Serious Question

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by susiestar, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I started wondering about this and thought maybe some of the parents here would be the people to ask.

    Many times on tv and in movies and even when talking to people, I hear people say that someone has a problem because they cannot "handle" this or that drug or alcohol or whatever. It has been around for a long time, this idea that things are okay to take/use if you can handle them.

    I do know that some people are able to drink in moderation with-o it ever becoming a problem. Are there people who can use drugs like cocaine/heroin/pot/whatever on a casual basis and not become addicted?

    I don't know anyone who can use tobacco that way. I might be the closest because I only want cigarettes when I am depressed. I finally figured it out a few years ago and now i go back on prozac if I start to want a cigarette. It works within 3-4 days and while on prozac I don't want cigarettes even if I have them and am around smokers a lot.

    I just have never met/heard of anyone who could use cocaine/heroin/meth on a once-in-a-while basis. Do people who can do that exist? Or are they a myth that helps people justify using?

    It is okay if you don't know, or if you have different opinions. I just started realizing how many times I have heard that so and so "just couldn't handle" partying, cocaine, whatever and wondered if there really is anyone who can "handle" it with-o having any kind of addiction problems?
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Have I known people who did such things only every now and then? Yes. But I'm not in touch with them now, haven't been for years, so I can't say that it never became an addiction. Have I known people that managed to quit crack or heroin on their own? Yes, I have. But they were addicts.
    I do know people that only smoke when they drink, and don't drink that often. I know people that only smoke a couple cigarettes in the evening, and they're not new to smoking by any means.

    Being able to "handle it" I think for most people means that they can stay functional, it doesn't interfere with their relationships, jobs, etc. There may well be people whose brain chemistry doesn't allow them to become addicted just as there are people whose chemistry makes them easily addicted, but I think they're the exception.
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    This is my personal opinion, somewhat based on my own experience. I am not and have never been addicted to alcohol or drugs. (Food is a different story). So I think it depends on the person and on the substance. I think a person who has a tendency towards addiction to drugs or alcohol, the substance may not matter. So I doubt my son can drink or smoke pot in moderation, although he may think he can. BUT I do think there are many people who can drink or smoke pot in moderation. I am one of those people. At this point in my life I don't do any drugs and I rarely drink but sometimes I do. My husband used to have one drink in the evening every night, not a problem. Then due to some weird health issues he had to stop drinking alcohol altogether. It was not a big deal at all for him to stop.

    So I think certainly alcohol and pot can be used moderately. I think maybe cocaine can.... this is from my own observation and experience 30 years ago... way before crack and other methods of using cocaine were around. At that time cocaine was not considered addictive.

    Howevery I don't think drugs like heroin, meth, crack, etc. can be used moderately. They are highly addictive. I also think once you are to the point where you are using drugs that hard core you probably already have a serious drug problem. My son was using other drugs besides pot, such as painkillers, but he was not to the point where he needed detox so in his mind he was not addicted.....but he had a serious drug problem and was certainly headed in the direction of hard core use that would require detox eventually.

    So I can see people saying they can't "handle" their alcohol or maybe pot use. I can't see that comment being made about heroin or meth.... I am not sure anyone can "handle" those.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    OK-in order to give you my unbiased opinion (which is still an opinion), I haven't read other opinions.

    1) Tobacco is the strongest addiction out there- with the possible exceptions of heroin and crystal meth so don't expect the same aaproach when tobacco is legal for adults

    2) Many people feel/believe they can handle a certain deug, justification or not- but there is a difference between psychological addiction and physical addiction. A habit that leaves a person "functional" in the real world many times means a psychiatric addiction.

    3) Rxd drugs are just as damaging as a STREET DRUG.

    yEAH_ i KNOW THAT ONE WILL REAP THE WRATH OF THE BOARD. My caps were on- mistakenly- but I'm not typing it over. LOL!
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Not sure if it holds true since meth came about, but prior to meth the only thing with a higher relapse rate than nicotine was heroin.

