Where Do We Go From Here?

Acute vs. Chronic Disease

Acute Disease-
- Generally short term and comes on rapidly (rapid onset) with distinct symptoms that accompany it (sometimes with marked intensity).
- Can be mild, severe, or even fatal
- Eventually resolve without any medical supervision (typically "run its course" whether or not there is drug intervention)
- Medicines for acute illnesses are regulated as OTC (over- the- counter) drugs
- Examples: Coughs, colds, teething, PMS, sleeplessness, strep throat, and influenza

Chronic Disease
- Long term, more difficult to treat and often will require medical supervision.
- Persistant and may relapse
- It can be mild, severe, or fatal
- Developed over time, not sudden onset
- Examples: Cancer, AIDS, Kidney Disease, Tuberculosis, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Asthma.
- Medicines are usually regulated as Prescription Only.
- In the U.S. alone, there are more than 90 million indivuduals struggling with chronic diseases.

Homeopathy is often used for treatment of both acute and chronic illnesses. As with any disease, if a chronic illness is being treated using homeopathy, medical diagnosis and monitoring is still required.

Example of Acute vs. Chronic Disease (PAIN):
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Treatment of Addiction vs. Other Chronic Diseases (ex. Diabetes, Hypertension)

Similarities: Since they are chronic disorders, they can never be fully cured. They can only be treated. Therefore, a short-term, one-time treatment is not sufficient. Medication can be used to control the disease, but not always (some examples are: statins for hypertension, insulin for diabetes, methadone for heroine addiction). However, many times these chronic diseases can be treated by lifestyle changes. These can range from eating healthier, to exercising regularly, to learning to seek other forms of enjoyment aside from drugs. Usually, with these lifestyle changes, there is pyscological treatment to help the person adjust to these new behaviors.

Differences: Drug addiction, unlike other chronic diseases, is at least partially caused by the person. Drug addiction begins with a choice to take drugs and to continue taking them. A diabetic does not chose to be diabetic. Pyscological treatment is completely necesary and is the main part of the treatment of drug addiction, while it is not as important with other diseases. Also, there is a detox period for addiction treatment when the person comes down off the drug that is not necessary for other chronic diseases. Drug addiction is more subjective, too. Nearly everyone with hypertension recieves the same treatment. However, the treatment for drug addiciton is different for everyone, depending on the type of drug, the severity of the addiciton, the person's individual mindset, economic situation and family life.

The Effects of Methadone and Naltrexone on Heroin Addiction

Methadone -
Methadone is an agonist, which means it binds to a receptor site and elicits a response. Methadone binds to the same receptor site as heroin, but it does not produce the same level of euphoria. However, by binding to those receptor sites, methadone satifies the brain's craving for dopamine and suppresses withdrawal symptoms. So, methadone is used to wean heroin addicts off heroin. It does convert their dependence of heroin to a dependence on methadone, but methadone does not produce the euphoric highs and depressive lows that heroin does, which allows the addict to maintain more stable behavoir and gradually recover.

Naltrexone -
Naltrexone is an antagonist, which means it binds to a receptor site and prevents other chemicals from binding to that receptor. Naltrexone binds to the same receptor site as heroin and prevents heroin from binding there. This means that an addict on naltrexone can take heroin, but they won't feel the effects. With this drug, addicts can relaspe but no develop into a full-blown addict again because they will not get that dopamine rush that causes dependence.


The Most Frequent Attributes and Principles of Any Drug Treatment Program

Principles:
- change an addicts perspective on getting high
-find alternative motivations for living life
-change self-awarness
-reconnect with family and friends/support systems
-realize the social, emotional and economic consequences of drug addiction and address those needs
-increase odds of not taking drugs again

Frequent Attributes:
- detox
- variety of treatment programs that meet individual needs
- inpatient, residential, outpatient, and/or short-stay options
- medication (to eliminate withdrawal symptoms or prevent relaspe)
- pyscological treatment
- group therapy
- prevent relapse

The most common treatment program is the Twelve Steps. However, some people like Stanton Peale disagree...

Addiction Stories

Mindy's Story
Mindy was 15 when she decided to try meth. She became extremely thin, weighing in at 110 pounds at 5'7". She was also hospitalized for a kidney infection. She became emotionally unstable and was quoted as saying, “I was angry and irritable all the time, constantly aggravated, frustrated, yelling and screaming. I chased an ex-boyfriend down with an ax and even tried to kill myself on the train tracks.” She couldn't even hold a job at a gas station long enough to support her newborn son. Mindy has made a full recovery by attending as many 12-steps meetings as she could to suppress her addiction. She also joined a program that taught basic life skills. Mindy is now going back to school and working a part-time job.



