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Crystal Meth Abuse Impacts Mental Health

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Three Ways Crystal Meth Abuse and Addiction Impacts Mental Health

Crystal meth is one of the most severely addictive and destructive drugs ever produced for recreational purposes. It is also one of the most widely abused. Meth gives users an almost godlike ‘high’ that makes them feel like they’re full of energy. Their mind is thinking faster, they’re moving faster, they feel motivated, capable, and in control. But then the effects of the drug wear off, and they’re left with only the memory of how they once felt. Now, we’ve all felt like this before. We’ve won a tournament, a sports game, had a major career success, heard some great news, or been excited about a new romantic relationship, and suddenly we’re awash with an amazing feeling that permeates throughout the day. Over time, this conditions us to seek out more sources of stimulation for that feeling; advancing in our career, training harder for sports, or wanting to be with that special someone. In other words, it motivates us. What happens when a very similar feeling can be artificially manufactured by a drug?  

Crystal Meth Causes Psychosis

Amphetamine induced psychosis is a result of excess dopamine being produced by the brain, and disruptions to the user’s sleeping cycle. It is accompanied by both auditory and visual hallucinations, delusions of reference (when you think radio or TV broadcasts are talking to you directly), delusions of grandeur and persecution, mania, and are generally accompanied by severe agitation. This can sometimes manifest itself as a belief that there are insects crawling all over your skin.  

Crystal Meth Damages the Circulatory System

crystal meth addiction and recovery pictureCrystal meth causes severe damage to arteries, blood vessels, and the heart. This can result in stroke, infarction, and even death. Meth causes constriction of the blood vessels, which makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood to various organs in the body. The heart has to work harder in order to do this, and the longer a user uses methamphetamine, the worse off the blood vessels are. Damage to the heart accrues over time and the resulting constriction is not reversible.  

Crystal Meth is Highly Addictive

Crystal meth over-excites the reward and pleasure center of the brain, understood biochemically in terms of dopamine. Increased dopamine is also related to psychosis, and in fact, antipsychotic medication aims to reduce the amount of dopamine to certain parts of the brain. The result is a substance that creates immediate demand, while simultaneously replacing the things in life that truly are rewarding. Furthermore, the dopamine center, which is artificially stimulated by the drug, inhibits the brain’s capacity to produce the drug naturally resulting in depression and anxiety, and an inability to experience joy.  

Crystal Meth Treatment

Treatment for methamphetamine addiction involves a detox period and residential rehab. Here, complications arising from prolonged use of the drug can be addressed by medical professionals, and patients often find that rehab allows them to meet individuals who are experiencing the same trials and tribulations in their life, that they themselves are going through. Because meth is so addictive and so destructive, inpatient rehab can often last up the three months, with outpatient rehab focusing on adjusting to life without the drug. The silver lining is that many folks do make this transition successfully, and learn to live happy healthy lives.  

If you, a loved one, or a friend is having substance abuse problems and want to get help, call us 877-723-1243. Viewpoint Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico can provide the help you need to get your life back.

Marijuana, Bipolar and Schizophrenia

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Marijuana, Bipolar and Schizophrenia

While most people are debating now whether marijuana should be legalized or not, and its therapeutic efficacy for various diseases like glaucoma and cancer, there is at least one disorder that it aggravates to an intense degree. Those are perception disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia that often have psychotic disturbances associated with them. For those of you wondering what that means, psychotic disorders are characterized by implausible delusions of both grandeur and paranoia. Sufferers might believe things that most of us would consider unlikely or absurd. They might see themselves as being on a special mission from a higher authority and the object of intense persecution from the powers that be. While in many cases no marijuana is needed to trigger a psychotic episode in folks with perception disorders not only will marijuana catalyze the process, it will reveal latent tendencies for psychosis, and render the medication used to treat psychosis ineffective.  