    If you mean #3 by your last statement, I'd say that painkiller addictions alone rival if not beat the street addictions because they're "legal" to some degree and more "socially acceptable" but certainly just as damaging. Nevermind all the other Rx's that get abused.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    And one of the real problem with painkillers, like Oxycotin is that it is more expensive so to keep feeding the addictions people turn to heroin. Heroin has made a real come back in the last few years and is now definitely in the high schools. I find that very scary and of course heartbreaking.

    And of course there are all the problems with OTC drugs such as cough syrups and such. Don't know if those are physically addictive.

    In some ways the psychological addiction is very scary because i know with my son it got to the point where he would try anything. I have no idea if he had yet tried heroin but I have no doubt that eventually he would and he would get hooked.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Interesting question, Susie.

    I imagine that "handling" it would mean that it doesn't interfere with work, school, relationships...basically real life. If you "can't handle" it, your life is disrupted in some way. I guess that's the difference between use and abuse, for anything; drugs, alcohol, food, exercise, sex...

    As some of the others have said, occasional use "back in the day" may well be different from the occasional use of the currently popular street drugs. I don't know. I do agree that prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs if not used properly.
  8. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    I think if you have an addictive personality, then one can't handle much of anything. I smoked pot on a recreational basis way back when. I could take it or leave it - mostly left it as I am no fun at a party when I would zone out and fall asleep. Being a 60's girl, I would try mostly anything one time, just to see and pretty much knew when I came across something that I felt would be too much of a good thing. I don't even drink - not that I don't like it - but it assumulates in my blood really fast - a half of a bloody mary and I am pretty much wasted and I don't like being out of control.

  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have been around people who were using but didn't do it myself. i developed serious problems with arthritis, etc... in my teens and was on some serious medications for those. Not sure if it is aspie tendencies or my parents or just me, but I was always pretty sure that I would get caught if I even tried them. I did find that if I was around anyone smoking pot I fell asleep - so why bother, esp at a party (for me anyway). When I used to drink at parties I had to plan ahead and not take my medication before or for a day after, so it was a real challenge. I don't to this day know if that was truly necessary but it was the advice the docs gave me (with-o my parents knowing - I was told this while Mom was in another room mroe as a "if you decide to try this, and I don't want you to but if you do , you MUST go with-o your medications for X hrs before and X after" advice.)

    The only time I was around someone I knew had used ecstacy I was in the dorm and it was terrifying. A friend's roommate kept flipping out - we spent 9 hours with campus police outside the door of the dorm room and three of us trying to keep her from hurting herself. She kept trying to go out the window (the 14th floor window) when anyone else came in. The three really strong looking guys from teh campus police couldn't subdue her to let the EMTs give her a shot to sedate her so they couldn't get her to the hospital until she calmed down. More than anything else this made me think it wasn't something I wanted to try.

    I do know that addiction means somehting different to different people. Even alcoholism doesn't have a "standard" definition. From the point of view of a nutritionist it means something very different than it does to someone in AA or a psychologist. The definition of alcoholism to a nutritionist is getting thirty percent of your calories each day from alcohol. They don't include anything about it causing a problem in your life because if your intake is providing 30% of your calories on a daily basis then it is causing problems and damage to your body even if it isn't causing problems in how you function.

    I was surprised to learn this in some nutrition classes - it hadn't occurred to me that there were different definitions of alcoholism.

    I do think pot and alcohol are very different from other drugs. Even when taken exactly as prescribed, prescription medications can cause huge problems for you. It is one reason that many medications should only be rx'd by specialists. I doubt that meth can be taken by anyone and "handled' - it seems to devastate people in just weeks or months. I have serious doubts about cocaine being something that can be "handled" because the people I know who all thought that they could do this or they knew people who could all ended up in rehabs. Some didn't get there for twenty years or more, but the ones I knew seemed to have real problems with it. I sure hated working with them when they were using, even though they thought they were sharper, more alert, more on top of things, etc... Instead all they really seemed to be thinking about was how great they felt and when they could have/get/use more. Or how upset they were that they didn't have more.

