Ashwood Recovery is an independent, comprehensive outpatient treatment center located in the Boise/Meridian Idaho area. They specializes in treating adults and adolescents suffering from addictive disorders, co-occurring disorders, eating disorders, co-dependency and trauma.
If Someone You Care About Has An Addiction Problem, You Should Take Immediate Action
If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, there are certain steps you can take to help the person you care about. These steps should be taken right away. It is important to remember that addiction is a life-threatening condition that can result in premature death. If someone you care about has a substance abuse problem, you should take action immediately. Every minute counts.
Having an addict in your life can be a stressful and confusing time. While you may have a sincere desire to help someone with a substance abuse problem, you may not know where to start. In this article, we will provide you with nine steps you can take to attempt to get an addicted person the help they so desperately need. Doing this will also help you free yourself from what has most likely become an entangling situation.
#1 Get Educated About The Disease Of Addiction
While it may be difficult to wrap your mind around, an addicted person suffers from a disease called addiction. It is important that you understand this before you talk to the person you care about.
Here’s what the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has to say about the disease of addiction: “Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs.”
Although the person you love may be exhibiting bad behavior, they are not a bad person – they are a sick person who has an illness. Understanding this will make it easier to approach the situation. Do some extended research about the disease of addiction so you can be armed with information.
#2 Always Approach An Addicted Person With Compassion
Although it may be difficult to overcome your anger and resentment towards the person who is using drugs or alcohol, it is important to remember that you are dealing with a sick person. When someone is in active addiction, they are not themselves. They are under the influence of powerful mood and mind-altering substances that cause them to do things they wouldn’t normally do.
Although the person you care about may have stolen from you, wrecked your property, been disrespectful towards you or caused you harm in some way, you simply must approach the situation with lovingkindness and compassion. This is the only way you have any hope to reach the person and be heard.
While it may be your inclination to lash out and be angry, this won’t get you anywhere. In fact, someone who is addicted will respond by being defensive and dig their heels in deeper. Addicted people do not respond well to confrontation – especially when it feels like they are being attacked. This only gives them more reason to continue in their addictive cycle.
#3 Talk To The Addicted Person About The Situation
If you think someone you care about has a problem with substance abuse, you should talk to them one-on-one first. Explain that you are concerned they may be a drug addict or alcoholic. Ask them to take a quiz to help them determine if they have a problem.
If they come to the realization that they have a substance abuse problem and they are willing to admit it, ask them if they think they need to go for in-patient rehabilitation. If the person is not ready to consider inpatient treatment, ask them if they would be willing to go to an outpatient program. Have information ready about nearby inpatient and outpatient programs that you can present to the person.
If you express concern and the person reacts with denial, anger, or hostility; tell them that you are concerned for their life and that you will be taking additional steps to see that they get the help they need.
#4 Join Forces With The People Closest To The Addicted Person
It is not uncommon for someone with an addiction problem to respond with denial or outright anger when they are confronted about their substance abuse. Denial is a powerful aspect of addiction. It tells a person with that they don’t have a problem and that they can get their situation under control.
Addiction affects the entire family unit. If the addicted person you care about is a family member, it is helpful for the family to get together. If they are a friend or coworker, talk to the family and express your concern and tell them you are available for support.
As a group, family and friends can make plans about how they are going to work together as a team to combat the problem at hand. This may include an intervention.
#5 Staging An Intervention Is An Effective And Powerful Way To Break Through Denial
One of the most effective ways to help an addicted person is to stage an intervention. With an intervention, family and friends join together and confront the person who has a drug or alcohol problem in a loving environment.
Typically, everyone who is present reads letters they have written to explain why they are concerned. This gives everyone the opportunity to shed light on how the addiction has affected them personally. This is also a chance for everyone to present a unified front to force the person out of denial.
The intervention should have an end goal – to motivate the person to get help for their substance abuse problem. You might suggest that they go to an in-patient or an out-patient treatment program even if they have already said they would be unwilling to go.
#6 Set Healthy Boundaries For Yourself
During the intervention, everyone present should be prepared to set some healthy boundaries. People who love someone who is addicted are notorious for becoming enmeshed with the addict or alcoholic they care about. Enmeshment is what happens when boundary lines become blurred and it is difficult to tell where someone starts and ends.
When you stage the intervention, you should be willing to explain to the addicted person that you are no longer willing to do certain things if they do not get help for their addiction. This may include no longer helping them financially, taking their late-night crisis calls, or participating in their life altogether. Many people who care about an addict or alcoholic have to make the decision that unless the addicted person gets help, they simply cannot carry on a relationship with them anymore.
Explain to the addict or alcoholic that you are willing to help them in their recovery, but you are no longer willing to play in active role in their downward spiral.
#7 Stop Enabling The Addicted Person
When you care about someone who is addicted, you will find yourself saying yes to all sorts of ridiculous requests. You have to learn how to say no. As long as someone with an addiction problem has someone in their life that continues to bail them out of situations they have created for themselves, they will never recover.
If you are doing things that allow the addicted person to continue in their quest to drink more booze or take more drugs, you are enabling that person’s behavior. Family members or friends of an addicted person have the most sincere desire to help, but end up becoming chief enablers.
Lending money, listening to the person moan about the situations they keep creating for themselves, buying them drugs or giving them alcohol, giving them rides to buy drugs or alcohol, bailing them out of jail and assisting with legal problems related to the addiction are all examples of enabling behavior. A solid, loving “no” is the best gift you can give someone in the grip of addiction or alcoholism.
#8 Get Support For Yourself
Addiction is a destructive force that rips through the lives of everyone it comes into contact with. If you have been in a relationship with an addictive person for any length of time, chances are you are exhausted, angry, confused, and downright frustrated.
One of the ways you can help an addicted person (and yourself) is to get help for yourself by joining a support group that helps family members of addicts or alcoholics. Al-Anon is an excellent resource for people who love someone who has a substance abuse problem. At Al-Anon, you can learn to become happy and whole whether the person you care about is drinking or drugging or not.
#9 Remember, You Didn’t Cause It, You Can’t Cure It, And You Can’t Control It
It is important to keep in mind that no matter what you or your family members do to help someone with a substance abuse problem, your help may go unappreciated. Addiction is a cunning enemy of life and it can take someone with a drug or alcohol problem years to finally sober up. Some people never do. Sadly, many people die from the disease of addiction.
We don’t say this to frighten you. We simply want you to have an accurate assessment of the situation at hand. If you do everything in your power to help someone with an addiction and they refuse your help, do not take this personally. It doesn’t mean the person doesn’t love or care about you. It simply means they are unable to surrender their addiction at the present moment and accept help.
If Someone Refuses Help, You Have a Decision To Make
If you have done everything you can do to help someone with an addiction problem and they absolutely refuse your support, you have to make a decision. Are you going to continue to participate in the insanity of addiction or are you going to set yourself free?
It is unhealthy for you to stay entangled in a relationship with an active addict or alcoholic. If you choose freedom, you are not turning your back on the person you care about. You are simply making a decision to take care of yourself.
A new type of drug, known as kratom, has emerged in America over the past years. It produces a high similar to that of opioids and opiates, and can be incredibly dangerous.
For years, Asian countries have relied on the medicinal effects of kratom, otherwise known as Mitragyna speciose korth. Only the leaves of this tropical forest tree have medicinal benefits. Some people call it Mitragynine. It is found in places like Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Borneo, Philippines and New Guinea.
The plant can grow up to 25 meters high. It has elliptical leaves that have a heart-shaped base and a hairy underside. When fully mature, these leaves are large enough to cover an average man’s entire palm.
The leaves contain psychoactive opioid compounds that mimic opioids and opiates. Consuming the leaves can result in medicinal effects, like uplifted moods and pain relief. The leaves can also be used as an aphrodisiac. It’s versatile, and can treat a wide array of conditions and disorders.
How Is Kratom Taken?
There are many administration methods for this drug. Both dried and fresh leaves can be chewed. The leaves can also be smoked or used to steep tea. Others may prefer snorting or smoking it. The last two options have become quite popular, as they lead to stronger effects.
Some individuals will opt to use the extracts instead, as the extracts have a much stronger effect. Extracts are basically the concentrated form of the leaves.
While kratom is a medicine, it can also become addictive. Long-term use can lead to abuse and dependence. This is due to the fact that the alkaloids and metabolites have similar properties to opioid and opiate alkaloids. They attach to the same receptors in the central nervous system.
What Does Kratom Do?
The popularity of kratom lies in its diverse alkaloid profile. This medicinal plant can allegedly treat a vast array of medical conditions and diseases. It’s said to be effective, and the medicinal properties supposedly take little to no time to kick in.
Some alleged medicinal effects of kratom include its ability to:
Kratom is also thought to have anti-leukemic and anti-malarial properties. This is due to the fact that it is high in antioxidants and vitamins. While kratom allegedly offers many medical benefits, this plant can cause many scary side effects.
Is Kratom Legal?
The legal stance of kratom remains in a gray area in America. On a federal level, this plant is technically legal; however, some states have regulations in place for selling and using the drug. Some other states have banned it completely.
States that have imposed regulations and bans include:
Alabama, which has marked the plant as a Schedule 1 controlled substance since May of 2016, and banned it completely.
Arkansas, which has marked the drug as a Schedule 1 controlled substance since February of 2016, and banned it completely.
California, which has banned kratom use in San Diego only.
Florida, which has banned the use of this drug in Sarasota Country only.
Illinois, which only allows the sale of kratom to those over the age of 18. While kratom is legal in Illinois, it is banned in Jerseyville.
Indiana, which has banned kratom use completely.
New Hampshire, which only allows the sale of kratom to those over the age of 18.
Tennessee, which has banned kratom use completely.
Wisconsin, which has banned the use of this drug completely.
The debate for whether kratom should be banned on a federal level is still going strong. Many people believe that it should be banned because it has psychoactive properties that can become addictive. Others believe that kratom may be an efficient and effective solution for dealing with the nation’s opioid epidemic. Both arguments are sound.
Due to these reasons, there’s still a lot of chatter surrounding the kratom plant and whether it will still be legal in the future.
In August of 2016, it appeared that the DEA had finally made its decision to list kratom as a Schedule 1 controlled drug. That would put it on the same standing as ecstasy, LSD and heroin. However, this decision was withdrawn in October. At the current moment, no other comments have been made by the DEA.
Various Kratom Strains and Their Effects
There are many strains of Mitragynine. Each variety offers unique chemical properties that cause certain medicinal effects. Some of the most popular strains include:
Bali, which offers a euphoric effect and other effects similar to opioid use.
Green Vein Kali, which is a stimulating strain with painkiller attributes.
Maeng Da, which offers an energizing effect that also relieves pain.
Red Vein Kali, which has a sedative effect that mimics opioids.
Ultra Enhanced Indo, which is an extract with strong euphoric effects. It is often used to treat social anxiety.
White Vein Kali, which has a euphoric and dissociating effect.
Other than the extract, most individuals will only need 1/2 to 3 teaspoons of the leaves to achieve the desired effect. Less than a gram of extracts will offer up the same effects as the leaves. Extracts are much more potent.
For years, kratom has been used to treat pain, social anxiety and other conditions and disorders. Only a small dosage is needed to achieve the results desired. This is why indigenous people tend to love this natural drug. It’s effective, affordable and versatile.
Is Kratom Addictive?
Long-term use of kratom can lead to both physical and psychological dependence. According to a study, over 50% of people who used kratom regularly for 6 months developed dependence on the drug. This means that kratom is an addictive substance, and has a potential for abuse.
But, why is it addictive?
