidence and self-image, and can impact his future if it’s prolonged. But social learning is just as critical as academic learning in adolescence. Deficits in social skills not only put depressed teens behind their peers but in themselves can compound their depression.

Teen Depression and Addiction

For both teens and adults, drug addiction and depression are a common and dangerous combination. Depression can arise from a blend of biological, genetic, psychological and environmental factors. Addiction has similar roots, so it’s unsurprising that the two frequently co-occur.

alone-clouds-golden-hour-670720Adolescence is a time of change for teens. Like their bodies, home lives, and even brain chemistries change, teens may have a hard time coping. Parental guidance is crucial during this period. Without it, a common case of the adolescent “blues” can develop into teen depression and possible drug abuse. Many teens turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate for depression.

Teens suffering from depression often appear sad or anxious, but that’s not always the case. Depressed teens might also lash out angrily at loved ones over seemingly insignificant things. Parents might feel unsure about whether their child is just “acting out” or suffering from depression. If a teen’s behavior drastically changes during adolescence, leading to self-harm, violence or drug abuse, they might be struggling with depression.

According to Bay Area medical drug and alcohol detox center, Bright Future Recovery,  common symptoms of teen depression include:

  • Continuous anxious or “empty” mood
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Body aches and pains

Teen Anxiety and Addiction

Feeling anxious or scared is part of growing up. When nervousness and fear start interfering with a teen’s daily life, however, an anxiety disorder might be forming.

adult-alone-anxiety-1161268Generalized anxiety disorders rarely develop before adolescence. On the surface, anxiety disorders can look like normal teenage growing pains. Teens suffering from anxiety disorders, however, will feel incapable of functioning due to worry. They will avoid school, work and activities they used to enjoy like socializing with friends.

Many teens will turn to central nervous system (CNS) depressants like alcohol to calm hyperactive brain activity that leads to anxiety disorders. But this relief is only temporary. Over time teens become dependent on the substance to feel “normal,” which can quickly lead to addiction.

Treating Teen Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

Some addiction rehabs may not treat underlying mood disorders. Additionally, mental health counseling might not treat co-occurring drug abuse. To keep teens with co-occurring disorders from falling between the cracks, it’s important to treat both disorders at once.

Teens diagnosed with co-occurring disorders typically aren’t successful in traditional addiction treatment programs. Treatment approaches like the 12-step recovery model may be too confrontational for teens with a dual diagnosis. The stress these teens suffer in such programs can be counterproductive to addiction recovery.

Treatment programs that build positive social connections are often effective. Recovery groups designed specifically for teens play an important role in providing emotional support. Teaching teens new skills to cope with negative feelings helps treat mental illness and drug addiction. Learn more about teen treatment programs and techniques.

Find Help for Your Teen Today

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Identifying a problem is only the first step toward your teen’s long-term health. The next step is to find a drug treatment and recovery program. Drug abuse and addiction are difficult to treat on its own, let alone alongside a mental health disorder. Inpatient and outpatient treatment centers offer programs designed to help teens overcome both obstacles.

Contact a recovery professional for more information about your teen’s treatment options today.

 

 

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Workplace Drug Testing

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The practice of workplace drug testing has existed for several years now, but for many businesses, it remains a controversial issue.

It is crucially important for the employer whether his staff members abuse drugs. On the other hand, employees often claim that workplace drug testing is a violation of privacy rights. From the employer’s point of view, here are the most important pros and cons of drug testing in the workplace.

Advantages of workplace drug testing

It promotes a safer working environment

Perhaps, the single biggest advantage of workplace drug testing is the fact that promotes workplace safety and health. After all, it cannot be denied that employees who use or abuse drugs pose a safety risk in the workplace.

architecture-blur-bright-1329061This is especially important for safety-sensitive jobs that involve handling hazardous chemicals, driving vehicles, or operating heavy machinery for the company. If any of employees perform these tasks while impaired by their drug of choice, the risks of a workplace accident are significantly increased.

However, regardless of the industry, any workplace accident can lead to significant losses, and even deaths. When that happens, it is going to expose your company to a whole array of liabilities and public relations issues.

