Surviving Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Surviving Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Patient’s Guide to Healing, Treatment, and Recovery

Social networks can be wonderful tools to experience friendship, develop matrimonial relationships, learn about new ways of seeing things, and even for healing. One of the stories from a social network site concerned a woman who was engaged to a military man with a PTSD diagnosis. A month before they were to be married he shot himself. Now she continually struggles with anger and resentment for his leaving her here alone. Additionally, she has repeated this grief and anger process on the anniversary of his death every year for the last seven years. This is not an isolated story.

There are many people who have been affected by PTSD sufferers, and many did not know that PTSD was involved. A reasonably suspect PTSD case occurred for another social network site woman who nearly died from a surprise knife attack by her fiancée about 2 ½ months before their wedding after he had had only a couple of drinks and returned home. So being open and it is possible to listen to stories of the real world, as well as the make believe social network world.

A PTSD Survivor’s Treatment Overview

Social networks are about enjoyment so how do you begin the discussion of what PTSD is doing to your life or the life of someone you love. Here is a summary of what a PTSD survivor, who spent nearly six years in treatment, thinks people should know.

  • PTSD is not just a result of a bomb exploding in a war zone. People experience if from many other sources: multiple hits to the head from beatings or auto accidents, natural disasters such as lightening strikes or earthquakes for instance.
  • PTSD occurs because something happens that is not in the victim’s control, it is unexpected and generally unpredictable.
  • It seems that with PTSD, at least in some cases, the person’s brain structure is somehow altered because of the trauma and probably in the way it handles teh chemicals, neurotransmitters, already in the brain.
  • With PTSD there is an inability to handle emotional responses that previously had been managed easily or comfortably. These are important to understand because the indicate that effective treatment must include several approaches.

Why the Types of Treatments: Resting the Brain

Primary in importance, from this survivors’ perspective, is restoring the normal operations of the brain. This frequently means getting sleep to allow the natural healing and de-stressing processes to occur.

  1. Consequently, prescription sleeping medications can be given. There is goodness in having sleep, even from medications. First, it may help get some relief from the traumatic onslaught because you are asleep. Second, the thought pressure lessens after a good night’s sleep, even though the nights may be few and far apart.
  2. Next is the need to stop the recurrent feelings about a similar event occurring spontaneously, just like the one(s) that happened before. Here too medication can be very effective. In some cases specific medications are used as part of a PTSD protocol, but in certain cases, based on symptoms the physician may vary from the protocol and use other medications. The medication duration may be a few years, in others — some PTSD people have told me, their doctors talk about lifetime medications. The issue is not medication duration, but effectiveness. So take it.
  3. The main person for this story also used acupuncture to deal with stress, a vacation that included a cruise of several days, and vitamin and mineral supplements to replace what the medications were depleting.

Why the Types of Treatments: Retraining the Mind

  1. There is a need for counseling as well to understand the process and the experiences that keep sweeping over the person like waves on the beach. Medications keep the symptoms at bay, and the counseling can include guided imagery work to help address the hidden fear of helplessness and vulnerability resulting in dissociation and activities designed to change behaviors as similar sensations appear in life. For instance in an earthquake where the ground starts to slowly vibrate, passing trains and heavy trucks cause similar vibrations in the ground resulting in retriggering of the experience.
  2. Additional work can focus on the emotional components that flood through the person and leave no room for options. Some forms of cognitive intervention work that teach how to stop the flood, even for a few moments allows for initiating new behaviors and blocking the previously inevitable tsunami of anger, fear, self-loathing, and desperation that may lead to the PTSD horror stories in the evening news.

Hang in There: It will be Effective

Although this article is about recovery from PTSD and changing into a survivor, it is also about having people around you that care for you and love you understanding the complexity of the treatment process. It takes years to recover for both the victim and for the family. Even when the victim becomes a survivor, the family may still be held hostage to the memories of the PTSD before treatment started the turnaround. So family therapy is a good idea with a PTSD specialist for the survivor and the family members.

Social Anxiety Disorder Basic Facts

Social Anxiety Disorder Basic Facts: When Socializing is Terrifying

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that approximately 15 million adult Americans and many, more worldwide experience Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). This places it as the single most common chronic anxiety condition that exists. The disorder affects from people from all walks of life and in recent years, entertainer Donny Osmond came forward to announce that he has struggled with SAD since childhood.

Social Phobia Goes Beyond Shyness

Most people experience a degree of shyness when meeting new people or even those they are already acquainted with socially. With SAD, the shyness is extreme and exaggerated, causing the sufferer to feel very uneasy, on-edge or even panicky when he is in a social setting. The typical symptoms of anxiety will manifest when SAD sufferers are in the presence of people they are uncomfortable with, which is usually everyone outside of their immediate family and very close friends.