The answer lies in its chemical formula. Kratom has chemical properties that are similar to opioids. This medicinal plant can activate opiate signalling and subsequent pathways in the brain. This means that users will experience a ‘high’ or strong euphoric sensations.
This is how the Mitragynine plant treats opiate addictions, and lessens the intensity of their withdrawal symptoms. The chemical compounds basically acts like a less potent form of heroin or methadone.
One of the most troublesome aspects of Mitragynine use is that the body can build tolerance. This means that a larger dosage is needed to experience the same effects. Tolerance causes users to develop compulsive drug seeking behaviors, and will also lead to overdoses.
Side Effects of Kratom Use
While kratom does have some medicinal effects, it is equally as likely to cause side effects. The intensity of the side effects will depend on the dosage taken. Users are more likely to experience side effects if they take moderate to high doses, which is anywhere from 5 to 15 grams.
Whether users will experience any side effects will also depend on the purity of the drug, and the length of the drug use. Some side effects are relatively minor, but others can be quite severe.
Common side effects include:
Sexual dysfunction, like loss of libido
Long-term use can also cause additional symptoms, like dry mouth, weight loss, anorexia and constipation. Due to these reasons, use caution when taking kratom for medicinal reasons. Stop and see a doctor if any of these symptoms persist or worsen.
Detection Methods for Kratom Abuse
Although kratom has similar properties to opioids, they are not structurally related. This means that they are not detectable through opiate drug tests. This doesn’t mean that its metabolites are not in the user’s system. It is. The only difference is that kratom is not normally tested for with normal drug tests.
Most normal drug tests check for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP and opiates only. This means that kratom will go undetected in these tests.
Luckily, there are specialized drug tests and kits that can detect kratom use. These detection methods will need either a sample of urine or blood.
It takes about 5.3 days for kratom alkaloids to completely disappear in urine. As a result, urine drug tests can usually detect kratom use for up to a week.
Blood tests look for concentrations of Mitragynine. The concentration must exceed 300ng/ml for the test to come back positive. Unfortunately, Mitragynine and its metabolites are usually only detectable in the blood for the first 24 hours.
Kratom Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
Since most long-term users will develop a physical dependence on kratom, they will go through withdrawal symptoms when quitting. The intensity of the withdrawals will depend on the dosage that was taken, as well as the length of the drug use.
Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms include:
High blood pressure
Insomnia and sleep disorders
Muscle and joint pain
Nausea and vomiting
These withdrawal symptoms can be quite hard to bear. Symptoms can be so intense that they cause relapses.
Many people who are addicted to kratom will want to seek professional help to deal with the symptoms. Many people already have without knowing about it. For example, 660 emergency room visits from 2010 to 2015 are due to withdrawals caused by Mitragynine use.
Kratom Overdose Symptoms
While there hasn’t been a single death caused by kratom use, high doses can result in an overdose. The effects can kick in pretty quickly after the plant is ingested, and can last for hours. This means that overdose symptoms can last just as long.
Common overdose symptoms include:
Combative or aggressive behavior
Nausea and vomiting
Seizures and tremors
During an overdose, it’s not unusual for users to experience severe nausea. In extreme situations, an overdose may even cause hostility, confusion and hallucinations.
Kratom Withdrawal Timeline
Kratom will usually linger in the bloodstream for anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. The withdrawal symptoms will begin to kick in once the drug leaves the body. In most cases, this only takes a few hours.
The withdrawal symptoms often peak within 2 to 3 days. This timeline is quite similar to the timeline for opioid and opiate withdrawals. This is when users experience intense cravings, get goosebumps and have difficulties concentrating.
Most withdrawal symptoms will only last anywhere from 7 to 10 days. At which point, the withdrawals become more psychological than physical. Intense cravings may not subside until months later.
The withdrawal timeline will differ from person to person. This is mostly due to the fact that each person’s body reacts differently to the drug. Symptoms are also often milder for those who are less dependent on the drug. In short, there are many factors that might influence and length of the withdrawal timeline.
Some of the most common factors include:
Co-occurring disorders. Those struggling with co-occurring disorders are more likely to struggle with more intense withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms will also often last a lot longer. It’s vital that both the addiction and the disorder are treated at the same time.
Dosage taken. Higher dosages lead to longer withdrawal timelines.
Environment and support system. An individual’s surround can affect the quality of their withdrawals. If a person is withdrawing in a high stress environment, their withdrawal symptoms may become more severe and may be prolonged.
Genetics. An individual’s biological makeup can contribute to how the drug is metabolized. It also affects how a person will respond to withdrawals.
Length of drug use. The longer that an individual has used Mitragynine, the more likely they will experience intense withdrawal symptoms.
Method of abuse. Smoking or snorting the leaves will have a stronger effect than chewing or drinking it.
Mixing kratom with other drugs and alcohol can also lead to more intense withdrawal symptoms. It’s possible that these users will often experience more withdrawal symptoms as well. Other drugs and alcohol can easily complicate the effects of kratom use.
Since stress can worsen withdrawal symptoms, many experts recommend using a residential addiction treatment program when withdrawing from the drug. Residential treatment programs are able to offer serene and relaxed environments.
Abstain from Kratom Use
Kratom overdoses can be dangerous, and long-term use can lead to unsavory side effects. With that said, kratom does have medicinal properties, and can be used for medical purposes.
Still, those who have found that they have strayed from the path of medicinal usage to addiction should seek professional help. Depending on the length of the usage and the dosage, the withdrawal symptoms can be intense.
Here, at Ashwood Recovery, we have the resources needed to help you get sober. We have many medical detox programs that treat the withdrawal symptoms. We also treat the root of the addiction with counselling and behavioral therapies.
If you’re struggling with an addiction and would like to get sober, contact us for more information about the programs we offer. We can tailor the treatments to your needs and expectations.
Knowing Drug Slang Names Is Important For Today’s Parents
If you have a teenager and you want to protect them from the dangers of drug addiction, you need to know the slang names teens use when talking about drugs.
It is not uncommon for teenagers to talk about using, dealing, or buying drugs on their phones or to communicate this information by text. They also use these street names as code words on social media and instant messaging on the Internet.
Recent statistics suggest that more teenagers are using drugs than ever. As a parent, it is important to be as educated as possible when it comes to drug use. After all, you want to defend your children and keep them out of harm’s way. If you are in the know, your teens and their friends won’t be able to have their cryptic conversations without cluing you into the fact that they are involved in drug activity.
In this article, we will give you some basic information about eleven drugs and give you the slang names for each.
# 1 Adderall Is Prescribed For ADHD But Used Recreationally
Adderall is a legal prescription stimulant prescribed for Attention Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that causes someone to fall asleep uncontrollably) and as an appetite suppressant.
Basically, this is legal speed. Many teenagers use this stuff to catch a buzz because when it is used recreationally it can bring about a pleasurable sense of euphoria. Teens will often take Adderall from a friend who has been prescribed the drug to get high. When abused, Adderall is a dangerous substance. According to Business Insider, stimulant-related hospital visits have tripled in recent years.
Here are the street names teens use when talking about this prescription stimulant:
If your teenager exhibits the following behavior, they may be abusing Adderall:
The decreased need for sleep or food
Fidgeting and the constant need for movement
# 2 Cocaine Is A Popular Substances For Teens
Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that teenagers use to catch a super buzz. Cocaine is a white powder that can be snorted, smoked, or diluted with water and injected.
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that causes the heart rate to increase and gives the user a boost in alertness and awareness. Cocaine is a particularly expensive habit because the high doesn’t last very long. When the user comes down, they will be overwhelmed with an intense craving to do more cocaine. Teens will often steal to support a cocaine habit or trade their belongings for more of the drug.
Here are the slang names associated with powdered cocaine:
Here are some warning signs to look out for to alert you that your teen may be using cocaine:
Very big pupils
The decreased need for sleep
A decrease in appetite and little need for food
Track marks on the arms from shooting cocaine
A lot of spoons missing from the kitchen
Sleeping for extended periods of time after crashing from a cocaine binge
# 3 Crack – The Smokable Form of Cocaine
It is important to make the distinction that the smokable form of cocaine is called crack. Crack is smoked using a glass pipe with the copper from a Brillo scouring pad. It is also put into marijuana joints or rolled up with nicotine with using a cigarette paper. The high from crack is much more intense than powdered cocaine and it is very short-lived. The truth about crack is that someone can use it just one time and become addicted.
If your teenager is experimenting with crack, you should be highly concerned. Those who have been addicted to crack say it consumes them like a demon and renders them powerless over the drug. Crack usually brings on a binge where the user will continually abuse the drug for days at a time without sleeping or eating. Someone can easily spend $1,000 on a crack binge in just three or four days.
To increase your awareness about crack, here are some of the slang names associated with the drug:
If you see these warning signs, your teen may be using crack:
Very big pupils
Extreme paranoia and fear of law enforcement
Bizarre thoughts and speech
Strange mouth movements
The decreased need for sleep
A decrease in appetite and little need for food
Sleeping for extended periods of time after crashing from a crack binge
Pieces of Brillo lying around
Long pieces of straight metal from a coat hanger lying around (this is used to manage the crack pipe)
Items of value missing
# 4 Heroin Is A Dangerous Drug
While the word “heroin” strikes fear in the heart of any protective parent, teenagers associate the drug with pleasure and euphoric intoxication. Because heroin promotes a feeling of calm and relaxation, many unsuspecting teenagers are simply unaware of how dangerous and deadly the drug really is.
Heroin is derived from the opium poppy plant, which is grown in tropical climates around the world. It sold as a brown powder or as a black tar. Heroin is highly addictive. It can be snorted, smoked, or diluted with water and injected with a needle.
These are the most common slang names for heroin:
Here are the telltale signs of heroin use:
Glassy, glazed eyes
Nodding of the head in a slow, downward motion
Very relaxed body posture
# 5 Inhalants Are A Strange Way For Teens To Get High
For an adult, it is unthinkable to inhale dangerous chemicals like spray paint, household cleaners, or paint thinner. Nevertheless, many teens think this is a super fun, super cheap way to get high. Teens will spray or pour these chemicals into a bag or on a cloth and inhale the fumes. This is called “huffing.”
This short-lived buzz causes hallucinations and a feeling of unexplained euphoria. Teens will use these dangerous inhalants alone in privacy or at parties with friends. If you suspect your teen might be experimenting with drugs, it might be a good idea to lock up household cleaners and chemicals.
These are the slangs used by teens to talk about inhalants:
Inhalant use is very easy for teens to hide because they do it away from the watchful eyes of parents and the high doesn’t last very long. However; here are some warning signs to look out for when it comes to inhalant use:
Bags and rags that smell like chemicals lying around
Strange, loopy behavior
The inability to stand
The inability to speak
# 6 Ketamine Takes Teens Into A K-Hole
Ketamine is typically used as an animal tranquilizer, although it is often used as an anesthetic for surgical procedures. Teens love to use this drug recreationally. Ketamine is not as readily available as other drugs, but it can be purchased on the street. When teens use this drug, they report having an out-of-body experience and going into what is called a “K-Hole,” which renders the user immobile. This is a popular date rape drug.
Here are the popular street names associated with Ketamine:
If your teen demonstrates any of these signs, they may be using Ketamine:
Laying on their back, staring at the ceiling
Involuntary muscle movements
# 7 LSD Use Is Increasing Among High School Students
LSD is a hallucinogenic drug that was made popular during the hippie generation of flower children. While LSD wasn’t quite as popular during the 2000 decade, it is making a comeback. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the use of LSD among high school students is on the rise.
LSD is a clear, odorless liquid that is typically placed on special paper that looks like a small postage stamp with a special design on it. (Hearts, shamrocks, flowers, and psychedelic designs are the most popular). An LSD “trip” usually lasts about eight two twelve hours.