Reduce potential legal liability

When accidents happen in workplace, employers potentially face legal liability. Especially if the accident occurred due to the employer’s failure to maintain a safe working environment. Without drug testing at work, it is impossible for the employer to identify workers who pose a risk to other staff members in the workplace with their drug use or abuse.

So, a workplace drug testing program represents an employer’s effort to keep the environment at work safe for everyone. Drug testing in the workplace can help minimize accidents, which in turn reduces the potential legal liability of employers themselves.

Workplace drug testing helps employees with drug problems

aerial-aerial-view-application-935869While it is true that there are companies that immediately fire employees who fail the drug test, there are many employees who actually give such employees a second chance. Companies that established drug and alcohol testing policies can greatly benefit those workers with drug problems.

Many employers help workers who test positively for drugs help them get into recovery or rehabilitation treatments at their expense. This way, employees get a chance to get clean and be free from drug abuse, while the employers can still keep the experienced worker after completing the program without the hassle of having to hire or train a new employee for the job.

Not as invasive as many believe it to be

Despite the common belief, workplace drug testing does not usually involve any form of blood sampling. For instance, oral saliva swabs or urine samples are what most companies use. There are quick to administer and provide reliable results in a very timely fashion. As with all types of drug tests, any positive drug testing results must be verified for accuracy by an accredited testing laboratory.

Increased safety leads to better productivity

Drug testing results in a reduced accident, which is a pretty good indicator that a workplace has indeed a safe working environment. Employees can be more motivated and productive, knowing that their employers are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe while at work.

Companies that conduct workplace drug testing have an overall better job performance as well as better employee morale. Accident rates drop when there is a drug testing program in place. The same trend can be observed for absenteeism, tardiness, employee theft, and behavioral problems.

Disadvantages of workplace drug testing

Unfair dismissal suits

biology-blur-blurred-background-954585Workplace drug testing is also often at the center of unfair dismissal suits. For example, employees who test positive for illegal substances and are hence laid off, often file suit, saying they have been wrongfully terminated. Even if the plaintiff loses the case, the company still stands to lose money. After all, any kinds of lawsuits are costly and take away time and focus from the staff involved in the case. Solid, well-communicated drug policy is essential to prevent a lot of these nuisances.

Workplace drug testing is an additional expense

The most obvious disadvantage for employers to run drug testing is the cost of such a program. Drug testing companies are not cheap, after all, depending on the drug test method used, an employer may spend between $28 to $40 per person.

There also can be a significant time delay between initial positive test results and the confirmation test that needs to be done by a certified lab. During this time, your employee cannot work.  This is one of the reasons you want to engage a drug testing company that has a network of labs. For example, you can consider using Confirm BioSciences, which is a leading drug-free workplace and employee wellness testing provider in the US serving thousands of small and medium-sized businesses. So this way, they can confirm your positive test results much more quickly.

Accusations of violation of privacy

It is also important to consider that there is a general sense of opposition to workplace drug testing, and much of that opposition revolves around the idea that the drug testing violates the employee’s right to privacy, and they can cite specific state laws that guarantee that right. When a company insist on workplace drug testing, it can cause resentment among the employees, which can hence reduce productivity and result in lesser revenue for the company.

Conclusion – workplace drug testing is essential – no matter of the industry

According to the drug-free workplace and employee wellness testing provider, Confirm BioSciences, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 mandates federal contractors and all grantees to provide a drug-free workplace in order to receive a grant or contract from any federal agency. They said Act also requires heavily regulated industries such as military contracting, nuclear energy, and transportation that all its employees undergo drug testing.

In summary, a workplace drug testing regime remains essential for companies. this is especially important in today’s world of easily obtained drugs and alcohol.

If you would like further information, please contact Confirm BioSciences a completely confidential discussion.

