What types of drugs are commonly abused?

Virtually any substance whose ingestion can result in a euphoric (“high”) feeling can be abused. While many are aware of the abuse of legal substances like alcohol or illegal drugs like marijuana (in most states) and cocaine, less well known is the fact that inhalants like household cleaners are some of the most commonly abused substances. The following are many of the drugs and types of drugs that are commonly abused and/or result in dependence:

Alcohol: Although legal, alcohol is a toxic substance, particularly to a developing fetus when a mother consumes this drug during pregnancy. One of the most common addictions, alcoholism can have devastating effects on the alcoholic individual’s physical health, as well as his or her ability to function interpersonally and at work.
Amphetamines: This group of drugs comes in many forms, from prescription medications like methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta) and dextroamphetamine and amphetamine (Adderall) to illegally manufactured drugs like methamphetamine (“meth”). Overdose of any of these substances can result in seizure and death.
Anabolic steroids: A group of substances abused by bodybuilders and other athletes, this group of drugs can lead to terrible psychological effects like aggression and paranoia, as well as devastating long-term physical effects like infertility and organ failure.
Caffeine: While it is consumed by many, coffee, tea and soda drinkers, when consumed in excess this substance can be habit forming and produce palpitations, insomnia, tremors, and significant anxiety.
Cannabis: More commonly called marijuana, the scientific name for cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In addition to the negative effects the drug itself can produce (for example, infertility, paranoia, lack of motivation), the fact that it is commonly mixed (“cut”) with other substances so drug dealers can make more money selling the diluted substance or expose the user to more addictive drugs exposes the marijuana user to the dangers associated with those added substances. Examples of ingredients that marijuana is commonly cut with include baby powder, oregano, embalming fluid, PCP, opiates, and cocaine.
Cocaine: A drug that tends to stimulate the nervous system, cocaine can be snorted in powder form, smoked when in the form of rocks (“crack” cocaine), or injected when made into a liquid.
Ecstasy: Also called MDMA to denote its chemical composition (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), this drug tends to create a sense of euphoria and an expansive love or desire to nurture others. In overdose, it can increase body temperature to the point of being fatal.
Hallucinogens: Examples include LSD and mescaline, as well as so-called naturally occurring hallucinogens like certain mushrooms. These drugs can be dangerous in their ability to alter the perceptions of the user. For example, a person who is intoxicated with a hallucinogen may perceive danger where there is none and to think that situations that are truly dangerous are not. Those misperceptions can result in dangerous behaviors (like jumping out of a window because the individual thinks they are riding on an elephant that can fly).
Inhalants: One of the most commonly abused group of substances due to its accessibility, inhalants are usually contained in household cleaners, like ammonia, bleach, and other substances that emit fumes. Brain damage, even to the point of death, can result from using an inhalant just once or over the course of time, depending on the individual.
Nicotine: The addictive substance found in cigarettes, nicotine is actually one of the most addictive substances that exists. In fact, nicotine addiction is often compared to the intense addictiveness associated with opiates like heroin.
Opiates: This group is also called narcotics and includes drugs like heroin, codeine, Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, and Percodan. This group of substances sharply decrease the functioning of the nervous system. The lethality of opiates is often the result of the abuser having to use increasingly higher amounts to achieve the same level of intoxication, ultimately to the point that the dose needed to get high is the same as the dose that is lethal for that individual by halting the person’s breathing (respiratory arrest).
Phencyclidine: Commonly referred to as PCP, this drug can cause the user to feel extremely paranoid, become quite aggressive and to have an unusual amount of physical strength. This can make the individual quite dangerous to others.
Sedative, hypnotic, or antianxiety drugs: As these substances quell or depress the nervous system, they can cause death by respiratory arrest of the person who either uses these drugs in overdose or who mixes one or more of these drugs with another nervous system depressant drug (like alcohol, another sedative drug, or an opiate).

How to Get the Perfect Personal Trainer

The hardest search for a guy can be finding Mr. Right–er, as in your personal trainer. Whether you have a recommendation from a buddy, heard of a trainer at your gym, or comb the Yellow Pages to find him, you can find the perfect trainer who will be affordable, understand your needs, and help you achieve your goals.

Through all of those same methods you can find Mr. Wrong. This is the trainer who is less than professional, may or may not know what he’s talking about, is constantly pushing supplements and other products that he sells onto you, and is one whose methods could possibly injure you.
To land on the right side of this dilemma, ensure that your personal trainer search is done in a savvy way.