Marijuana is Doubly Addictive

marijuana and mental health pictureFirstly, let’s be honest. Marijuana, as far as recreational drugs go, is not going to ruin most people’s lives. Many can indulge socially or otherwise, still maintain jobs, and manage their lives successfully. But for those suffering from perception disorders such as bipolar type 1 or schizophrenia spectrum disorders, marijuana interferes with the amount of dopamine in their brain, creating too much. By contrast, antipsychotic medications that are used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar restrict and diminish the flow of dopamine to certain parts of the brain, which has been shown to ease the symptoms of psychosis. One thing that most people don’t understand about delusions is that they can be very seductive. If given the choice of believing that you were an individual who has a mental illness versus an individual who has superhuman gifts on a special mission from a higher power, which one would you choose? The delusion is fed for the same reason the drug is ingested, it makes us feel good, and it often isn’t until something terrible has happened, like the individual hurts themselves or someone else, that they realize that there is a serious problem.  

Treating Marijuana Addiction

While marijuana isn’t physically addictive in the same sense that heroin or opiates are, users of marijuana often indulge compulsively and become agitated or depressed when they don’t have it. When individuals have perception disorders, they’re often using it to trigger psychotic experiences that they understand as putting them in tune with a higher order of thought and consciousness. In that instance, it becomes very difficult to persuade users that it’s in their best interest to quit, and furthermore, they feel like taking the proper medication is an attempt by an antagonistic authority to rob them of their powers. This alienates them from family and friends who suddenly feel like they’re dealing with a totally different person. The problem with delusions is that they can be very dangerous to the person who’s having them. In many instances they hurt themselves and others. So treating the marijuana addiction alongside the underlying psychosis is a necessary part of the struggle, since the one often leads to the other. This is why many of the best treatment facilities have begun employing peer specialists who have themselves gone through the process of overcoming psychosis and marijuana addiction so that they can reach out to the individuals on their own wavelength. Marijuana may become legalized soon, but like any substances that change your perception, it can also be dangerous. Treatment can help.  

If you, a loved one, or a friend is having substance abuse problems and want to get help, call us 877-723-1243. Viewpoint Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico can provide the help you need to get your life back.

High-Achieving Students and Drug Use

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High-Achieving Students Using Pharmaceutical and Recreational Drugs

We have this stigma attached to those who use drugs, especially youth, that they’re part of some burnout culture that believes it’s better to drop out than to tune in. But the truth is that drug abuse and addiction is not confined to any singular cultural mentality, or subculture. The kids who focus much of their attention on school and life achievement are just as prone and susceptible to drug abuse as those who party and don’t care about school. That stigmatizing idea about youth often results in addictive behavior going unnoticed.  

Why High-Achieving Students Use Drugs

High-achieving students are under a great deal of pressure to perform at a high capacity for every quiz, test, paper, and presentation. They are burdened with the knowledge that college applications and the world they will be entering is highly competitive, and if they want to succeed they have to stand out. That means late nights spent studying, going the extra mile, and putting in the work. For some students, that also means using prescription or nonprescription drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, Dexedrine, cocaine, and amphetamines, and it often begins innocently enough with caffeine drinks, energy drinks, and over-the-counter caffeine pills likes No-Doze. High-achieving students with dreams of making it into big colleges with the best programs stay up late working on their studies. Their parents even encourage them to work as hard as they can. But they also want to be at their sharpest. They hear about drugs like Ritalin giving users more energy and making their minds sharper. They’re already drinking energy drinks when they study, so why not try Ritalin? They need every advantage they can get over their peers.  

What Happens to High-Achieving Students Using Drugs

student drug use pictureThe term “vicious cycle” is relevant here. The more a drug like Ritalin or amphetamines are used to accomplish the task of remaining sharp for exams and studying, the more difficult individuals who use the drugs find it to be “sharp” without them, and that is regardless of how sharp they really are. The use of stimulants sets a new bar for sharpness. Folks who use them to complete the mundane tasks of their work come to compartmentalize the use of amphetamines as a standard sort of “work mode.” Those moments when they are mentally fatigued, and finding it difficult to study are now associated with sobriety. They never meant for this to happen. But now their new default mode for working is being high on amphetamines, and the mental fatigue that happens naturally to everyone is associated with their sober moments. Many of the younger folks we work with at our rehab facility are high-achieving students who, like many baseball players in the Major Leagues, were simply trying to get an edge on their competitors. Parents with youth who are high achievers often believe that their children are somehow immune to the thrall of addiction, but the truth is no one is. So if you see behavioral changes in your kids and think they might be using Ritalin or other drugs to perform at what they consider to be a higher capacity, then it may be time to sit them down and talk about the dangers of these drugs, because how one succeeds matters too, and drugs like Ritalin that are taken by kids who don’t need it as a study aid, in the long run, will do more harm than good.