SAD Symptoms

The symptoms of anxiety experienced by people with SAD include the common ones which are feelings of panic and apprehension, trembling, an urge to escape, rapid heart rate and breathing, muscle tension, feelings of unreality (depersonalization and derealization) and dizziness.

The anxiety symptoms that seem to be more intense in SAD sufferers are feelings of embarrassment, blushing, dry mouth, sweating and feeling that others are judging them. Symptoms can vary among those with SAD, depending on how developed the disorder is. Some will experience symptoms even while meeting with only one person, while symptoms only manifest in others when they are in social settings with several people present.

Inappropriate Timing of the Fight or Flight Response

Research studies by mental health groups in regard to social phobia have found that most patients develop the disorder during childhood. Over time, learned behaviors develop that cause the “fight of flight response” to become triggered more often and at inappropriate times, when SAD sufferers attempt to be active socially. The anxiety itself is not an unnatural emotion but it is the timing of it that becomes disordered (not in the order intended). Socially phobic people have learned to recognize social events and meeting new people, as a threat to them.

Treatments for SAD

There are psychiatric therapies including those in the “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” category that help people with SAD, to change the way they think about social events and settings. They also learn to respond differently to the feelings and symptoms of anxiety, so that they can channel the energy produced by it into putting their best foot forward when meeting new people. It is a therapy that helps anxiety patients to react positively to anxiety, so that it works for them, rather than against them.

There are also medications that can be combined with psychiatric therapies when needed or taken as a single treatment, including anti-anxiety drugs and SSRI anti-depressants. People with SAD should also self-educate about their disorder because knowledge can become power to help them overcome SAD or to greatly diminish the effects of it (coping) in their lives.

Social Anxiety Disorder Problem

Social Anxiety Disorder: One of the More Prevalent but Lesser Known Mental Disorders

With mental illness on the steady increase, disorders such as Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder are becoming widely known. However there is another little known mental illness described by recent studies as the third largest disorder in the United States of America. The name of this disorder is Social Anxiety Disorder.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia as it is sometimes called is the anxiety of being evaluated negatively by other people. The fear of judgement experienced by a person with the disorder leads to feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment and humiliation. It also may result in Depression and substance abuse.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder produces feelings of anxiety when an individual is confronted with a social situation. There are acute physiological symptoms that accompany the disorder. These include:

  • heightened fear
  • blushing
  • rapid heartbeat
  • perspiration
  • parched throat and mouth
  • shaking
  • difficulty swallowing
  • muscle spasms

Situations Causing Distress in People With Social Anxiety Disorder.

There are a number of situations which cause distress in individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder. These may include:

  • Being judged by others
  • Meeting people for the first time
  • Being the center of attention
  • Being observed while doing something
  • Social encounters that involve strangers

Who is Affected by Social Anxiety Disorder?

Many people are affected by Social Anxiety Disorder. However it is slightly more prevalent in women than in men. Recent studies have shown Social Anxiety Disorder is the third most common mental disorder in the world.

Substance Abuse and Social Anxiety Disorder.

Individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs as a means of coping with the stress, low self-esteem and depression the disorder causes. According to Timothy J. Bruce PHD, in the article “Social Anxiety Disorder: A Common Underrecognized Mental Disorder”, a significant percent of patients with Social Anxiety Disorder have a dependency on drugs or alcohol. “Up to 16 percent of patients who present with Social Phobia have alcohol abuse problems” says Bruce.

Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder is often misdiagnosed as panic attacks or depression. This can make treating the disorder quite difficult. However when correctly diagnosed, a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and medication has been found to be useful in treating individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder.

Despite the prevalence of Social Anxiety Disorder, it is often misdiagnosed. Social Anxiety Disorder is however a very real disorder with specific symptoms. If the symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder are left untreated they can be crippling to the person with the disorder and often result in the individual avoiding all situations involving social contact.

The avoidance of social situations has subsequent, negative consequences to the social, work life and finances of the afflicted individual. However with the right medical help there is a good outcome for those with the disorder. Individuals who believe they may be experiencing the symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder should consult a health professional.

avoid tobacco during pregnancy

Two New Reasons to Avoid Tobacco During Pregnancy

Tempted to light up a cigarette while with child? There are lots of good reasons not to smoke during pregnancy. Now, new research adds to that growing list – giving women two more good reasons to stay away from tobacco during pregnancy.

Tobacco During Pregnancy and Behavior Problems

A new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics shows that women who smoke during pregnancy may give birth to children who have behavior problems later on in childhood. Specifically, they found that women who lit up while pregnant had a higher risk of an unborn child having conduct problems at age four and a greater chance of engaging in aggressive and rule breaking behavior.