Tom, a real estate professional in Chicago, discovered how to get a personal trainer the wrong way. “The gym I belonged to had personal trainers on staff,” he said. “I used the guy who looked the beefiest. I assumed he was professionally trained.” As it turned out, he was not. He just decided to hang the unregulated term “personal trainer” onto his credentials. This trainer was self-taught–always a dangerous path, unless you’re a philosopher or poet. He certainly had Tom on a program, which Tom now calls the “no pain, no gain, sure as hell” method. “I was constantly sore,” he said, “and when I told the trainer about it, we’d cut back a bit, but it wasn’t enough.”

When Tom told the trainer he wanted to work with a different trainer, he was presented with a bill for several future sessions that were already scheduled. LOOK FOR LETTERS This reveals the first step in picking your personal trainer. Find specifically the trainer’s certification, training, or education. Here is a guide to some of nationally-recognized organizations: NSCA (National Strength & Conditioning Association). This organization offers the well-respected C.P. T. (Certified Personal Trainer) and C.S.C.S. (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) designation for fitness professionals. NSCA is admired in the coaching and weightlifting communities, and focuses on strength conditioning and athletic performance.

ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine). With an emphasis on exercise science, this organization requires an undergrad degree or 900 hours of work in the field. Testing is both in written and in-person form. Certification from ACSM is respected by professionals in the medical and sports communities.

ACE (American Council on Exercise). Their ACE certification is by far the most popular in the U.S. for personal trainers and fitness instructors (such as aerobic instructors). Some have criticized that the organization only requires home study and a written test, but this is not necessarily an indicator that makes the qualifications sub par. Many good personal trainers are ACE certified.
YMCA of the USA. Certification from this organization is basically a blend of recommendations from ACSM and ACE. The exam for certification does involve written and in-person testing, and is regarded as having a solid science-based foundation.

AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America). Like ACE, this organization has widespread popularity, with many trainers certified under their aegis. The exam for this certification has both written and practical components. Keep in mind that this organization is mostly for aerobics-type instructors, and that if you want a weightlifting coach, you’re better off looking for other certifications. There are a handful of other designations out there that aren’t truly “certifications” but nonetheless qualify a trainer. The predominant one is an individual who has a bachelor’s or master’s degree in exercise physiology. Another college-oriented designation is DPM-ATC, which is a Doctor of Pediatric Medicine, Certified Athletic Trainer. This can be ideal for a runner.

BEYOND THE BUCKS – Of course, cost is a major consideration. “Often, this is given too much importance,” says Roger Zimmerman, a personal trainer in L.A. “Fifty bucks a session might sound like too much because you’re thinking of using a trainer twice a week. If you are up front about how often you’d like to work with the personal trainer, you are very likely to get a deal.”

Remember, he adds, “if you want to save money, you can use a personal trainer for a periodic tune-up to your workout, doing most of the work on your own.” A good trainer will likely insist on some parameters, however. Don’t be offended if you suggest one session every six weeks and the trainer asserts that he can see you once a month minimum.

GYM TIME – One factor is where you will work out. If the trainer has a private studio, and you can easily commute there, you’re set. But if not, will you have to buy a membership at a gym? Can the trainer come to your gym? (Some fitness facilities do not let personal trainers work on the floor for liability reasons.) If you require a guest pass at the trainer’s gym, what is the cost? INSURANCE If you have major medical insurance, it should cover any unforeseen injury. But you know those pesky insurance companies–they’re always trying to get out of paying a claim. Check with them first to find out if there are any limitations for sports-related coverage. That way, if you’re injured in the gym, you can quickly run out to your car, grab your cell phone, and say, “Man, it was a car accident!”

EXPERIENCE – Ask the trainer if he has worked with people of your type. Sure, he might laugh if you’re the typical client, a 30- or 40-something male. But what if he says so far he’s only worked with senior citizens or with women? Information is power, so get the information. It is also a good idea to ask for a couple of references, but remember that the trainer is very unlikely to give you the names of people who would not recommend him or who hate him.

SAFETY – Most people don’t do it, but it’s a good idea to ask the trainer if he is trained in first aid and/or CPR. If he’s not even trained in first aid, yikes! Don’t assume that because you’re in a health club, you’re surrounded by people who will know first aid and CPR.

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE – Before you even look for a personal trainer, line out your budget and goals. Talk with others, even people you’ve just met at the gym, and find out their experiences. You need to have a little pocket money, because fitness trainers, like any other professional, don’t work just because they like to hang out at the gym and watch people exercise–it’s a living. You should also figure out what you really want. Is it to lose weight, build muscle, or to get big biceps? Yes, you may want it all, but a singular focus helps both you and the trainer have a clear plan.