Here are the street names for LSD:
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Dose or doses
Usually, teenagers will use LSD away from their parents because they don’t want to hallucinate in their presence and be “found out.” However; if you think your teen may be under the influence of LSD, you are probably right. There is an unmistakable look about someone who is tripping. Here are some signs to look for:
Very large pupils so much so that the entire eye may appear black
Strange reactions to the outside world
Staring at an object for a prolonged period of time
A fascination with hand movements
# 8 Marijuana – The Number One Illegal Drug Of Choice For Teens
When it comes to illegal drugs, teens use marijuana more than any other drug. This is largely because marijuana is easy to get, it is relatively inexpensive, and most teenagers consider it safe.
Marijuana is a green, leafy substance that is smoked in a pipe, rolled in a joint, or smoked using cigar paper. Edibles are also common in states where marijuana is legal for recreational use. Edibles are things you can eat that have marijuana in them like lollipops, brownies, chocolate, or candy.
Here are the most common street names used by teens to describe marijuana:
Keep a look out for these warning signs:
Glassy eyes and low eyelids
Increased appetite and food binges called “the munchies”
Change in speech (Think “surfer talk” – hey, man)
Loss of coordination
# 9 Methamphetamine – A Monster You Don’t Want To Meet
Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that has become very popular among teenagers. This drug looks like small bits of ice or little crystals. When crushed up, it looks like a white or yellowish crystalline powder. This drug can be snorted, smoked, or diluted with water and injected.
This is a potent stimulant drug that has a very different high than cocaine. Just a small amount of inexpensive methamphetamine can keep a user up for days at a time with no need for sleep or food. It is a monster of an addiction that completely consumes the individual and wrecks families.
Here are the slang words for methamphetamine:
Take notice if your teen exhibits any of these signs. They may be using meth:
Very large pupil and a strange look in the eyes
Large open sores on the face
Bizarre behavior and speech
Strange body and mouth movements
# 10 Oxycodone Is a Favorite Among Teens – Lock Up Your Pills
In recent years, the powerful narcotic painkiller Oxycodone has become a favorite among teens looking to catch a buzz. Young people don’t have to go traipsing through the ghetto to find seedy-looking dope dealers to score the stuff, by the way. Most teenagers find their Oxycodone in their parents’ medicine cabinet. Nevertheless, Oxycodone is available for sale on the black market for as much as $20 per pill.
If you have been prescribed Oxycodone, which produces a euphoric effect when not taken for pain, be sure and keep your prescription medication under lock and key. You don’t want this to wind up in the hands of teens.
Want to know the street names for Oxycodone? Here they are:
The warning signs for Oxycodone are the same as heroin:
Glassy, glazed eyes
Nodding of the head in a slow, downward motion
Very relaxed body posture
# 11 Xanax – A Popular Tranquilizer Used By Teens
Xanax is classified as a benzodiazepine. These are tranquilizers that have a sedating effect. They are typically prescribed for people who have an anxiety or panic disorder because they are fast-acting and cause a person to calm down rather quickly. Teens love to use Xanax because they make them feel calm and loopy.
These are the street names teens use when discussing Xanax:
Zanny or Zannies
If your teen demonstrates any of these signs, they may be using Xanax:
Unexplained memory loss
Help Is Available For Teens
If your teenager is using any of the drugs we described, you should be concerned. These drugs are all very dangerous. While it may be easy to dismiss a teen’s drug use as experimentation, this is a mistake. Be sure and talk to your teenager and find out the extent of their drug use. If they have been using any of these drugs regularly, you might consider getting them treatment. Help is available.
Crystal meth might conjure up the thought of the popular series Breaking Bad. We witnessed firsthand how to make bathtub crank through Walter White’s chemical expertise. If you haven’t watched the series, you’re probably aware of the problems crystal meth has caused in the US. It’s illegal, highly addictive and deteriorates the body and mind quickly.
A manmade substance, it’s a c10h15n structure that people make in a lab. Crystal meth is clear crystal chunks or alternatively blue-white rocks. This is why it’s also referred to as “ice” or “glass.” It can be snorted, swallowed and injected. The most common way of using it however, is to smoke it with a small glass pipe. Meth effects last for up to 12 hours.
The drug was originally a nasal decongestant in the 1930s. A powerful psychostimulant, meth was originally given to soldiers in World War II to keep them awake. It has also been used as a way to reduce depression and lose weight. Meth is illegal however there are prescription weight loss tablets called desoxyn and ADHD medications that contain it.
Methamphetamine intoxication is a common side effect for meth users. It’s the reason people are attracted to experimenting with ice. The side effects such as pleasure, confidence and energy that come with a crystal meth high is what creates addiction quickly. The drug is especially addictive for those who have experience traumatic experiences in life. With crystal meth, the user doesn’t feel the normal emotions that might usually plague them.
Meth users are after the sensation of the euphoria more than anything else. This feeling is one of the main reasons recreational drug users become addicts. They receive a rewarding feeling that keeps them looking for the next high. Meth works differently on everyone so some will find that they become less aware of their feelings which is often a form of relief.
Taking crystal meth can be much like Russian roulette. While one person can feel highly euphoric, another user may get a sense of paranoia and wish the high would end. Crystal meth can feel terrible for the user when they first begin using.
When a person is high on meth, it influences them physically and psychologically. Some changes are caused by the effects that meth has on the central nervous system. Personal feelings are amplified on meth so if someone has some negative feelings, this can cause a bad trip. It’s common that you’d look for ways to make your ice high go away because it can feel like too much. The problem is, it’s a 12 hour high so the user has to manage a bad trip for long periods of time.
What goes up, must come down and that is one of the worst realities about meth. When the high is over, there will be a rock bottom crash. Part of the reason methamphetamines are so highly abused is to negate the awful feelings of the comedown. Abuse very quickly becomes crystal meth addiction that is hard to recover from. All the dopamine that flooded into the brain disappears, leaving the user much lower than when they started.
Physical Effects and Mind Tricks
At first, the body rejects meth so initially, physical symptoms of meth intoxication can be pretty awful. Through enough use, the brain starts to associate the awful symptoms with the pleasure of the high. This creates a tolerance to even the most unpleasant meth effects. The brain has a hard time determining what is right and wrong.
An ice users behavior has a lot to do with how the drug affects the mind. The mind tells the body that it is capable of great feats. Of course, it isn’t but this is the mental effect of using meth for some. In regards to meth addiction, studies have found that after three months, users will likely go back to the drug. They believe they can quit on their own as opposed to getting professional addiction help. This is because the withdrawal symptoms are more mental than physical.
The relapse rate for crystal using is three months. While one might quit cold turkey, there will still be a mental addiction to the drug that’s hard to kick. The memories of the ice crash will have faded and meth addicts will begin to crave the drug. They tell themselves they can’t be happy without it. Unlike other drugs, meth withdrawal seems more of a mental problem than a physical one.
When someone is on meth, they will feel different physically. The body is highly stimulated and meth can causes a steady increase in heart rate, breathing can become faster. People might feel really hot or cold and tend to sweat, feel nauseous and even vomit. They also tweak out which feels pretty incredible to the meth user.
Someone on ice will likely fidget a lot as they have excess energy and the body is buzzing. The high lasts for up to 12 hours and during this time, you are unable to sleep because the body is too stimulated. Negative side effects from the stimulation can include anxiety, delusions, and hallucinations. Crystal meth users will often think that bugs are crawling all over them which causes them to pick at their skin. This causes open wounds that become scars, also known as meth sores, and is a telltale sign of heavy meth use.
One of the signs that someone is using crystal meth is they have an illusion of grandeur. They believe they are more powerful or more productive than they actually are. This gives users a good feeling. Meth can cause delusion with reality becoming highly distorted. Meth can bring new confidence to people who are painfully shy. A person will gain courage they didn’t have before. They may also feel superior to others which is when they become obnoxious, paranoid or aggressive.
After a trip, users will often wake up to meth use related injuries. While high on meth, they feel invisible which can be to their detriment. They may believe they can lift heavy items or run fast enough across the street to avoid the oncoming traffic. Strained muscles, bruising, broken bones, and knife wounds are some of the reported injuries that occur on a crystal meth trip.
A study was done with 461 patients who screened positive for methamphetamine along with 32,156 that admitted themselves into emergency rooms over the US. What they found was a strong connection of blunt trauma injuries and methamphetamine use. The main injuries involved car accidents but other consideration were gunshot wounds, stab wounds, and assaults.
The meth high causes a lack of awareness so behaviors can be quite astonishing. As a meth user goes through addiction recovery, these are often things that they will have to address about themselves to move forward. When sober, they become aware of how many times they risked their lives.
Negative Side Effects During an Ice High
When someone is high on methamphetamines, the pleasurable feelings come with a price. There are many negative, dangerous side effects that come with using meth. Here are the adverse effects:
An increase in heart rate with abnormal rhythm.
Blood pressure increases.
Body temperature fluctuates quickly.
Feelings of anxiety, depression and/or panic.
A hard time standing still and relaxing.
Extreme highs and lows.
The inability to think rationally can cause risky or violent behavior.
Problems with breaking the law due to character changes while high.
Connection to Meth Abuse and Psychological Problems
Research has found a connection between meth addiction and those who suffered trauma due from abusive childhoods. Meth addiction will often be a result of users seeking the drug to get away from the negative feelings that plague them. Meth allows them to get a break from the burden of anxiety, stress, and fear in someone who has suffered trauma. Many users also have social anxiety and enjoy the feeling of not feeling afraid to socialize with others like high on meth.
While meth use might seem like their savior, studies have found that meth perpetuates psychosis. Their lives become chaotic once meth addiction has developed. They stop taking care of themselves, stop caring about how they look to other. They stop bathing and brushing their teeth. This is part of the reason that open wounds and severe tooth decay are symptoms in heavy meth users.
Long Term Effects of Meth
When meth is used for a long time, both physical and psychological issues grow in intensity.
Meth effects starts very early and only get more complex the longer it’s abused.
Long term crystal meth effects include:
Psychotic symptoms become persistent which include delusions, paranoia, and hallucination.
An increase in mood disorders like depression, anxiety and the desire to isolate oneself.
Strange behavior due to confusion.
Delusions such as bugs crawling on the skin.
Body sores will occur all over the body with long term users due to constant skin picking.
Lung problems due to inhaling meth regularly.
Damage to the blood vessels that can’t be reversed which includes the heart and brain.
Potential for sudden death due to cardiac arrest or stroke.
Potential to fall into a coma.
The body is unable to heal due to the deterioration of tissues and blood vessels. This physically manifests as dull skin full of acne with very little elasticity. The teeth will also begin to decay and crack. This is known as “meth mouth,” a condition associated with meth use.
What Makes Meth so Addictive?
Most people recovering from meth addiction say the same thing. Many will continue to use the drug in order to get that initial feeling they experienced upon first use. When reflecting on their addiction, they say they could never achieve that same first high. Meth causes the brain to release more dopamine than it normally would which is where the euphoric feeling comes from. Dopamine is the chemical that allows us to feel pleasure and at a deeper level is part of the reward process of the mind. The increase of dopamine is what causes the addiction to many drugs, including meth.
The positive feeling from dopamine is so powerful and rewarding, something we are driven by, that it reinforces behavior to continue meth use over and over. Users will become tolerant to the substance and need to take more to experience the high they’re after. This puts them at risk of overdose and causes further dependency.
Dopamine receptor activity will in time become impaired which can cause problems with the brain, a sense of unhappiness and numbness. The crystal meth crash often comes with feelings of suicide due to desperation. The intense amount of dopamine that is release by using crystal meth will make a user feel incredible. When the crash comes and there’s no dopamine stimulation, the depression comes quickly. Many will just keep using to avoid the terrible feeling that the come down brings.