Why the association? Scientists aren’t sure why fetuses exposed to tobacco in utero are more likely to experience behavior problems. It could be a variety of factors from the nicotine in cigarette smoke to the carbon monoxide – both of which can affect the brain.

Smoking During Pregnancy and ADHD

This isn’t the first study to show that exposure to tobacco during pregnancy leads to mental health issues in an unborn child. A Canadian study showed that women who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to have children with ADHD.

A more recent study came to a similar conclusion and showed that some unborn babies may be more susceptible to ADHD when exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb because of biochemical variations in their dopamine pathway – a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory, problem solving, and attention. Low levels of dopamine are associated with a higher risk for ADHD.

Dads Smoking During Pregnancy is a Problem Too

Another study showed that secondhand smoking from smoking dads can also affect an unborn child. When researchers looked at almost 7,000 children born to moms who didn’t smoke, but dads who did, they found kids exposed to secondhand smoke from dad were more likely to be overweight during childhood – as measured by a higher body mass index. (BMI). Most of these dads smoked daily during the time when the fetus was developing – exposing the unborn baby to significant amounts of secondhand smoke.

Tobacco During Pregnancy: The Bottom Line

This adds to a growing list of reasons not to smoke during pregnancy. Babies exposed to cigarette smoke while in utero are more likely to be born prematurely and to be of low birth weight, which increases the risk for complications. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals which can affect a growing baby; and nicotine constricts blood vessels which reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that cross the placenta to nourish the fetus. The take home message? Smoking during pregnancy is a bad habit all around.

cough medicine abuse

Cough Medicine Abuse: Why you might have trouble buying your favorite cough and cold medicines

Sudafed, or other medications containing pseudoephidrine, as you know, are no longer available on your drug store shelves. You have to ask for it from the pharmacy counter. A prescription is not needed, but you will be limited in the quantity you can purchase and may have to present ID for their log book.

READ the OTC Labels!

Pharmaceutical companies made choices with some of their products prior to this new law and some changed the formulas in their popular cold medicines. Check the labels on your over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to be sure. It will be listed in the active ingredients area.

Always read OTC medication labels carefully! Many contain the same medications, and you can easily overdose. Ask your pharmacist or health care practitioner for assistance.

Some Changed Formulas Quietly

If your “old favorite” cold medicine doesn’t work as well as it used to, check your ingredients. Chances are good that it contains a different formula. Pharmaceutical companies made these changes quietly and most of their packaging does not indicate an ingredient change.

Quantities Limited to Help Reduce Illicit Drug Manufacture

Pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredient in Sudafed, is a used in making the illegal street drug methamphetamine or Speed.

Dextromethorphan Being Targeted Now

Now, you may also find yourself limited in purchasing cough formulas containing dextromethorphan. Cough formulas usually designate this by using DM in the name such as Robitussin DM. You may also see it referred to as DXM. Not all cough formulas contain dextromethorphan which is a cough suppressant chemical.

Cough Formula Abuse on the Rise

A new trend is becoming a serious health issue mostly among teenagers who use the DM formula cough syrups to get high. In large doses, dextromethorphan can produced euphoria and hallucinations. Robo-tripping and Skittling are the street terms for this illicit use of cough syrup.

Read the Labels

Some cough medicines don’t use the DM in the product name, but contain it none the less. For instance, some of the popular “Night-Time” and “Day-Time” cough/cold formulas such as NyQuil and DayQuil have dextromethorphan in them. Some pharmacies now won’t let you purchase a bottle of each at the same time, nor more than one bottle of either medication.

It’s Not Just the Cough Syrup

Cough gels, liquid caps and cough tablets can also contain dextromethorphan. Coricidin is one that has been reported to be popular with those looking to get high from the drug, however there are well over 100 OTC medications that contain dextromethorphan.

alcohol abuse

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is a serious problem that has negative effects on people other than the abuser. In many cases, with any type of abuse, the abuser tends to think he is the only one affected. He does not think about the problems that his abuse is having on the family, the children, the community, or at work. Even if he understands alcohol is causing potential life damaging problems, breaking away from alcohol once hooked can seem too hard to handle.

What is Alcohol Abuse?

According to About Alcohol Abuse, “alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that can result in physical injury; ongoing alcohol-related relationship problems; the failure to attend to important responsibilities at school, work, or home;” and ongoing problems with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) during a year long period.

