What is the Role of the Internet in Drug Addiction?

I’ve wondered for a while if the internet has impacted the age-old problem of substance abuse and addiction. Where else to find the answer but through an internet search? It’s clear that I’m not the only person who has questioned whether there is a connection. Addiction in any form follows a fairly distinct pattern of behavior, and people can be addicted to anything, really. With the advent of modern technology, psychiatrists are identifying a new addiction: online or internet addiction. While it is most common in teens and young adults, it can be seen in every culture that has computer technology, and across a broad age range and in many economic groups. Recent studies have shown that compulsive, or addictive, internet users experience similar physical damage and changes to their brains as that of cocaine addicts. Similarly, when prevented from online activity, internet addicts experience similar withdrawal symptoms, such as increased irritability and mood swings.

Also, there are a few other ways that the internet increases or encourages drug addiction, including:

– increased knowledge of drug usage and manufacturing. The increased knowledge gives teens and young adults more confidence when using drugs and makes it more likely that they will experiment.

-increased access to prescription medications from rogue, online pharmacies. With easy, anonymous access to the drugs, much of the fear of getting caught is removed, decreasing the perceived risk. And since the drugs in question are available by prescription, many teens perceive them as “safe.”

On the flip side, there are many organizations and resources available online to help someone who wishes to go into recovery from any addiction. Resources include information on free-standing clinics and treatment centers to help addicts find help in their local area, online support groups and forums where members can discuss issues and successes in their recovery, and articles or print material to provide structure, planning, or support throughout recovery. So, although the internet CAN contribute to the encouragement of drug addiction, there are many ways that it can also provide support through intervention and recovery.

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Recovery Requires Willingness

September is National Recovery Month. As this month draws to a close, it might be helpful to examine the number one characteristic that many professionals identify as being the most important to ongoing recovery: willingness. But exactly what kind of willingness does recovery require?

– Willingness to change.

– Willingness to work hard at recovery.

– Willingness to try new things instead of repeating the same self-destructive activities.

– Willingness to turn it over to God and let him work in your mind, your life, and your actions.

Self-help author, Robert Anthony sums it up best: “Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.” Facing all of the changes necessary to maintain sobriety and long-term recovery can be a very scary thing to do, but if you are willing to work your way through the fear and keep changing anyway, then you have mastered true courage. And courage will get you through the hard part to a successful and positive life beyond addiction.

Today’s post is based on p. 191 of Past Tense: 365 Daily Tools for Putting Stress Behind You – for Good!  To enjoy more daily tools for creating a stress-free life, order your copy of the book today!

Taking Responsibility is Key to Stress-free Living

There are many who say that a life filled with responsibility is a stressful life. For these people tasks, decisions, planning, and goal-setting cause tension, physical aches and pains, and insomnia. A closer examination, though, shows that responsibility doesn’t cause ill effects, but a person’s perception that responsibility = stress does.

What if we change the perception? What if we re-frame it to understand that responsibility = control? When we accept full responsibility for everything that happens or exists in our life, we also recognize that we have control of our lives. Everything we are responsible for, we also have control over. Making good decisions regarding exercise and nutrition controls our good health. Setting realistic goals and the steps to achieve them ensure positive outcomes on projects.

Life is easier and stress-free when we face facts squarely and base our decisions on facts rather than fears. Proactively taking steps based on facts creates good outcomes. Also, when we are proactive and take full responsibility for what happens in our lives, there is no blame. Blaming someone or something else for our problems gives that person or thing control over, and credit for, our lives. Living under someone or something else’s control creates far more stress than being responsible for ourselves does.

Your turn: What situations in your life have you blamed someone else for? What situations have you believed were beyond your control? How could you have taken or accepted responsibility in those situations? How would that have relieved your stress?

Addiction treatment for legal professionals: is it really necessary?

In a recent News Democrat story, it was reported that a protest was held in St. Clair county, Illinois, calling for drug testing of all county judges. One judge claimed that the protest was wholly unjustified and politically motivated. While political motivation is likely, there was absolute justification for the public protest when another judge in the county died of a drug overdose several days after taking office and a third judge in the county is facing drug charges… as soon as he finishes rehab! 

Many may wonder if the problems in St. Clair county’s judicial system is an unfortunate fluke, or is it the tip of a deep, wide iceberg silently floating across our nation? If the recent article in The Wall Street Journal, titled, “Treatment resistant lawyers get a rehab center of their own,” is any indication, then the iceberg theory appears to be true. 

The program referenced in the WSJ article is a program at Hazelden, one of the most well-known and respected addiction treatment centers in the nation. Hazelden has developed a recovery program specifically designed for “attorneys, judges, and other legal professionals.” According to Hazelden’s statistics, nearly 1 in 5 legal professionals has an active substance abuse problem – which is twice the rate of both similar professional/licensed groups and the general population. Nearly half of all disciplinary cases in the legal field involve substance abuse, as well.

Clearly, there is a problem. But the Supreme Court (made up of the most powerful judges in our country?) prohibits drug testing as a requirement of an elected office, which would include most judges AND the individuals responsible for appointing all other judges. 

Protestors in St. Clair county have a valid concern. The individuals responsible for deciding people’s fate and futures need to be held to at least the same standards as their constituents, but is drug testing the best option? What other options exist? What do you think the answer is? 

Welcome Back!

Welcome to the re-launch of the ASC blog. In the coming months, you will find many articles and posts about all things related to drug testing, addiction, and recovery. It is our intent to keep you informed about current trends, provide information on recent developments in drug testing, and to answer any questions you may have. We will also post lifestyle tools for recovery at the beginning of each week. 

While ASC has some great ideas for this blog, we are open to your suggestions, as well. You, our readers, are critical to our success and we want to be sure to meet your needs and provide information for your success too. To that end, we hope you will check in regularly with comments, feedback, and questions. Comments are monitored and addressed daily, so please feel free to join the conversation often. 

Your turn: what topics would you like to see addressed here? What questions do you have about drug addiction, recovery, and testing?