Crystal Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms of crystal meth can include the following:
A deep sense of despair and depression.
Intense desire to use meth.
Eyes can become itchy.
Insomnia or oversleeping.
A sudden increase in appetite.
Crystal Meth Recovery
The symptoms can cause great discomfort for someone trying to detox. It can often lead users to relapse just to get one more fix. A medically supervised detox is recommended for crystal meth detox due to the complexity and potency of the addiction.
Once a crystal meth addict has detoxed from the drug, there is still a long road to full recovery. Detox is the initial act of getting the drug out of the system. Without therapy, the user will likely not have the mental strength to stay off meth. As so many users started to use in order to numb their feelings, this needs to be addressed in order for full recovery to occur. Inpatient and intensive outpatient drug treatment is available specifically to help with crystal meth addiction.
An in-depth study found that the physical and mental effects of meth are far more dangerous than being portrayed in the media. Physically, there is a risk of cardiovascular problems along with dependency, and blood-borne virus transmission. Meth effects include a manifestation of psychological issues. This includes something called methamphetamine psychosis. Depression, anxiety and violent behaviors can occur when someone is high on meth.
The Reality of Rock Bottom When Using Crystal Meth
The drug abuse warning network has released information stating that ice drug addiction is high. Crystal meth is the fourth most mentioned illicit drug based on emergency room visits. It sits under cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. The high of crystal meth can often alter a person’s mind the first time they use.
Serious health issues arise that are irreversible. Blood vessels become damaged in the brain which can result in strokes, cardiovascular issues. Liver, kidney and lung damage is also common. Crystal meth quickly takes over someone’s life, especially if they experience physiological issues beforehand. Meth is one of those rock bottom drugs that cause people to lose everything and age exponentially.
When someone has a mental health diagnosis and a substance abuse problem simultaneously, they are considered to have a co-occurring disorder, also known as a dual-diagnosis. A person has to have a mental health disorder and be abusing alcohol or drugs like alcohol, cocaine, heroin, opioids, or methamphetamines to receive a dual-diagnosis.
There are a number of mental health disorders that can complicate the problem of substance abuse. Bipolar, anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and schizophrenia are among the most common. Let’s explain these disorders to give you a better understanding of how they affect an individual.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias are all classified as anxiety disorders. When someone has an anxiety disorder, they have a heightened sense of fear and dread about the future. They respond to life with an overwhelming feeling of concern that things are not okay or that something bad is about to happen.
They may demonstrate physical signs of anxiety like sweating, shaking, and an increased heartbeat. If someone has a phobia, they are terrified of a particular object or experience. For instance, someone might have a phobia about leaving the house.
Bi-polar is characterized by extreme mood swings that range from extreme depression to feelings of being elated and high on life, also known as “mania.” When someone is manic, they can be a danger to themselves or others because they hold irrational beliefs and demonstrate bizarre behavior. Someone with bipolar has a chemical imbalance in their brain that causes these mood swings to be beyond their control.
When someone has been diagnosed with clinical depression, it means they consistently experience very low lows that make them feel very sad and even suicidal. This is caused by a depletion of Serotonin and Dopamine, which are the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Someone who has depression finds it difficult to enjoy life or find pleasure in even the most exciting activities. People with depression experience a loss of concentration, difficulty with mental focus, and uncontrollable crying.
If someone has an eating disorder, they have an unhealthy relationship with their body which causes them to have an unhealthy relationship with food. For example, someone with Anorexia may starve themselves and refuse to eat. Bulimia happens when someone consumes large amounts of food and then makes themselves vomit so they don’t process the calories they have consumed. Those who have eating disorders say their mind bombards them with incredible negative messages about themselves and brings about feelings of self-hatred.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that results when someone experiences a trauma, usually a life-threatening event. PTSD causes someone to believe they are in a constant state of danger where they continue to mentally relive the trauma they experienced. Sexual assault, physical assault, a car accident, a combat zone, extreme weather events like earthquakes, and the sudden death of a loved one can bring about PTSD.
Schizophrenia is a complicated mental disorder that causes someone to lose touch with reality. Like other mental disorders, it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Hallucinations, delusions, bizarre thoughts, and irrational behavior are common for those who struggle with this disorder. difficult.
Getting Diagnosed With A Mental Health Disorder
If you think you have a mental health disorder, you should see a psychiatrist or psychologist to get diagnosed. You should not make the mistake of thinking you can diagnose yourself using Google or mental health websites.
When you see a mental health professional, you will answer an in-depth questionnaire and answer a series of questions from the doctor. This will help assess your symptoms and give you a proper diagnosis. It is important to have a proper diagnosis before you can get the treatment you need for your individual problem.
It is also important that you be honest with the doctor about your drug and alcohol use. The doctor needs to determine if you meet the criteria for a dual-diagnosis. Just because you have been using drugs or alcohol does not necessarily mean you have a co-occurring disorder.
Why People With Mental Health Issues Abuse Drugs And Alcohol
People who have mental health disorders often self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to find relief from their symptoms. If you can imagine what it would be like to have no control over your own mind or your own mood, you can get a good idea why people who have a mental health disorder abuse chemicals to cope.
Usually, a mental disorder is present before the substance abuse begins – although the person may have not yet been diagnosed when they start using drugs or alcohol. While drugs or alcohol may provide temporarily relief for those who suffer from mental health issues, substance abuse actually prolongs symptoms and makes them worse.
Furthermore, having a co-occurring disorder complicates matters. It can be difficult for a healthcare provider to determine which symptoms are caused by the addiction and which ones are brought on by the mental health disorder. Also, someone with a dual-diagnosis will have to battle their addiction and overcome the complications of their illness.
Detoxification Is The First Step To Treating A Co-Occurring Disorder
The first step to treating a dual-diagnosis is detoxification. When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol and they have a co-occurring disorder, they need to get the substances out of their system before they can be treated for their mental health disorder.
Someone who has been abusing addictive substances like opioids, heroin, or benzodiazepines like Xanax should undergo a professional medical detoxification. This happens in a medical facility, detox center, or in-patient rehab.
With a professional medical detox, someone will be given medication to lessen cravings and withdrawal symptoms so they can detox comfortably. Plus, their progress will be monitored and evaluated around-the-clock to make sure they safely withdrawal from whatever drugs they have been taking.
Only once someone has detoxed can they receive the treatment they need for their mental health disorder. You simply cannot effectively provide mental health services to someone while they are under the influence of addictive chemicals.
In-Patient Rehabs That Specialize In Dual-Diagnosis Are Recommended For People With a Co-Occurring Disorder
Those who have a co-occurring disorder should go to a rehab that specializes in this condition. People with a dual-diagnosis do not respond to traditional treatment the way someone would if they simply have a problem with addiction. This is because someone with a co-occurring disorder has special needs.
Not only do they need to detox from the drugs or alcohol and learn the necessary tools to stay clean and sober, someone with a mental disorder needs to learn how to manage the symptoms of their illness. This can be complicated and requires ongoing treatment.
Someone With A Mental Disorder May Require Medication
Someone who has a substance abuse problem can stop using drugs or alcohol and get into recovery immediately. This is not necessarily true for someone with a mental disorder. Medication is often needed for those with bipolar, depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia.
Medication therapy is usually an integral part of the treatment involved for those who have a dual-diagnosis because it helps the addicted person manage their symptoms. By managing symptoms, someone is less likely to relapse and return to drugs or alcohol for relief.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) or mood stabilizers are common for those who have a mental health disorder. SSRIs work on the brain by blocking the body’s absorption of Serotonin. This allows more of the feel-good chemicals to remain in the body to boost mood. Mood-stabilizers help stabilize mood and fight depression and anxiety.
Ongoing Counseling is Recommended For Those With A Dual-Diagnosis
Someone who has a problem with addiction can go to 12-Step meetings and work a program of recovery. However; someone who also has a mental disorder needs to go to meetings and pursue counseling. While 12-Step meetings are an effective means for addressing issues of addiction, they are not a proper place to work through bipolar, depression, and anxiety.
Someone with a mental health disorder should talk to a licensed therapist who specializes in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. This way, they can learn tools needed to manage the problems that arise from their individual situation.
Support Groups Are Especially Effective In Treating Those With Mental Health Disorders
There are support groups happening all over the country for people who have certain mental health disorders. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is an excellent resource to find groups in your area. In these groups, people are able to connect with peers who also have the same mental health diagnosis in a loving, non-judgmental environment. This allows people to share their experience with one another and offer tools to each other learn to cope with their specific disorder.
There are also dual-diagnosis groups so that people who are struggling to recover from addiction and learning to manage mental health symptoms can support each other.
Getting Help For A Co-Occurring Disorder
If you have a co-occurring disorder and you want to get help for your substance abuse problem, you should choose a treatment facility that specializes in the treatment of mental health disorders and chemical dependency. You simply cannot treat one aspect of this condition and not treat the other. Rehabilitation facilities that simply treat chemical dependency and do not address the mental health disorder are only dealing with half the problem.
Some people are claiming that salvia is harmless. Realistically, no mind altering chemical is harmless when there are people willing to abuse it. What we know is people believe it carries very low risk of being toxic. The salvia drug is also not deemed to have abuse potential.
The state of Delaware would disagree. In 2007, a teenager committed suicide while on a salvia trip. Known as “Brett’s Law,” salvia has been classified as a schedule I controlled substance in Delaware. In 2007, the DEA took measures to put salvia on the “drugs of concern” list. In 2010, the NDIC made it public that 37 states were trying to regulate the sale and possession of salvia. It is currently being sold online, making it obtainable.
Some advocates for salvia believe there’s more good than harm involved in taking it. The DEA believes that it poses a risk to people who use it. Regardless of drug healing claims, there are risks that should also be acknowledged.
What Exactly is Salvia?
Salvia is a natural psychedelic drug with the active ingredient being “Salvinorin A”. It derives from a plant that is a part of the mint family. Salvinorin A is a KOR agonist which is the kappa opiate receptor. The KOR is what controls our perceptions. It activates certain parts of the central nervous system, creating an alternate reality when taken. A study with rats showed that salvia increase dopamine levels also.
Drug Healing Claims of Salvia
Scientists have been trying to prove that mind altering drugs would be useful for therapy for decades. There is the belief that hallucinogens could treat problems like drug addiction, chronic pain and depression. That being said, the FDA and pharmaceutical companies do not agree. Science doesn’t receive funding to try to prove that natural psychedelics have healing capabilities.
People talk about sacred experiences and alternate worlds that improved their lives somehow. Alternatively, you have disturbing videos online of salvia where people are panicking during the high. There was a New Yorker who actually shot himself in the face after administering the drug on himself.
Another study on rats headed by Thomas Prisinzano at the University of Iowa found that salvia might be helpful with addiction. The study gave the rats’ access to cocaine and also to Salvinorin A. It caused them to stop using the cocaine. It’s studies like this that make one think it’s possible there are some healing capabilities.
Scientists believe that salvia could be useful for Alzheimer’s, depression, schizophrenia, chronic pain and even AIDS or HIV. All said and done, whatever benefits there might be, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove any of it’s true. Medical claims are unapproved and the likes of the FDA and DEA are concerned about the potential for abuse.
Risks During Salvia High
Some might say that salvia comes with no risks but as people are all different, it is going to pose a risk for some users. Everyone is affected by salvia differently based on their body weight, their personal body chemistry and whether they’re mixing with alcohol or other drugs. As salvia affects the brain’s limbic system and function, people can lose sense of reality. The effects are often instantaneous with users.