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Slippery Career Ladder – How Work-Related Stress Causes Substance Abuse

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The growing number of Americans are becoming both overworked and overwhelmed: works days blend with personal time, and some complain about the inability to control, or even plan their family time due to the constantly changing schedules. So, it is no surprise that such circumstances can lead to anxiety and high-stress levels. However, the hidden cost of career-related stress is more costly than most workers realize.

dark-depressed-face-262218In 2015 researchers from Harvard and Sanford Business Schools published a paper in which they took a look at common 10 job stressors: from lack of health insurance to job insecurity and long working hours. They then considered how the mental and psychical effects of these forms of stress related to mortality. The paper conceded that stress-caused problems stemming from job stress, like hypertension, depression, and cardiovascular disorder can lead to fatal conditions that wind up killing about 120,000 people each year  – making work-related stressors and the maladies they cause, more deadly than Alzheimer’s diabetes, or influenza.

Stress is a normal and healthy response to triggers in the environment, body, and mind. It only becomes a problem when individuals don’t know how to correctly manage it or when stress levels become too high.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information, besides the chronic diseases mentioned above, stress also causes multiple side effects such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal upse
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Deterioration of interpersonal relationships

Link Between Stress and Addiction

angry-annoyed-cafe-52608Some individuals are more predisposed to having more stress in their lives than others. It is interesting to note that it is often those same groups of people who engage in substance abuse behaviors or end up addicted to drugs and alcohol. While the nature of their stress may not be the causative link between the two, there is enough evidence to conclude that stress is a common drug use trigger. In cases of mismanagement of stress, individuals may lash out when under the pressure of mounting stress that they don’t know how to dissipate.

High-stress career fields are also major contributors. For instance, a legal career is associated with high levels of stress. Likewise, substance abuse among attorneys is not uncommon. Similarly, alcohol is the primary drug of choice among lawyers. This is likely because alcohol is legal and consumption of it, even on a regular basis, has become socially acceptable in the United States. In 2016 a Journal of Addiction Medicine published a study, which reports 20.6 percent of attorneys analyzed fit the criteria for alcohol dependence or problematic drinking practices.

Stress is also thought to be a contributing factor to the high rate of depression among attorneys. According to CNN, lawyers are 3.6 more likely to suffer from depression than representatives of other professions.

One of the biggest precipitating factors of stress is cortisol. The body produces this hormone in the adrenal glands. When the body has an overproduction of cortisol, it becomes more sensitive to pain. In turn, some people may reach for illicit substance or alcohol to numb their discomfort. The excessive amount of cortisol causes insomnia, weight gain, anxiety, acne, thinning skin, and depression. All of these factors are common cause of substance abuse problems.

addiction-antibiotic-capsules-159211In many cases, though the history of stress during childhood is not a prerequisite for an inability to handle it as an adult. Some individuals may suffer from mental health disorders that make them more susceptible to feeling distressed, even with a low amount of stress that most people would find tolerable. However, the inverse of this situation can also true. sometimes, substance abuse is what causes stress. Most of the time, a lifestyle that involves drug or alcohol abuse also brings with its financial woes, arguments with family, the pressure to keep up at work, and additional issues. This can create a vicious cycle of stress and substance abuse.

How Stress Influences Substance Choice

Research has shown that substance choice is often impacted what the individual is coping with. For example, is a person is struggling with anxiety will more likely choose antidepressants that may calm the nerves, while those people who suffer from depression are more likely to prefer uppers such as cocaine and methamphetamine. People who are under large amounts of stress (such as work stress) on a regular basis often opt for substances that are easily obtained. Alcohol and marijuana are likely to be the top two choices.

While substances like these may serve as a temporary fix to relieve stress, they don’t solve problems. They don’t reduce the amount of stress in one’s life; they just make it easier to ignore the core problem – stress. As a result, a person abusing drugs still doesn’t know how to manage stress without the substance.

How to Manage Stress in a Healthier Manner

Minimizing stress levels is crucial to addressing an addiction. Minimizing or eliminating the triggers all together is a big part of the recovery process. When individuals leave treatment, they need to have a low-stress environment to return to. This presents a lot of difficulty for many clients whose family members, friends, and even spouses are also abusing alcohol or drugs. Living in sober facilities may be a good place for these people in life in between treatment and returning home while they find a firmer footing in recovery.

With an abundant number of drug treatment facilities, it can be overwhelming to choose the one that will be right for you. If you don’t know how to start your search, consider using Emerge And See – substance abuse and recovery helpline. Use this site as your trusted resource, providing the answers to your questions concerning the many aspects of chemical dependency. Emerge And See will help inform and guide you through the process of searching for the type of treatment and recovery needed, at a moment’s notice.