Michael's Story
Michael started to use meth when he was 18. After high school, he had moved to Atlanta with a friend and got an apartment. He came to Atlanta with $15,000, so he didn't think he needed to get a job at first. One night, he met a few guys that introduced him to meth. He tried it because he didn't think it would affect him. The next few days his mind was constantly thinking about when he would get meth next. Eventually, his roommate moved out, and his house became so incredibly filthy, his parents came to clean things out. He ran out of money and started selling his clothes, furniture and food in order to get money for meth. He gave up eating all together. After that, he lost his apartment and started to live on the streets. His parents begged him to come home, but paranoia had set in and he was afraid that everyone was talking about him and after him. He began to live on the streets with a girl he met, who became his girlfriend. Finally, his girlfriend forced him to go home and get treatment. For three years, even after getting clean, he remained sick. Doctors found staff infection in his leg bones as a result of shooting meth in that leg. Two years later, he went back to Atlanta. After barely being in the city, he was back to buying meth. The need and addiction were so powerful and the familiarity of the city drove him back to meth. Within two months he had lost 40 pounds and looked dealthly ill. The person he was staying with kicked him out and was left again to live on the streets. He wanted to go home, but he was so sick he didn't think he could get there. He walked 17 hours and when he finally reached home his bones were protruding out. He was hospitalized for a month, where they found an infection in his leg, which he almost died from. Thankfully, surgeries saved his life.

[[http://www.drugstory.org/feature/erica.asp- Heroin/Cocaine|Erica's Story]]
Erica started to use cocaine when she was only thirteen. Then she tried heroin. Along with the heroin and cocaine, Erica started using prescription drugs to get high. She continued because it was easy for her to get. The mistake she made was thinking that prescription drugs were safer than getting high off of "real" drugs. When she was younger, her dad died which made her want to fit in more and not feel so alone. "I started sniffing heroin in the beginning to calm myself down. It allowed me to sleep," she stated. It gave her mellow feeling that she never felt before, but enjoyed greatly. Erica was afraid of the consequences on her body at first. She said "Heroin is one of the things I said I wouldn’t ever do. But when it came to getting high, my morals and beliefs were out the window." Erica was a girl who never thought she would ever do drugs, and then in an instant made a bad decision. Her heroin addiction worsened when she started skipping school regularly and leaving home for days at a time. Of course, when confronted by her mother, she denied it, but after a while it got to hard for Erica to handle. She finally received treatment and started to gain back the weight that she had lost from snorting the drug. Erica said " It was so hard to realize my addiction and even harder to kick the habit." Now she is drug free and ready to start a new chapter in her life. She will be attending college and getting a job and staying away from what almost killed her.

Megan's Story
Megan grew up in a normal small community and was sexually abused. She tried to deal with this alone. She felt life was extremely difficult, until she came across drugs- inhalants. She started with weed when she was only 13. When she was high off weed, her problems seemed to disappear. She began "huffing" anything she could find, like computer cleaner, air freshener and spray bottles. Her parents forced her to go to counseling but she did not gain anything there. She states, "I enjoyed huffing because it was cheap, an easy high to obtain, and in 20 minutes my high would be gone so no one would know. " She began huffing every day, to deal with any emotion. She says, " I did it alone, I did it with friends, I did it when I felt sad, lonely or scared - even when I was happy. It was my escape. I did it anytime - I didn't care about family, friends, life or anything. " Her thoughts and feelings were hidden through drugs, and she was alienating many people. Her parents sent her to treatment, and Megan hated them for it. She entered treatment only at age 14. "Even though I hated treatment for the first month, it was the best thing that could have happened, because I changed in so many ways. Now, I am able to talk about my thoughts and feelings, instead of covering them up. I was in treatment for three months, and actually, I feel lucky. In fact, I know I am lucky. Huffing could have killed me. I started to huff when I was 13 years old...that's too young to do a lot of things, including becoming an addict, or dying. " She is now 15 years old and sober.

Lauren's Story
Lauren was surrounded by drugs (friends and family smoked weed) and started using marijuana regularly at the age of 14. This one addiction led her to an alcohol addiction as well as abuse of mushrooms, ecstasy, cocaine, nitrous (oxide), acid and prescription pills. She needed alcohol so badly that, when she couldn't get it from someone else or didn't have enough money, she would steal it from stores. Lauren became depressed with the absence of drugs and alcohol. The drugs greatly affected her health and decision making. Luckily, she quit smoking and drinking by the age of 16 so she didn't have any long term affects (except having to avoid alcohol and drugs for the rest of her life).

More Stories
This website has several stories of different drug addicts. Click the link. Then read the desciptions and click on the different names.