Many salvia users know well enough that they will be so out of it that they require a sitter. When the euphoric feelings kick in, the user will go into a sleepwalking experience. There have been reports of people hurting themselves. There is a risk of getting hurt as they run into things or knock things over. The mental impairment from salvia is extreme. It is actually recommended that a person doesn’t drive for up to 8 hours after being high on salvia.
Physical Impairments During a Salvia High
The psychoactive side effects of salvia cause people to pass out or become incapacitated until the drug wears off. People have said they see visions or lights in a bazaar slow motion way. People on a salvia high have said they could only move one side of their body. The other side wouldn’t function.
The most terrifying side effects happen when the drug starts to wear off. The user may thrash around to the point you think they’re having a seizure. They might run into walls at fast speeds but they are unable to feel it. After they have come down, users usually don’t have any memory of the high or what actually happened during that time.
Potential of Salvia Addiction
Advocates will adamantly say that salvia is extremely safe to use and completely non-addictive. There is no proof that salvia is addictive but at the same time, users will try it over and over again. Addiction treatment professionals and drug experts compare salvia to drugs like PCP, cocaine and heroin.
The theory is that when there is a good drug experience that causes euphoria, it can become a dependency. Salvia interacts with some opioid receptors in the brain differently than other drugs. It has been under-researched and with nothing to compare it to, it’s hard to know if it is addictive. There are reports that when a person’s brain gets accustomed to a drug, more is required to achieve the same effects. The other concern is that when salvia is used with other substance, it can cause a cross-tolerance to all drugs involved.
The Hallucinogen Effect of Salvia
Salvia divinorum is a psychoactive component that creates a hallucinogenic effect. It is the most potent of any kind of natural hallucinogen. Here are the effects that users may experience:
A sense of floating or flying.
A belief that you’re traveling through space.
You may feel as though you’re twisting and spinning.
There can be either a heaviness or lightness of the body.
You may feel sore for no reason.
Some have said they see visions of a woman. This is believed by the Mazatec’s to be the incarnation of the Virgin Mary.
Fast and intense mood swings.
Feeling the need to isolate yourself from others.
A detachment from your surroundings.
An alternate visual reality. You may see strange things while your eyes are closed.
Strange perceptions of what’s going on around you and what’s happening to you.
Adverse Side Effects of Using Salvia
When a person is on salvia, they often have “out of body” experiences. This can cause users to laugh uncontrollably. They see, hear, and feel things that aren’t there. Here are some of the physical adverse side effects when taking salvia:
Short term memory loss.
Failure of motor skills.
Psychiatric Dangers when Taking Salvia
NIDA has reported that because of salvia’s effects on the brain, the brief hallucinogenic high can mimic psychosis. It’s been found that salvia can invoke a relapse of mental illness in those who have suffered from it in the past. Panic attacks have been re-triggered. There have been relapses of schizophrenia and borderline personality traits.
This has causes thoughts of suicide, caused depression, and have turned caused people to fight or uncontrollably cry. Anti-social behaviors may ensue as the user becomes very afraid of their surroundings. Most of these side effects occur when salvia has worn off.
This can cause symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, depression, anti-social acts, fighting, anger and uncontrollable crying to surface. Most symptoms are reported to subside once the salvia wears off but in some it can trigger psychosis due to certain memories or parts of the brain being stimulated by the drug.
How People are Using Salvia
Salvia has been used in ancient medicine practice by Mazatec Indians. Salvia derives from a leaf that they call, “Herb of Mary, the Shepherdess.” In their culture, they believe the plant is the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary. In their culture, they have shamans who make a tea from the leaves for use during religious ceremonies.
They also roll the leaves into the shape of a cigar. The suck it or chew it but don’t swallow the leaf which allows the drug to be absorbed into the mouth and into their bloodstream. The reason for this is the active ingredient, Salvinorin A deactivates once it hits the stomach.
People using recreationally will usually inhale the drug through a hookah. It can be smoked in cigarettes or they might just chew the leaf. It is infused into drinks, vaporized or inhaled. When smoked, effects will happen almost immediately and last up to 30 minutes. When taken orally, the hallucinogenic effects are milder, takes longer to kick in, but will last longer. Between 1-3 hours.
Salvia Isn’t a Safe Alternative for a High
Some believe that salvia can do no harm. It’s natural so users argue that it’s safer than illicit drugs. Some are even terming it as a “legal high” because it’s not banned in the US. Salvia is often marketed as “natural” with the claims that they’re herbal and may come from plants. The reality is salvia is a potent hallucinogen.
The Journal of Emergency Medicine has reported that salvia negatively affects the neurological, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems. The DEA has specifically listed it as a drug of concern because of the high potential for abuse.
When someone gets high from salvia, they will experience an alternate reality, not perceiving things as they are. This can come with serious consequences because you’re not truly in a realistic state of mind. There is a risk of losing control over body movements along with deep fears through a bad trip of salvia.
Salvia Currently Has no Medical Use in the United States
The FDA has not approved the saliva drug for any type of medical use. There are research papers that hypothesize salvia has properties that can help chronic pain, depression and some types of dementia. It is theory based with no real proof. The FDA currently does not believe that salvia should even be an ingredient in medications.
While there are claims that salvia can help treat addiction or mood disorders, there is nothing to prove this. Traditional addiction therapy has been proven to be effective where hallucinogen use can turn into further drug abuse. There are risks of being injured or bringing up past mental disorder symptoms.
Salvia may be a natural plant that has been used in ceremonies for centuries. That doesn’t make it an acceptable method of getting high. No official organization is condoning the use of salvia or any other hallucinogen to improve mental health. . The scary part is that it’s not illegal and easy for teens to get their hands on. With so little information on what salvia does to the brain and long term effects, neither the advocates or the opposing side have been proven right or wrong. May states want it to be banned for that reason but so far, it’s a grey area.
Cell phones are a part of our lives now. Statistics from Spain show the cell phone is 108.5%. This equates to more than one cell phone per person. The age of cell phone usage is becoming younger all the time too. As of 2015, 30% of kids that were 10 had a cell phone. For 12 year olds, it’s 70%. Toddlers that are between the ages of 2-3 are given their parents cell phone as a form of distraction.
To say that we overuse and abuse cell phones is a given. Is it addictive? Some believe that it is though cell phone addiction doesn’t hold all the attributes of other substance addictions necessarily. We will explore the nature of the brain in regards to its dependency on cell phone usage.
Behavioral Problems Connected to Cell Phones
Data has shown that cell phones cause behavioral problems and even disorders. This is especially true for adolescents. New pathologies are being created due to our dependency on cell phones. Here are some of the conditions:
FOMO-Fear Of Missing Out. The fear that when you don’t have your cell phone, or the internet isn’t available, you are missing out on things.
Textaphrenia and Ringxiety-A false sensation that you have gotten a text or call. You will run to your phone and chronically check it.
Textiety-Anxiety provoked by a need to get your text and respond to them right away.
Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Cell Phone Addiction
Symptoms of overusing your cell phone can be quite uncomfortable. When someone can’t put their cell phone down even though it’s causing physical and psychological symptoms, this is a sign of addiction.
Rigidity and pain in the muscles.
Computer vision syndrome (fatigue, dryness of the eyes, blurry vision, irritation, reddened eyes.
The sensation that you’ve heard your phone ring or felt a vibration.
Pain and weakness in areas that work the most while using a cell phone like your fingers or wrists (also known as Quervain’s tenosynovitis).
Signs that Show Cell Phone Addiction is Possible
The diagnostic criteria of the DSM is a plausible form of proof that cell phone addiction is not an overstatement. Keep in mind that there is both physical and psychological addiction. The issues that have occurred with cell phones include:
Consciously using your cell phone in dangerous situations. There was an instance where two people were standing on a cliff taking a selfie, and fell to their death in the process. In general though, people driving while on their cell phone is prevalent.
Social and family conflicts and confrontations because of cell phone use.
Loss of interest in other activities.
Despite negative effects and malaise, behavior of using cell phone continues.
Cell phone usage takes precedence over physical, mental, social, work, and family.
Cell phone addict will prefer cell phone to personal contact.
Frequent checking of the cell phone.
Sleep disturbances and insomnia.
A pattern that may ensue is excessive use, a sense of urgency, abstinence, withdrawal or craving with difficulty controlling the problem.
Tolerance-Increase of use to feel satisfied or relaxed. Also to counteract a dysphoric mood by trying to feel a sense of connection.
Anxiety from Cell Phone Use
When a person is suffering from cell phone dependence, they will feel anxiety for a variety of reasons. When they can’t text or check social media, they become tense. If they send messages to people and don’t get a response back, this is also a basis for anxiety. Anxiety also occurs with the apps that the phone has on it.
Facebook can cause an ebb and flow of emotional highs and lows. A study found that when there is social support and connectedness on social media, there are lower levels of anxiety and depression. Negative or no interaction can cause a sense of lower self-esteem and general dissatisfaction of life.
The Pressure on Apple
You know there’s an issue when people are pressuring Apple to do something about accessibility to their cell phones. Mark Love developed something called the “Be Present Box.” It’s a wooden box used to restrict technology at specific times of the day. The product has been popular on the market but it’s still not enough to protect kids and adults alike from cell phone overuse and addiction.
People are turning to Apple to help give parents better tools to ensure their children use products for the better. Shareholders are actually looking to Apple now to make necessary changes because in the end, they are looking out for their investment. When we can liken cell phone addiction to that of cocaine addiction, this is not good for any brand.
What Cell Phone Addiction is Doing to Kids
Over half of parents who were surveyed in a study about cell phones say their children were attached to it. Cell phone over usage is causing higher levels of obesity, a decrease in attention spans and higher rates of depression.
The ugly reality is that giving children your cell phone is said to be like giving them a gram of cocaine in terms of adopting addiction. Addiction therapists say that spending time on Snapchat or Instagram is just as addictive for teens as any form of drugs or alcohol. Technology addiction and adolescent development is a very real situation that is hitting epic proportions. Experts in the field certainly believe that cell phone addiction should be treated like any substance or drug addiction.
Cell Phone Dependency is a Behavioral Addiction
When we think of addiction, we think of drugs or alcohol. What addiction actually is defined to be is a pattern of behavior that manifests in various ways. Food obsessions, self-mutilation, and gambling are all examples of this. Certainly cell phone addiction is also falling into the behavioral addiction category.
Studies agree that the cell phone problem would sit in the spectrum of behavioral addiction. It is in company with shopping, internet, videogames, and online porn addiction. Before the cell phone addiction problem, there was a lot of research done on the other behavioral addictions like online sex and videogames.
Substance Addiction vs. Cell Phone Addiction
Regardless of the repercussions, people will continue to use say the experts. This is what likens it to drugs, alcohol and there is a close similarity to smoking addiction. Substance addiction shows a more acute change in the person’s life. It is a very distinct moment when the person crosses over from abuse to addiction. It’s much easier to detect the interferences that go on in everyday life.
It is hard to determine where problems come from when it comes to behavioral addictions. It could be problematic behavior, personality traits, or psychiatric comorbidities. There could be a biological occurrence that causes behavioral addiction. Dopamine agonists may provoke behaviors in a person that previously weren’t there.
Dopamine and Cell Phones
Dopamine is what controls our “pleasure” systems in the brain. It’s what allows you to feel happy, enjoyment and pleasure. It causes you to seek out behaviors that feel good (but aren’t necessarily good for you when taken in high doses. Drugs and food are examples of pleasurable items but make no mistake, it is also prevalent in exercise and texting.
Dopamine drives you to really want things that give you pleasure. When you do find something, you constantly look to see it out. As time goes on, you build a tolerance to the pleasure. Dopamine is designed to motivate us to learn, navigate the world safely, and survive. It makes us curious and fuels our desire to seek out information.