    But again, I really only have limited experience and exposure to most of these drugs. I am sure the media does NOT give an accurate picture of all aspects of the issue. There were a lot of times I knew that various drugs were available and had some awareness of people who were using and sellling, but I stayed away as much as possible because I was very much afraid of them = of what they would do with my other medications, of how they would make me feel, and of what would happen when I came down if I ever tried.
  10. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I, too, think you have to look at the "can someone live a functioning life" or "is this interfering in their life" definition.

    My ex has an addictive personality (he's also ADD). In his case, it isn't alcohol or drugs, it's his latest obsession. It's been running (he did ultra marathon where he'd run more than 50 mile races, rack up way over 100 miles a week in training, needing new shoes on a monthly basis) It's been bicycling (at one time he had 5 bikes of different kinds for different riding styles). It's been guns (not only having the guns and shooting, but also reloading). From the kids, currently it's kayaking - he's got 10 of them. All of this from the outside seems "healthy" - I mean, someone that can do a 50 miler and keep up a 6 minute pace is healthy, right? But it's at the cost of everything else in his life - if someone is running 100 miles a week, there is a major part of his life that is missing. If someone is spending all that money on bikes or kayaks, there could be a problem.

    My younger son can have these tendencies (he's also ADD and has the hyperfocus part of it), but he recognizes it and asks for help. It's one reason we have never purchased a gaming system - he knows he would spend huge amounts of time with it. Even though he now lives on his own, he still sets a kitchen timer when he has the TV or computer on so he doesn't waste hours.

    So - to me - it's not the impliment of usage - but what the usage causes in everyday life.
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Yes, you could toss in shopping addictions, gambling addictions, food addictions, hoarding is an addiction yes?
    Then you have people referred to as "functional alcoholics" - where they drink a lot, but it doesn't interfere with them having a job, etc.
  12. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    My late father in law was a "functional alcholic." He worked the night shift and would head straight to the bar and close it out after his shift was done, then come home and sleep till 2:30, at which point, he'd wake up, shower and shave and say good bye to H and his sibs on their way home from school. At 12, H was walking down to the bars to get his dad out and bring him home. At 14, he was driving there (even though it's 17 to get a license in our state) in a car that HE bought for his dad with his own money (he modelled as a kid) after dad cracked the family car up. H told his dad that if he cracked this one up, he'd never get a new one.

    sister in law has the addictive personality. Actually, I should ask here - she right now takes 40 mgs of Oxycontin three times a day, plus Klonopin and some other stuff she won't even tell us about - I think she needs detox or rehab. It shouldn't be my business but she lives with mother in law and I get nervous letting my kids go there.

    Anyway, H's dad could function in the sense that he held down a job for 30+ years for the same company. However, I truly feel that his way of functioning totally destroyed H. He is such a control freak but due to his ADD, can't even control properly. H does not do drugs and is the total opposite - he refused to take his heart medications because he "doesn't believe in taking drugs" until it was obvious he was going to DIE without them because he needed them!

    on the other hand, I am legendary for the amount of alcohol I consumed in law school. Once I graduated (2nd in my class) and started working, I never drank that way again. I tried pot twice, once in HS and once in college; absolutely hated it. I lived with a guy who smoked pot recreationally for over 7 years and I never smoked with him once. I tried coke in law school and hated it, ditto for quaaludes. I was given Vicodin after surgery once and it made me so sick, I flushed it down the toilet (to my sister in law's horror - LOL!). I'm even allergic to Valium - it bounces me off walls and doesn't calm me one iota.

    I believe there is an addiction gene. My father in law and his daughter have it, thankfully, H does not seem to have inherited it so my kids are safe. I also think there is an addictive personality. mother in law is like that - in the 60's, she was one of the millions of women who became hooked on "Mother's Little Helpers" in the guise of weight loss pills. Once she was detoxxed (at home by my H at about 10 years old), she went cold turkey and does not do them since.
  13. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I have been thinking about this question about other addictions... and it is true all addictions can have negative effects on your life, family and friends. Certainly cigarettes, and overeating have negative health effects. I could see where obsessive running, although possibly physically healthy, would take its toll on a marriage as would someone who is a workaholic etc.

