Blue Coast Behavioral Health offers outpatient treatment in the Orange County, California area. We believe that treatment starts with education. Many families (and sometimes the addicted person themselves) do not fully understand how chemical substances affect addicts and alcoholics. We’ve written informative pages about commonly abused substances to help individuals learn about addiction recovery.
Alcohol Use Disorder
Although legal for people 21 and over in the United States, alcohol is one of the most dangerous chemical substances out there with high potential for addiction. Unfortunately, alcohol is responsible for the most fatalities of any chemical substance due to unintentionally inflicted harm (alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, accidents due to intoxication). Alcohol use disorder, known as AUD or alcoholism, affects almost 15 million people in the US as of 2019.
One of the most serious issues facing the US today, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. This opioid is so cheap to produce that it has become common practice for fentanyl to be laced into other drugs to increase the perceived effects. Aside from tampered drugs, fentanyl on its own is also incredibly dangerous for users due to how it interacts with the respiratory system. Even miniscule amounts of fentanyl can lead to respiratory failure and death. Unfortunately, opioids have high potential for addiction so this has become a serious issue with the opioid epidemic.
Prescription Drug Addiction
Although opioids are sold illicitly, many opioid addictions actually start with a legal prescription. Opioids are effective for short term pain relief and are prescribed accordingly for serious injuries or for recovery after surgery. One of the main problems with prescription opioids is that the body builds tolerance over time, which turns into dependence quickly. Medicine cabinets are one of the most dangerous things for young adults today as access to prescription drugs can turn into full-blown addiction due to dependence.
Meth is one of the most common stimulants abused today, and it presents serious complications for both neurotypical individuals and those who may have been prescribed any class of amphetamines for ADHD or obesity. This drug boosts alertness and performance in small doses, but the body quickly builds tolerance and there is high potential for overdose. At high doses, methamphetamine can cause psychosis, paranoia, and a host of other side effects.
Although largely replaced by fentanyl today, heroin is a potent opioid with high potential for addiction and abuse. This drug is derived from the same opium plant as fentanyl and other prescription opioids. Many heroin users inject the drug intravenously which leads to complications with bloodborne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
Use of this illicit stimulant drug can become an addiction as it floods the brain with high levels of dopamine. Unfortunately, a lot of cocaine dealt on the streets today also contains trace amounts of fentanyl which has caused an increase in drug overdose fatalities.
Some individuals can become psychologically dependent on hallucinogen use. The most common hallucinogen addictions are PCP and ecstasy (used in MDMA and molly).
This lesser known substance can cause serious long term neurological damage. Bath salts are synthetic cathinones derived from the khat plant and they are often used as cheap substitutes for other stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Products sold as Molly (MDMA) often contain synthetic cathinones as well.
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