The Opioid System and Cell Phones
Now, the opioid system is actually the reward system and what gives you the signal that it likes what’s happening. They work together with the wanting dopamine system propelling the liking system. When you find something you like, you can stop seeking for a while.
If you don’t take a break from seeking, it can start to become a problem. The dopamine system is more dominant than the opioid system so we do tend to look for satisfaction more than feel it. This has a lot to do with why opioid drugs like heroin are so addictive. Cell phones offer a constant stream of instant gratification. This is where you fall into a dopamine induced loop. Everything you want is instantaneous. Dopamine gets you looking and you get rewarded. You seek more. This is why you obsessively check emails, texts, or social media.
Exhibiting all Signs of an Addiction
There is evidence coming to light that the cell phone and all its apps and functions is prone to abuse. Addiction is abuse without having any control. Moods is altered, there is tolerance, periods of abstinence, and a tendency to relapse.
In the brood term of addiction, there has to be the possibility of getting hooked on behaviors that worsen over time. A person loses control and has a hard time avoiding the behavior regardless of how it’s negatively affecting them.
Addiction clinics in the US and around the world are beginning to treat patients for cell phone addiction or activities relating to cell phone use. There has been a strong call to action for greater awareness of the dangers of cell phones.
Like any addiction, it is deadly when abused. The person who drives while texting because they can’t stop puts themselves and others in jeopardy. There is a growing need to professional help in our society to help those who can’t walk away from their cell phones.
Smack. Dope. Mud. Horse. Skag. Junk. Black tar. Heroin comes with many street names. It is a highly addictive drug. Over the past three years, heroin overdose deaths have been rising. According to the Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), there has been a 39% increase of heroin related deaths in the past decade. There are various reasons for the increase, one of them is the failure to address tell-tail signs of heroin use.
Heroin addiction comes with a stigma and if a user doesn’t match it, they could go under the radar. Loved ones may not pay attention because the user didn’t fit the profile. Thanks to the opioid epidemic that has taken place in the US, the average Joe has turned to heroin on the streets to manage their opioid addiction.
There is no more important time to understand the telltale signs of heroin addiction. We are going to examine all the different ways you can tell if someone is using heroin and the signs of addiction. A heroin addict will do their best to hide it. Knowing these signs can help you identify if someone you love is addicted to heroin.
New Users of Heroin
Your new heroin abusers are likely already hooked on heroin. Heroin is an extremely addictive drug with just one hit to be enough to create dependence. The new heroin abuser will be able to avoid detection for some time because the body and mind don’t show recognizable signs right away.
Early Stages of Heroin Addiction
Many first time users are going to administer heroin in an undetectable way. It’s rare that a first time heroin user will stick a needle in their arm. Instead, they will sniff, snort or smoke it. Most people will look for track marks on a person’s body as an indication of heroin use.
Their skin and eyes have very little indication that health is being jeopardized. Here are some of the symptoms of the very early stages of heroin addiction.
1 An increasing need for more privacy
The new heroin user will start to exhibit changes in character. This usually includes secrecy or a need to be alone more often.
2 Drug paraphernalia in trash baskets
Best spoons, razor blades, tin foil, and pipes may be some of the items that end up in the garbage.
3 Rapidly running out of money
The new heroin user will quickly start spending a great deal of money. They will probably ask to borrow money from you or start selling their things.
4 High usage of deodorizers
One of the early signs of heroin abuse is the use of incense, room deodorizers or perfumes. This is in an effort to get rid of any incriminating odors related to heroin use.
Signs of Someone on Heroin
It is when someone is actually on heroin that they have a hard time concealing their reality. Heroin is an extremely powerful narcotic that hits the user’s brain instantaneously. This is what makes it so addictive and also gives loved ones sure signs of heroin use. It might also be helpful to look at a heroin quiz to get insights of symptoms. The most common signs include:
5 A sedated appearance
When heroin, also known as black tar, skunk and dragon enters the brain, it activates receptors that will then release the chemical dopamine. This is where the feelings of euphoria and pleasure come from. The rush sends numbness through the body as it flows through the blood. The central nervous system is depressed so someone on heroin won’t feel pain. The heart is depressed and breathing is shallow. All of this results in a sedated appearance that is hard to ignore.
6 Flushed Skin
Someone on a heroin high will have unhealthy looking skin. This is because heroin lowers your blood pressure and heart rate. Skin doesn’t receive the maximum amount of blood supply it should so instead of it looking radiant, it will appear yellow and aged.
7 Euphoria, Incoherence, and ill feelings
If the heroin addict in your life is smart enough, they will never let you see this side in them. If you do happen to notice a sequence of euphoria, followed by incoherence, this is an obvious sign of heroin use. Angry ill feelings may ensue also because they are agitated as soon as heroin leaves their system.
8 Vomiting and nausea
The body will become ill from the lack of heroin due to the high dependency that comes with using. If someone you love is often sickly, this is one of the telltale signs of heroin addiction. “Chasing the dragon” was a term coined for those hooked on heroin. They run from the symptoms to heroin, the dragon.
9 Slowed respiratory rate
Symptoms of heroin abuse include a lower respiratory rate. This is due to the central nervous system being depressed from the drug. This side effect of heroin abuse is often what causes a heroin overdose. The heart just stops beating as the user sleeps or passes out. Heroin addicts are at risk of dying in their sleep.
10 Severe drowsiness or constantly nodding off
Again, due to the central nervous system reacting to heroin’s effects, someone will have a hard time staying conscious while on heroin. The drug relaxes the body, causing drowsiness which can make someone nod off periodically throughout their high.
Physical Signs of Heroin Abuse
Once you’re able to see the physical signs of heroin abuse, the person has become well addicted. The skin has lost its luster due to lack of oxygen. Heroin addicts will often go through long periods of time not eating. They don’t eat nutrient rich foods when they do eat and that causes changes in the addict’s appearance. Heroin recovery will require treatment at this point because the dependency is too high to try to manage it alone. Here are some of the physical signs that are connected to heroin abuse and addiction:
11 Chronic lung issues
Heroin addiction takes a major toll on the lungs. It’s not uncommon for chronic users of heroin to end up with lung diseases. Pneumonia, tuberculosis, and lung abscesses are some of the risks that a heroin user faces.
Contaminants in heroin will go into the bloodstream and once they reach the lungs, they can clog the smaller blood vessels that would normally absorb oxygen from the lungs. The longer someone is using heroin, the more the lungs will deteriorate. Heroin addicts will exhibit this symptom which a persistent, hacking cough.
12 Rapid and sudden weight loss
Heroin can cause a dramatic decrease in appetite and weight. The change will be noticeably sudden. As the user’s appetite is suppressed, they simply won’t eat. They become so thin that it’s a health risk. Heroin addicts would rather spend all their money and time seeking out heroin. This is a true testament to how addictive the drug is. Part of the reason for weight loss is that they literally forget to eat.
13 Dry mouth
Someone chronically using heroin will lower their production of saliva. The condition is called hyposalivation where the body doesn’t produce as much saliva as it should. This gives the sensation of a dry mouth. It can be very damaging because saliva is what cleans bacteria from the mouth and teeth. When there’s a lack of saliva, teeth can rot and there will be sores in and around the mouth.
14 Visible Skin Problems
A telltale heroin addiction symptom is the unhealthy looking skin. This can include cuts, bruises and scabs. Heroin addicts pick at their skin and this is one of the exclusive traits of a heroin addict when compared to other drug addicts.
Heroin causes dermotillomania, a condition that causes an addict to repetitively do something to their body. It is often out of their control. It is usually prevalent in people with mood disorders like anxiety or depression.
It’s a psychological issue that can be found in many heroin users. Skin picking is something a heroin addict will do when they’re high or withdrawing. Heroin withdrawal causes anxiety and restlessness which can cause self-mutilation. They will often feel as though they are crawling out of their skin.
15 Snorting, Smoking, and Injecting Physical Symptoms
When an addict is snorting or smoking heroin, there are certain physical symptoms that will manifest. Someone who is smoking heroin will have sores on their nostrils or lips because they have burned and then irritated the skin in those areas. They will also have burn marks on their mouth or fingers. If a person has been snorting heroin, they will quite often get a lot of nosebleeds. For those who inject, they will have needle marks somewhere on their arms or legs which will be small bruises or little dots.
16 Extreme constipation
The article, ‘Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease’ illustrates just how prevalent constipation is in opiate drug abuse. Between 40 – 90 % of opiate users will experience constipation. Heroin addicts will experience the same clinical syndrome as those addicted to opioid. OIC is known as opioid-induced constipation. Those using heroin will experience the worst symptoms.
It will take a heroin addict extreme effort to pass a stool. This means that they may spend a great deal of time in the bathroom and exhibit frustration. They will likely complain of stomach pain and cramping regularly.
Behavioral or Personality Changes that are Typical in Heroin Addicts
The behavioral changes that a heroin addict displays are fairly obvious. Someone abusing heroin is going to lose a part of their integral character. They will likely change in drastic ways as though they’re going through a personality overhaul in the most negative way. Here are some of the behaviors that can indicate heroin addiction:
17 A lack of motivation and sense of responsibility
Someone who has become highly involved in heroin abuse is not going to be able to continue their normal routine. School or work performance will downward spiral. They will likely sleep a lot and not get out of bed for important engagements. They will have decreased motivation and absolutely no interest in doing anything, including activities they used to love to do.
18 Problems with Speech and Body Coordination
The brain will react to things quite slowly so their speech will become slurred. They won’t make any sense when they speak and will often mumble or garble their words. Their movement will be uncoordinated too as though they might fall over at any moment. They can become jittery in one minute and then nod off in total relaxation the next minute.
19 Erratic and scary mood swings
For the onlooker, a heroin addicts mood swings can be quite scary. They may become extremely angry and violent. In one minute, they’ll be totally apathetic and in another moment, they’ll be hostile. These moods will all come up when you pursue an intervention.
20 Deceptive actions
As mentioned, heroin addicts are some of the best liars when compared to how other substance abusers hide their problem. Heroin addicts are deceptive about hiding what they’re doing and they may also become thieves in order to get the money for their fix. They will lie to your face without a care and take valuable items. They will wear long sleeve shirts and long pants even in the middle of a heat wave to hide their needle marks.
21 Withdrawing from loved ones
A heroin addict is a shell of the person they once were. This is what the drug does to people. If you notice that a family member has completely withdrawn from you, it’s possible they are using heroin. Heroin is the only thing that an addict thinks or cares about. The person in your life that is a heroin addict won’t want to be near you and will avoid making eye contact. It will be hard to get through to them if you want to help them get addiction treatment.
Not so Obvious Signs of Heroin Abuse
Here are some signs that might not be a direct indication of heroin addiction. If you have noticed that someone is exhibiting a lot of symptoms on this list, you may want to watch out for these symptoms also.
22 Extra mileage on the car
When a person is addicted to heroin, they will often have to drive around looking for drug dealers in various places.
23 Missing opioid prescriptions
Opiate drugs are interchangeable. Obviously a heroin addict would rather have heroin but prescription opioids are a good replacement for them too. They are able to manipulate these prescriptions by crushing them and snorting, smoking, or injecting them. If you notice prescription pills missing that are opiate based, this might be a sign of a problem within the household.
24 Tiny orange caps and other physical evidence
Syringes come with a tiny orange cap that often gets forgotten about in the midst of a heroin addict using. Syringes may hidden in drawers but those little caps are often overlooked as a sign for the heroin user. There might be a lot of straws being used for both snorting and smoking. Empty plastic pen cases can also be used for snorting or smoking. Other things that might be lying around include water pipes, small plastic bags, razors, bottled water, rolled up dollar bills and small cotton balls.