    I think the thing with serious substance abuse, and also gambling, is that it leads you to do things that seriously impact your life such as criminal behavior. I may overeat but I am not so far gone that I am going to hold up a donut shop for donuts.... but drug abuse leads you to steal and do criminal things to get more drugs. Alcohol may lead you to drive while drunk. It just seems that the effects of these addictions on your life and of your loved ones are so serious.... and really I don't think someone with a serious drug problem can avoid going down a criminal path just to keep the habit going.

    So back to the original question. I agree you could become emotionally addicted to almost anything...and many things might cause an addiction in one person and not another. however I think some things that are physically addicting probably can not be used for very long without anyone getting addicted. To me there are a bunch of drugs in this category and I would guess cigarettes also.
  14. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I believe some people have more addictive personalities then others. I know myself that I smoked cigarettes for many years and when I had my difficult child and decided I wanted to see him grow up I put my mind to it and quit. I like my wine, but if somebody told me tomorrow that if I continue to drink wine it will kill me, I would stop drinking wine. I think there is a fine line between addictive personalities and the strength to change them. I don't know if it all about your outlook on life and what you feel you have to live and change for?? I also believe that somethings are more addictive then others, like heroin for instance. From what I hear, once you try it once you are hooked so I don't believe that is anything you can do once in awhile. Yes, people can have an occasional drink, if they aren't an alcoholic. I think it has a lot to do with the substance you are using and your personal strength.
  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hmm. This is one of those really good questions.

    I have an "addictive personality". Alcoholism runs rampant on both sides of my family tree... But what happens is this - I can get "stuck" on something. Not just chemicals. I guess I could be called obsessive.

    I had one heck of a time quitting smoking. Tried cold turkey, willpower, nicotine gum, patch, lozenges, wellbutrin... Nothing worked. Now, I could go 8-10 hours if necessary, if I were in airports, etc. or meetings... No problems. Go figure. Chantix has been the only thing that has helped. And even so, the craving part is horrible. I can go days and be fine, then WHAM, I really, really want one.

    Alcohol - not so much. I don't like feeling out of control. I like a glass of wine now and then, but I can't do the drunken part. Mostly, I forget I even have wine in the house - which is why it's locked up! I have tried marijuana. Nope, don't do paranoid. So I could never get past that.

    BUT - XH was totally addicted to the internet, specifically really degrading sexual stuff. There's a reason we did not have children - it was more interesting to him than reality. I posted in another thread about my Grandma being an extreme couponer - she was addicted to that (well, alcohol and her pain medications too).

    I think it's possible to get addicted to anything - but also - people who "can't handle" this stuff? Are the smart ones. because look at what these things can do to you physically. And some people "can't handle" a joint that's been laced with something else - and they die.

    It's my opinion that if someone snorts cocaine "once in a while" - OK, it's like vivarin, yes? - but eventually, it will become more and more often. And it's illegal, which sets off the difficult child part of the brain (everyone's got a part that is!) - I can't have it, so I want it...
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well we all know I was the ultimate difficult child so I have to jump in here right?

    I am addicted to food, diet coke and cigarettes.

    I took tons of drugs as a teen...pot, alcohol, pills, acid, Quaaludes. Never cocaine or H. I never had to do a day of rehab. I wasnt addicted. I dont do addicted to drugs. I am not addicted to my pain medications either. I dont go into withdrawals if I am on them or not. Just some weird thing with me.

    When I grew up and decided to put away my toys, I just did it. Thats what I dont get about the kids today. Grow up!