If you, a loved one, or a friend is having substance abuse problems and want to get help, call us 877-723-1243. Viewpoint Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico can provide the help you need to get your life back.

Mental Health and Addiction

Posted by Manager in addiction recovery new mexico, alcohol detox new mexico, alcohol treatment albuquerque, alcohol treatment santa fe, drug detox new mexico, drug rehab new mexico, drug treatment albuquerque, drug treatment santa fe, inpatient alcohol treatment new mexico, inpatient drug treatment new mexico | 0 comments


Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

There is a clear connection between mental health disorders and substance abuse. The most common example of this is the intention of patients to medicate the mental health symptoms that they find disruptive or uncomfortable by using alcohol and drugs.
  • The depressed patient who uses marijuana to numb the pain
  • The patient suffering from social anxiety who drinks to feel more comfortable in social situations
  • The patient who struggles with panic attacks and takes benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium in order to calm the symptoms or stop the attacks before they start
  • The patient with low energy and lack of motivation who takes Adderall, cocaine or crystal meth to increase their drive to get things done
When treating addiction problems, you’re talking about one layer of issues in a veritable onion of psychological and psychiatric factors. While treating the addiction may be the first step in the process, it is by no means the last step. Often the very factors that caused the addiction in the first place still remain after a patient has detoxed, so the trick is to discover those factors while they’re still in rehab, so they can begin the process of healing on their own, and rebuild their lives. addiction and mental health problems photoVery often it happens that addictive behavior is the result of an underlying compulsion. For example, people who have bipolar disorder or anxiety issues find it very difficult to fall asleep. So drugs that act as sedatives, marijuana, alcohol, or opiates help those with sleep disorders get the rest they need. Over time, this becomes a compulsion and a ritual. Soon, every night they’re drinking or taking drugs. Other folks who have social anxiety issues notice that the decreased inhibition of alcohol helps them relax and enjoy parties with friends. Over time they come to believe that if they want to have a good time, they’re going to need to booze up. The anxiety that they feel in social situations melts away, but gives rise to another anxiety in their daily lives. Soon, they’re medicating against that anxiety too. Paradoxically, the very thing that seems to be helping their anxiety - the alcohol - becomes the primary source of that anxiety. While the majority of people can separate their work and play without consequence, mental illness and psychological distress greatly lower the probability that individuals will be able to manage their weekend fun appropriately. When this happens, they lose control of the substance, and can no longer regulate their intake. Suddenly, their day’s activities are being regulated by and around their intake of the substance. When substance abuse and mental illness occur together, we call that a dual diagnosis.    

What can be done to help folks with a dual diagnosis?

The first key is taking them out of the current circumstances that they find themselves in and getting them into a caring supportive rehab clinic where they can safely detox. A good rehabilitation program offers more than simply just a place to detox. There are consultations with psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and group sessions, where folks with addiction disorders can share their stories and learn from one another. In most instances, anxiety, bipolar, and major depressive disorders can be treated very successfully. The issues that caused the addictive behavior in the first place can be addressed and controlled using medication prescribed by doctors, and not managed by the person themselves using street drugs. While admittedly these drugs are effective at temporarily keeping symptoms at bay, they obviously cause more problems than they solve. Folks who come to rehabilitation clinics with dual diagnoses can learn valuable coping strategies to manage their stressors without the need to self-medicate.  

If you, a loved one, or a friend is having substance abuse problems and want to get help, call us 877-723-1243. Viewpoint Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico can provide the help you need to get your life back.

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