25 Street slang names for heroin
Heroin has a variety of street names depending on where users are located. Knowing the alternate names can help you identify heroin abuse through conversations you may overhear.
Withdrawal Symptoms in Heroin Addicts
When a heroin addict goes through withdrawal, they will have strong symptoms. It is intense and painful for the addict so it’s fairly easy to detect that there is a big problem.
26 Severe stomach issues
When someone is doing heroin, they will have major constipation. When they withdraw, they experience diarrhea. Their limbs and stomach will cramp up also.
27 Severe pain
A heroin addict can’t hide the pain of withdrawal. They have aches and pains all throughout their body all the way down to the bones. This will often cause them to cry uncontrollably.
28 Flu like symptoms
Along with the body pain and diarrhea, they will sweat profusely and feel nauseous which leads to vomiting. They will have fever and cold sweats and it will be hard, if not impossible, for them to sleep.
Understanding Heroin Abuse
When you think of a heroin addict, you think of the likeness of a zombie. Incoherent, eyes rolling upwards, dark circles around the eyes, deathly looking skin and an overall gaunt appearance. This is the rock bottom heroin user that has already lost everything. They too were once able to hide the signs that they were abusing heroin.
Heroin hooks users in so quickly and because they desire it so strongly, they will do whatever they can to hide it. It’s been said that heroin addicts are the best liars and are the hardest to pinpoint as having a problem. They do everything they can to ensure that nothing comes in between them and their precious heroin. This is why recognizing the problem, staging an intervention, and getting the addict into treatment is so essential.
MAT versus ORT– what’s the difference and which approach is the right option for YOU?
The science of addiction recovery has changed in recent years. Now, addiction – properly calledSubstance Use Disorder – is NO LONGER considered to be a moral weakness or failing on the part of the alcohol-or-drug-dependent person.
Rather, science has identified addiction as a legitimate disorder – a disease of the brain. This recognition is good news, because when an SUD is treated as a medical condition rather than a personal failing, the chances of a successful and lasting return to sobriety are greatly magnified.
What is MAT?
MAT stands for Medication-Assisted Treatment, a strategy for combating alcohol or drug addiction that combines behavioral counseling with certain prescription medications. These drugs are given to:
Opioid Replacement Therapy—ORT—is also known as opioid maintenance or opioid substitution therapy. ORT medications are ONLY given to patients who are dependent on or addicted to opioid drugs such as prescription painkillers or heroin. The drug of abuse is replaced with a longer- lasting, less-euphoric opioid medication, typically methadone, buprenorphine, or Suboxone.
Since medications are involved, ORT is a subtype of MAT, but it is distinct, because it uses potential substances of abuse to treat a substance abuse disorder.
ORT gives opioid addicts an opportunity to gradually wean from illicit drug use while avoiding the worst withdrawal symptoms. The goal is to reduce the harm associated with uncontrolled substance abuse. In other words, ORT is an attempt to “manage” the addiction, with the following benefits:
Two-thirds of opioid addicts receiving ORT eventually abstain from illicit opioid misuse.
70%-95% significantly reduce their opioid use.
IV drug users can stop sharing needles, limiting the spread of HIV, AIDS, and Hepatitis.
Guaranteed quality and dosage.
Patients are encouraged to seek comprehensive drug treatment services.
Lower crime rates
Personal stability – Employment, school, relationships, etc.
The Key Differences between MAT and ORT
ORT is the controlled dispensation of other less dangerous opioids as safer alternatives to what the person is taking illicitly. It is important to understand that the primary goal of ORT is NOT necessarily total abstinence from drugs.
“Many people with addiction may not completely abstain from using drugs, but they will have better stability on social and health level by reducing the drug use (albeit not stopping completely)…” says Zena Samaan, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.
To be clear, ORT patients ARE connected to more comprehensive programs of recovery IF they desire to become completely drug-free. But because ORT is not abstinence-focused, many patients continue to abuse drugs, sometimes, for years.
MAT, on the other hand, is typically offered as part of a more comprehensive program of abstinence-based recovery. Whether residential or outpatient, alcohol and drug rehabs use a combination of behavioral counseling, MAT, and other supportive therapies to help patients achieve and maintain total and lasting sobriety from all addictive substances.
The biggest reason for the difference approaches lies in the nature of the medications themselves.
ORT medications are, by definition, opioids. This means that, even though they are safer than the drugs they are replacing (when used correctly), they are still habit-forming and therefore, present a significant risk of abuse, addiction, and even overdose.
MAT drugs are NOT opioids and do not carry the same risks.
To better understand these differences, let’s take a look at specific MAT and ORT medications currently use.
“It is important to emphasize that the chief value of Antabuse lies in the fact that it paves the way for psychotherapeutic procedures… Antabuse in conjunction with psychotherapy may prove superior to other methods of treatment of chronic alcoholism.”
~Drs. Eugene Barrera, Eugene Davidoff, and Walter Osinski, speaking to the American Psychiatric Association
Antabuse is the brand name of the medication disulfiram. First introduced in 1948, Antabuse works by creating an immediate, violent, and extremely unpleasant reaction whenever the patient drinks ANY alcohol – severe nausea, copious vomiting, throbbing headache, etc. For over 50 years, Antabuse was the first-line medication for alcohol addiction.
On the positive side, Antabuse demands total abstinence from alcohol. Simply put, a person cannot take Antabuse and drink. For a person who is extremely motivated and committed, Antabuse is powerfully effective. Some experts are of the opinion that when it is used in combination with other treatment strategies, it is the most-successful treatment for chronic alcoholism.
In fact, when the supervised dispensation of Antabuse is incorporated into a comprehensive program of recovery, successful abstinence rates reach over 50%.
But on the negative side, it also creates an extreme sensitivity to even trace amounts of alcohol. For example, certain mouthwashes, deodorants, colognes, medications, foods, and literally, THOUSANDS of other products can trigger a disulfiram reaction.
The required lifestyle changes are too complicated and difficult for some people. This is an important consideration, because Antabuse is a take-home medication. Frustration and a lack of supervision are why up to 80% of patients are non-compliant.
Part of the reason for poor compliance is the fact that Antabuse does NOT reduce cravings for alcohol.
The abrupt discontinuation of alcohol after long-term, chronic abuse can result in potentially-fatal withdrawal symptoms, especially during the first few days. During that time, benzodiazepine tranquilizers have proven benefits.
Of special concern, benzodiazepines are themselves highly habit-forming, and withdrawal is just as dangerous as that from alcohol. If a benzodiazepine dependency does develop, the best treatment is to slowly taper the dosage.
First approved for use in the US in 1981, buprenorphine can be taken under the tongue, as a skin patch, through an implant, or via an injection for the treatment of opioid addiction. Beginning in early 2018, a once-a-month injection will also be available. Buprenorphine is sold under the brand names Subutex, Butrans, Belbuca, and Buprenex, among others.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it activates the same areas of the brain as heroin or other abused opioids, but to a lesser degree. Because of this, it helps ease opioid withdrawal and drug cravings.
Subutex and other buprenorphine medications have two major drawbacks, however.
First, as opioids, they can also be abused recreationally.
Second, they are so tightly-controlled that only about 3% of doctors are legally allowed to prescribe them.
In use in Europe since 1989, acamprosate – sold under the brand name Campral – gained approval by the US FDA for the treatment of alcohol addiction in 2004. Acamprosate corrects the chemical imbalance in the brain that results from years of chronic alcohol abuse.
Primarily, the medication works by reducing the cravings and withdrawal symptoms felt when a person tries to give up drinking. Acamprosate is effective in maintaining abstinence from alcohol. Compared to patients given a placebo, twice as many acamprosate patients maintain their abstinence for at least one year.
However, it does not help a person BECOME abstinent. For this reason, acamprosate is recommended for people who have already achieved at least a few alcohol-free days.
“A positive treatment outcome depends on the patient functioning well – both socially and intellectually. If methadone treatment also impairs intellectual functions in humans, it could have a negative effect on the treatment result.”
~Jannike M. Andersen, the Norwegian Institute for Public Health’s Division of Forensic Toxicology and Drug Abuse
For years, methadone was the only option for people who were addicted to heroin or other opioids, first gaining approval in 1947. It is the most commonly-prescribed ORT medication.
But as new solutions are being developed, it is important to understand some of the many drawbacks of methadone:
It is an extremely powerful opioid – up to 5 times more potent than morphine.
It is highly addictive.
Methadone is itself a potential drug of abuse.
Overdose is a concern – in 2011, for example, greater than 1 in 4 opioid-related deaths involved methadone.
Even the FDA has stated, “Methadone use for pain control may result in death.”
Methadone maintenance is a long-term – sometimes lifelong – option. It is not uncommon for a person to be receiving ORT using methadone for years.
Some patients feel that they have no control over, or input concerning their own recovery.
Methadone shows up on employment drug screens.
Daily trips to the methadone clinic are inconvenient at best and problematic at worst, especially if the patient doesn’t have a vehicle or a license.
Overnight travel – vacations, business trips, family obligations – often become impossible.
Dangerous drug interactions can occur if a methadone patient is prescribed certain medications, particularly with benzodiazepines or other opioid painkillers.
Drinking alcohol while receiving methadone therapy can be fatal.
But methadone’s biggest shortcoming is this – patients can STILL continue to misuse opioids illicitly.
First approved in 1984, naltrexone is a medication that is used to treat both alcohol AND opioid dependence. Sold under the brand names ReVia (daily oral tablets) or Vivitrol (monthly injections), naltrexone totally blocks the effects of heroin, opioid painkillers, and alcohol.
This means that a person taking naltrexone cannot experience the pleasurable effects of any of these three substances. Significantly, naltrexone is an opioid agonist, which means that it binds to the opioid receptors within the brain and blocks the effects of all other opioids. Through this action, it also reduces cravings.
But naltrexone is NOT an opioid, which means it has several advantages over methadone or buprenorphine medications:
Use does not result in dependency or addiction.
It has no abuse potential.
Tablets are available as a take-home prescription.
Physician-administered injections are only needed once a month.
Can also be used to prevent cocaine relapse.
A recently-published study concluded that naltrexone is even better at preventing relapse than Suboxone. Other findings also support the effectiveness of naltrexone, particularly when combined with behavioral counseling.
In fact, compared to patients receiving counseling and a placebo, naltrexone/counseling patients:
Many more achieved opioid-free weeks, 90% to 35%.
More reported feeling less opioid cravings, 55% to 3%.
Were 17 times less likely to relapse.
Stayed in treatment longer, an average of 168 days to 96 days.
When MAT includes both naltrexone and clonidine, a blood pressure medication, 85% of patients successfully complete their prescribed rehab program.
Importantly, ANY physician can prescribe naltrexone – a major advantage over buprenorphine-containing medications.
There are only possibly-significant issues with naltrexone.
FIRST, patients must be detoxed and opioid-free for 7-14 days before commencing.
SECOND, while taking naltrexone, they may not use ANY opioid, not even legitimately-prescribed pain medications.
THIRD, monthly injections Vivitrol injections can be expensive if not covered by insurance.
Suboxone is a combination drug made up of buprenorphine and naloxone. The second medication – naloxone – is added as an abuse deterrent, since it completely blocks the recreational effects of all opioids. Because of this greatly-lowered (but NOT impossible) potential for abuse, Suboxone is increasingly used as a first-line option for the treatment of opioid addiction.
Unlike methadone, Suboxone is available as a take-home prescription.
The biggest drawback of Suboxone is its limited availability. Because it contains buprenorphine, only about 1 in 30 doctors are legally able to prescribe it, and federal law limits the number of patients in opioid recovery they are allowed to treat.