    And yes, I know people who can drink once in a while and who can smoke pot once in a while and still function well without it interfering in their lives.
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I just started working at the drug rehab place/mostly with teens/some adults. MOST OF THE teens say they can handle it...they wont get addicted. Yet, many of them are addicted. All of them are in serious trouble (duh!) All with their families, almost all with their schools and most with the law.

    Many mention kids they know who smoke pot and get straight As. Hmmm...well guess what, this kid isn't one of them. AND who knows, the kids they are talking to might be in my facility next year.

    All of them have some denial. Most have serious denial issues. They do not think they have any problems at all. They are sitting not know the month or year, have all F's at school and many have been kicked out, are fighting SERIOUSLY with their parents, have legal issues....etc. yet if you ask them if drugs have caused them any problems they will whole heartedly say "no."

    My thought is when it comes to drugs....the stuff is illegal. Period. End of story. Hard to find a similar comparison, but would one say "I'll just rob this bank this one time and it wont be an issue later?"

    Perhaps there are some that can use once or twice and never use again. The experimenters. This seems to be relatively normal. Kids will be kids.

    Those who use in moderation....I think this is playing with fire.

    The cigarette comparisson is a GREAT ONE! I know many people who have told me they just smoke in moderation and a few years down the road, they are smoking all the time. It is playing with fire (literally and figuratively).

    Re: people who say they can "handle" partying with cocaine, etc. now and again....Well, my thought is again...playing with fire and how well are they going to handle it if and when they get busted? How many people are they going to hurt when that situation happens? Kids in foster care. Jobs lost? Money lost. Reputations lost. This is a lose/lose proposition if I ever heard one! (Sorry....just NOT a good idea. Period!)
  18. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Yup - if I take one hit of a cigarette, it's all over again. So exactly.

    Some people CAN stop - but where do you draw the line? "I can stop any time..." ...then do it.

    I'm not saying it can't be done. Clearly, some people CAN. But - why chance it?
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Step....cigarettes are so hard to quit! I should know. I did it once for 6 years!!!

    I started smoking probably around 15 years old back when everyone did it. It was cool, no one really knew it was bad for us or they certainly didnt tell us. Heck, I lived in Richmond VA - the heart of cigarette country with Phillip Morris and we took tours of the factory with school and they gave us packs for free at the end of the tour! They used to have these people who would stand at corners downtown giving away sample packs all day long to, adults...whomever!

    In 1990 when my dad was first dxd with emphysema he and I both quit smoking. He lasted. I didnt. I lasted for 6 years though. Then in 1996 I caught Cory for the very first time trying cigs out with some teen boys and I tried that old method of getting some of the nastiest, non filtered cigarettes I could find and made him sit out on the grass and smoke a whole pack back to back to try and make him stop. Ha! Only thing it did was make me get nicotine back in my system from lighting the dang things. Didnt stop him from sneaking them.

    1996 was a very hard year at my job. Very stressful because of new law that was passed that shook up the whole welfare system and all of us were way stressed out and overworked. They may have called it welfare reform but all it did was cause me to start smoking again. At first it was I bummed one or two a day from a friend but by a month I was right back to a pack and a half a day. I have tried to quit several times since then with no real success. Obviously.

    If I ever manage to do it again...I will never pick up another one.

    Now other things...other than food and diet coke? I dont have a problem with. Im sure I could even stop the diet coke. I can go to caffeine free diet coke if I have to but I prefer the hard stuff. I dont really like diet pepsi but if its on sale I will drink it. I just like carbonated drinks and I dont like water. Diet coke is what got me to learn to walk again to be honest. They put that can on a table in front of me and said...stand up for 5 seconds and you can have it. Then 10...then We owe my success to Diet Coke.
  20. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    But Diet Dr Pepper tastes better ;) And Coke Zero. I can't drink carbonated things like I did when I was younger, bad on my teeth and my stomach doesn't like it anymore.
    It's looking difficult for me to get a doctor here, but when I do? First thing I'm going to ask about is something for anxiety and quitting smoking. Because I know if I can't tamp my anxiety I won't manage it. Did the Chantix help with anxiety for those who tried it?