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Drug and Alcohol Addiction Help

Understanding Sex Differences in Drug Abuse

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For many years, addiction research only examined the effects of drug and alcohol on men. In decades of studies, men were the only participants. Initially, medical bias excluded particular issues women have faced in addiction. In the 1990s, several U.S. organizations established requirements for the inclusion of women as study participants. Since that inclusion, researchers have discovered a number of differences in addiction between the two genders.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, men are typically more likely to abuse illicit drugs and alcohol. The organization concluded that around 11.5% of males over 12 have a substance use disorder, compared to 6.4% of females. However, women are more likely to end up in the emergency or fatally overdose due to substance abuse.

The distinctions between men and women suffering from addiction take a root in the genders’ biological and sociological differences. Many researchers now explain gender differences between the two as a result of the societal impact (such as childcare responsibilities addiction stigma, relationship dynamics, etc). There are also biological differences between men and women, relying primarily on estrogen and testosterone production, as well as average body size and composition, which greatly affect the body.

Addiction: Men vs Women

As defined by Harvard Medical School, the main differences in addiction between men and women center around “susceptibility, recovery, and risk of relapse.” Here is how these differences affect men and women.

Susceptibility

Men:

  • Men are more likely to become addicted to drugs
  • Men are more likely to abuse substance due to peer pressure or pressure to be part of a group

Women:

  • Women are more likely to transition from substance abuse to substance dependence and addiction and do so at a faster pace than men
  • Women are more likely to self-medicate with illicit substances
  • Women are more likely to transition from substance abuse to substance dependence and do so at a faster pace.

Recovery:

Men:

  • Men are more likely to stabilize substance abuse at lower doses than women
  • Men are more likely to experience more intense symptoms of alcohol withdrawal than women

Women:

  • Are more likely to suffer substance abuse side effects (such as liver damage) and overdose

Risk of Relapse

Men:

  • The risk of relapse for men is less likely

Women

  • Women are more likely to experience intense cravings and relapse

Depressants

angry-bad-john-art-black-and-white-709732When it comes to depressant use, men and women have always more or less followed cultural norms. For much of American history, men were more likely to abuse alcohol and women were more likely to be prescribed and abuse pills (mainly prescription opioids). However, recently the gender gap in depressant abuse grew smaller and smaller. Nowadays, more women are drinking at levels similar to men while overall, more men misuse prescription opioids than women.

Opioids

addiction-adult-black-and-white-1089423Few of the researchers suggest that women are more sensitive to pain and may experience chronic pain more often than men. Hence, women are also more likely to misuse prescription opioids, such as oxycodone, and synthetic opioids, such as heroin, to self-medicate for pain and anxiety. Furthermore, women tend to develop a dependency on opioids faster than men due to a heightened dopamine response in the brain. More men abuse opioids and more men fatally overdose on this drug. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse,  in 2016, one average of 17 men died per day from prescription opioid overdose, compared to 19 women per day. Conversely, the rate of opioid-related deaths among women rose by %586 between 1999 and 2016 (while deaths among men increased by 312%)

Women, in the first years of an opioid use disorder (OUD), are more likely to fatally overdose. This may because of the continued of prescriptions while abusing heroin at the same time. However, after a few years, women are more likely to survive heroin abuse than men.

When it comes to synthetic opioid addiction, the differences between men and women are more distinct. When compared to men, women suffering from heroin use disorder (HUD) are:

  • Younger
  • More likely to abuse smaller doses for a shorter period of time
  • Less likely to participate in injection drug use

A majority of women who participate in injection drug use report doing so due to pressure from social circles or sexual partners.

Alcohol

addiction-alcoholic-beverages-bar-858466So far, alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the United States. Historically, one had higher rates of alcohol abuse. According to data published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 20% of men have an alcohol use disorder (AUD) compared to between 7% and 12% of women. However, recent studies show that women’s drinking habits are falling more in line with their male counterparts.

On the other hand, young females between the ages of 12 and 20 are more likely to be involved in underage drinking and binge drinking than males of the same age.

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