Also sold as Abstem, Temposil is the brand name for calcium carbamide. Very similar to disulfiram, Temposil causes the patient to be extremely sensitive to alcohol.
Because it blocks how alcohol is metabolized by the liver, patients were tempted to drink alcohol will experience a severely unpleasant reaction – nausea, uncontrollable vomiting, horrible headache, dizziness, etc. These effects occur within 15 minutes of taking a drink, and can last up to 24 hours, making Temposil a powerful behavioral deterrent.
The positives are identical to Antabuse –Temposil patients MUST remain alcohol-free to avoid the reaction. And, when the medication regimen is combined with comprehensive program of recovery, the rates of successful sobriety are high.
But the negatives are identical, as well. Alcohol sensitivity requires extreme lifestyle changes that go beyond merely avoiding drinking, and the medication does NOT reduce cravings for alcohol.
Other MAT Medications
As adjunctive therapies, other medications may be prescribed during MAT to treat any temporary withdrawal-related conditions from which the patient may be suffering – anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, seizures, etc.
Benzodiazepine anxiolytics/sedatives, muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, and blood pressure medications can be given to relieve symptoms common to most withdrawal syndromes.
What’s the Right Choice – MAT or ORT?
The choice between MAT and ORT depends entirely on two things – the drug of choice, and the patient’s goals in recovery.
The drug of choice matters, because addictions not involving opioids are not helped by ORT.
The patient’s goals matter, because if abstinence-based recovery is the desired outcome, MAT better supports that goal.
Likewise, if an opioid-dependent person is finding it difficult to remain completely drug-free, ORT may be the improvement that can at least give them the necessary clear-minded stability to take the next step –specialized treatment.
In today’s world, teen substance abuse is more of a serious concern than ever. Going into 2018, teenagers face challenges that did not exist a generation or two ago. For parents, it is not enough to just keep a watchful eye on their children. If you have adolescent or older teenage children, you now have to educate yourself about drug threats that were unimaginable when you were their age.
Luckily, for all of us, the National Institute on Drug Abuse funds a project that studies changes in the behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs of American young people in regards to substance use. This invaluable resource is known as the Monitoring the Future project.
What Is the Monitoring the Future Project?
In 1975, the MTF project began surveying high school seniors to “take the pulse” of young people to determine their attitudes and habits regarding alcohol and other drug use. That first survey involved approximately 16,000 students from 133 representative private and public high schools across the country.
Beginning in 1991, additional grades were added, and the total number of students surveyed increased significantly. Today, over 50,000 students from 420 schools take part in the survey annually:
8th graders – 18,000 students/150 schools
10th-graders – 17,000 students/140 schools
12th-graders – 16,000 students/133 schools
Of special relevance, the results of the MTF study are used to help shape the policy of the White House Strategy on Drug Abuse.
Specific Challenges Faced by Today’s Youth
Although young people have always experimented with intoxicants, there are a number of drug threats existent today that are beyond anything faced by previous generations. To paraphrase an old adage, “These aren’t your father’s drugs…”
Potent strains of marijuana that are far stronger than anything in the past
Legalized marijuana in many states
Concentrated marijuana oils and waxes
“Designer” drugs – ketamine, MDMA, Rohypnol, GHB
Synthetic drugs – “Spice”, bath salts, 2C-I-NBOMe, etc.
No matter how “good” or “responsible” you think your child and his or her friends are, the fact is that teenagers experiment with drugs at a much higher rate than you might realize. For example, just over 50% of high school seniors have used an illicit drug or an inhalant at least once in their lifetime.
But here’s the thing – the rates are also alarmingly high for the younger grades, as well – 37% of 10th graders, and over 23% of 8th graders have experimented with an illegal drug or inhalant.
Among 12th-graders during 2017, the drugs that were most reported for lifetime use were:
Alcohol – 61.5%
Marijuana – 45%
ANY illicit drug other than marijuana – 19.5%
ANY prescription drug – 16.5%
Amphetamines – 9.2%
Tranquilizers – 7.5%
Hallucinogens – 6.7%
LSD – 5%
Ecstasy – 4.9%
Inhalants – 4.9%
Among 10th-graders the 2017 results were:
Alcohol – 42.2%
Marijuana – 37%
ANY illicit drug other than marijuana – 13.7%
Amphetamines – 8.2%
Inhalants – 6.1%
Tranquilizers – 6%
Hallucinogens – 4.2%
LSD – 3%
Ecstasy – 2.8%
Cocaine – 2.1%
Finally, among 8th-graders in 2017:
Alcohol – 23.1%
Marijuana – 13.5%
ANY illicit drug other than marijuana – 9.3%
Amphetamines – 5.7%
Inhalants – 8.9%
Tranquilizers – 3.4%
Hallucinogens – 1.9%
Ecstasy – 1.5%
LSD – 1.3%
Cocaine – 1.3%
What do these statistics tell us?
The BIGGEST takeaway is how “experimentation” is skewing younger. Among the many sampled grade levels, the biggest jump in illicit drug use over 2016 was reported among 8th-graders, a +2.7% year-over-year spike.
Is Teenage Experimentation with Drugs REALLY That Big of a Deal?
It would be easy – and a mistake – to dismiss some of the MTF’s findings.
After all, some parents think, “What’s the big deal about young people experimenting?”
Most parents probably did something similar when they were younger. And, with the increasingly-legal status of marijuana, many parents may view casual drug use as a harmless personal activity.
But science has advanced since today’s parents were themselves teenagers. For example, a generation ago, addiction was not considered a legitimate medical condition. Today, it is accepted that it is a disease of the brain with identifiable symptoms.
Likewise, we now know more about how substance abuse physically changes the brain. Most importantly, we know that the brains of teenagers continue to develop until their early 20s. This means young people are at greater vulnerability to the damage caused by addictive substances. And the younger the person is, the more profound that damage can be.
Consequences of Teenage Substance Abuse
For example, look at some of the harm that “just” marijuana can do to a teenager:
Lowered IQ – Young people who use marijuana before age 18 suffer a permanent average loss of 8 IQ points.
Impaired memory – Daily marijuana consumption changes the shape of the hippocampus, causing 18% poorer scores on memory tests.
Marijuana addiction – Teenagers who use marijuana before age 18 are 4 to 7 times more likely to be diagnosed with a marijuana use disorder.
Potent Marijuana—A generation ago, the average THC concentration in marijuana was around 4%. Today’s strains can have an average potency of over 20% THC. Powerful marijuana “wax” contains up to 99.7% THC.
Current Teenage Substance Abuse Statistics Paint a Clearer Picture
While the statistics about lifetime substance use are important, it is even more critical to know which substances teenagers are using NOW. This is when the drinking and drug use has gone beyond mere experimentation and become a regular practice.
“Current” substance abuse is defined as usage within the past 30 days.
Among 12th-graders, these are the past-month usage rates for various substances:
Alcohol – 33.2%
Been drunk – 19.1%
ANY illicit drugs or inhalants – 25.7% of high school seniors – greater than 1 in 4
Marijuana – 22.9%
ANY illicit drug other than marijuana – 6.3%
ANY prescription drug – 4.9%
Amphetamines – 2.6%
Alcohol – 19.7%
Been drunk – 8.9%
ANY illicit drugs or inhalants – 18.1% – almost 1 in 5
Marijuana – 15.7%
ANY illicit drug other than marijuana – 4.5%
Amphetamines – 2.5%
Alcohol – 8%
Been drunk – 2.2%
ANY illicit drugs or inhalants – 8.6%
Marijuana – 5.5%
ANY illicit drug other than marijuana – 2.7%
Inhalants – 2.1%
Amphetamines – 1.7%
What do these statistics tell us?
Again, the most striking realization is how much substance use goes on in the lower grades. Almost as worrisome is how easily-available these intoxicants truly are.
For example, almost 53% of American 8th graders think that it would be “fairly easy” – and perhaps even “very easy”—for them to obtain alcohol. Over 35% have the same opinion about marijuana.
In fact, more than 1 in 10 report that they could easily get crack.
Let that sink in for a moment.
14-year-olds can’t drive, and they don’t normally have an outside job, yet over 10% of them say they would have no problem finding crack cocaine.
And that simple fact is why exactly we should all worry about the ongoing problem of substance abuse among American teens.
Changing Attitudes Drive Current Trends
One of the biggest realizations gained from the MTF report is how young people’s attitudes towards drinking and drug use have changed over the years. This goes a long way towards explaining why usage rates have begun to creep up.
Let’s take a look at how many students disapproved of substance use a generation ago, compared to today.
In 1991, 84.6% of 8th graders disapproved of someone even trying marijuana. In 2017, that disapproval had dropped considerably, to just 67.3%
Among 10th-graders, the disapproval trend went from 74.6% to 48.1%.
Among 12th-graders, it plummeted sharply, from 68.7% to only 39%.
In addition, the number of young people who view marijuana as potentially harmful is decreasing. In 1991, for example, over83% of 8th graders believed that smoking marijuana every day could negatively affect someone’s health.
But by 2017, that percentage had dropped to just 54.8%
This example is why marijuana use among teenagers shows the first significant increase in 7 years.
Richard Miech, the Principal Investigator of the MTF survey, said, “This increase has been expected by many. Historically, marijuana use has gone up as adolescents see less risk of harm in using it. We’ve found that the risk adolescents see in marijuana use has been steadily going down for years to the point that it is now at the lowest level we’ve seen in four decades.”
Don’t Forget the Human Cost of Teenage Substance Use
Think of the people these statistics represent. Take a moment and try to picture the faces of the real-life young people who are impacted by substance abuse.
These numbers mean that in every average-sized 8th grade classroom of 25 students, there will be two 14-year-olds who have drunk alcohol or used drugs recently.
In a 10th grade class, that number jumps to five 16-year-old students.
By the time they reach the 12th grade, that average, everyday classroom will have between 8 and 9 students who regularly use drugs or drink – 1 out of every 3.
If you really want to visualize the human cost of teenage substance abuse, pick up one of your child’s school yearbooks. Open it up to their grade. Now, go through the whole section and just take a look at the picture of every third teenager.
How many of those faces do you know?
How many are your teenager’s friends?
Was YOUR child among the group of pictures?
THIS is why adolescent drinking and drug use IS such a big deal.
Substance abuse is NOT an inevitable teen “rite of passage”. Even experimentation or casual recreational usage can quickly progress to dependence, abuse, and addiction.
Just as significant, there are other consequences to teen substance use:
Auto Accidents – 7-fold increased risk to be in an alcohol-related car crash.
Sexual Assault – 89% of victims self-report drinking prior to the assault.
Violence – Roughly half of both assailants and victims admit to using alcohol or drugs before the incident.
What Should I Do If My Teenager Is Using Drugs or Alcohol?
The most important thing to do is STAY CALM.
Your initial reaction and subsequent reactions can be the biggest factor in determining if your teenager successfully recovers.
DON’T ignore the issue. Addiction is a progressive disease that ALWAYS get worse.
DON’T take your teen at their word. Don’t listen to their promises, their begging, or even their threats.
DON’T try to handle this alone. Addiction is bigger than your family.
DO get help from professionals. The best recovery programs tailor services to address the addiction on multiple levels.
DO educate yourself about the disease of addiction. The more you learn, the more you know what you should—and should NOT—do.
DO stay positive and patient. Addiction can take a terrible toll on the entire family. If you feel anxious or depressed, find help and support for yourself.
When your teenager abuses alcohol, drugs, or inhalants, time is of the essence. But with intervention and treatment that addresses how their treatment needs differ from that of adults, the insidious progress of their disorder can be halted. Your child CAN recover and go on to live a happy and productive life.