Controlled substance abuse

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People use controlled substances for many reasons, whether it’s to relax or unwind after a long day or simply escape from reality. Among first responders, some turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress and trauma they experience on the job, but this can quickly lead to addiction as the body begins to rely on them to get through the day.

Methamphetamines, Cocaine, and other Controlled Substances

Once this happens, the illusion of control vanishes and recovering without professional intervention becomes more difficult, but the addiction experts at First Responder Wellness can help. With specialized programs designed specifically for first responders, our goal is to privately give clients the support they’ll need to explore their deep-seated issues and achieve lasting recovery from a variety of controlled substances.

What are Controlled Substances?

Controlled substances are drugs that are regulated or restricted by the government due to concerns of abuse and physical or psychological dependence. Categorized based on their addictive properties and whether or not they have medicinal uses, controlled substances are placed into “schedules” that determine their legal status. Drugs with the highest potential for abuse and no medicinal purpose are schedule I, while those that are also addictive but have therapeutic value are schedules II through V. Common controlled substances and their schedules include:

  • Schedule I: Heroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy/MDMA, hallucinogens
  • Schedule II: Methamphetamine, cocaine, prescription opioids and stimulants
  • Schedule III: Steroids, ketamine, Tylenol with codeine
  • Schedule IV: Ambien, benzodiazepines, Soma, tramadol
  • Schedule V: Lyrica, Lomotil, cough syrups with low concentrations of codeine

Alcohol is legal and therefore isn’t scheduled, so it is the first thing many people turn to at the end of a hard day. The long list of controlled substances demonstrates the diverse range of drugs with the potential for abuse, however, and it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms that could indicate a problem with narcotics.

How Do I Know if I Need Help?

Controlled substances affect the mind and body in different ways, but addiction and physical or psychological dependence often occur with long-term use. Although the signs of addiction vary from person to person, it will eventually take a toll and negatively impact every aspect of life, from overall health and relationships to career goals and emotional well-being. Other signs include:

  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Financial or legal problems
  • Weight loss and decreased appetite
  • Inability to manage responsibilities
  • Performance issues at work
  • Shift in priorities
  • More time spent acquiring and using drugs
  • Medical concerns due to substance use
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Frequently appearing intoxicated
  • Using controlled substances to cope with problems
  • Intense cravings
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Increased tolerance

If you or someone you love is a first responder struggling with addiction to a controlled substance such as cocaine, methamphetamine or other controlled substances, First Responder Wellness can help. Overcoming substance use is a difficult process especially as a first responder, but with individualized care that addresses the unique needs of law enforcement, firefighters, EMT’s, dispatch, corrections, and other first responders and public safety professionals, long-term recovery is possible.

Controlled Substance Abuse Treatment at First Responder Wellness

First responders experience a disproportionate amount of stress, trauma and hardship in their line of work and may use controlled substances to cope with these difficulties or as a form of self-medication. Due to this, first responders are also more likely to develop mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. This complex relationship can make treatment difficult if both disorders occur simultaneously, but our culturally competent team of clinicians has a proven track record that addresses addiction and mental health together to build a strong foundation for lasting recovery.

At First Responder Wellness, we understand the unique challenges faced by public safety professionals and the role that substance use plays in coping with the stressful nature of their job. Our programs utilize an array of proven psychotherapies designed to address the full scope of each patient’s physical, emotional and mental health needs, helping them discover the roots of their addiction and develop effective strategies for managing stress, cravings, triggers and more. As patients progress through treatment, they’ll also learn the coping skills they’ll need to achieve sustainable sobriety and transition smoothly back into their careers and daily lives. Some of the modalities we use include:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Evidence-based psychotherapies (CBT, EMDR, etc.)
  • 12-step methodology
  • Chemical dependency education
  • Reintegration techniques
  • Family and peer support
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Holistic treatments
  • Trauma services
  • Integrated mental health care