Signs of alcohol abuse or addiction include:

  • irresponsibility
  • blaming others for personal problems
  • using excuses as to why alcohol is needed
  • unable to go a few hours without a drink
  • emotional when no alcohol is available
  • ignoring friends, family, work, or school
  • constantly spending money on alcohol
  • fighting with loved ones over alcohol-related issues
  • constant alcohol-related incidents (DUI, DWI, other types of physical abuse, blackouts)
  • binge drinking
  • experience of shaking or twitching if not drinking (body going through withdrawal)

These are problems alcohol abusers often experience. However, alcohol abuse is not just a long term problem, it can be a potentially fatal short term problem as well.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is when a person takes in a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time. Teenagers and college students often become victim to binge drinking, not because they necessarily intend to, but because they do not completely understand how drunk they really are or how much alcohol is too much.

Statistics have shown that underage drinking is a large problem in the United States, and parents have a huge influence as to whether or not a child drinks. This does not mean the parent influences them or buys alcohol for them, it simply means parents may make drinking look or sound desirable while not meaning to encourage it. However, some parents may discourage it and a child may still do it.

Parents need to make it clear to children, as do many adults, that drinking alcohol can be fatal. Since binge drinking is a problem, talking about the effects of binge drinking is important. Young people need to be cautious, and understand that drinking alcohol (especially binge drinking) can cause physical, social, and mental problems, and may even cause death.

Binge drinking also has the potential to cause embarrassing moments, erratic behavior, blackouts, physical abuse, and accidents which could have been avoided. It can also lead to long term alcohol abuse, and to long term health problems.

Alcohol Abuse Damages the Body

Long term alcohol abuse can harm the body. Drinking over a period of time can cause damage to organs in the body, leading to transplants or death. The most common health problem related to alcohol is liver disease.

One form of liver disease caused by drinking is also known as, alcoholic hepatitis. The symptoms include discoloration of the skin, eyeballs, and urine, fever, abdominal pain. Excessive drinking will cause scarring to the liver (cirrhosis of the liver), and can lead to a liver transplant or death. Even so, if the drinking is stopped, it can be helped through medication or even reversed just by quitting drinking.

Pancreatitis is another problem that can occur from long-term alcohol abuse. The pancreas helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body, and is needed for proper digestion. There is really nothing that can be done for pancreatitis. The symptoms are extreme weight loss and abdominal pain. The ultimate result is death.

Heart disease and different types of cancer can be a result of alcohol abuse. Other problems related with long-term abuse include “irritated stomach lining and bleeding from stomach ulcers, nerve damage, loss of brain cells, epilepsy, vitamin deficiency, obesity, muscle disease, skin problems, infertility, and sexual problems.”

Overall, the bodily harm alcohol can do is not worth the risk. Medical attention is needed immediately if any of these problems occur, and the most important treatment is to stop drinking. With help from a doctor, from family, friends, co-workers, and other sources, it can be done. If this is not enough to cause one to stop abusing alcohol, perhaps taking a good look at relationships and social problems will help.

Alcohol Abuse Leads to Relationship and Social Problems

Alcohol abusers often drink to forget problems, or to avoid problems. Drinking is a way to escape, but in reality drinking causes more problems personally and really provides no escape from life. Every aspect of the drinker’s life is affected by alcohol, and her family life and social life will suffer at some point due to the unnecessary abuse.

Alcohol abuse, in worst case scenarios, results in physical violence. Alcoholics are not mentally aware of their surroundings when they drink. They drink in excess and the alcohol may cause them to hallucinate or act out emotions which may result in harm to others or themselves. However, some abusers may act out violently due to not being able to drink, from the problems the excessive drinking has caused, or use drinking as a cover up for their violent behavior.

In many cases, those who are on the receiving end of an alcoholic’s abuse turn to alcohol, causing them to become an alcoholic as well. Even if their spouse or partner is not an alcoholic, abused women tend to turn to alcohol or other substances to deal with the emotional and physical turmoil.

Children of alcoholics suffer greatly, and despite seeing what can happen, may turn to alcohol as a way to forget the problems. Children of alcoholics have to grow up fast, not enjoy what their friends enjoy, not get items they need, and live with the secret (or in some places a publicly known fact) of having alcoholic parents or family members.

Alcoholism can also cause the alcoholic to become a social outcast. Alcoholics often exclude themselves or are excluded (due to repeated alcohol incidents) because of excessive drinking. This can be devastating. It is bad enough to be an alcoholic, but to become a social outcast or feel like no one will pay attention is very hard.

Alcohol Abuse Help

For anyone who has a problem with alcohol, or knows somebody with a problem needs to seek help immediately. Stop drinking as soon as possible, and go to a doctor, get help from a family member or friend (who can help or find help effectively), or locate substance abuse and treatment facilities online through The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),” and start living a happier healthier life today.

stop addiction

Crystal Meth Equals the Devil’s Candy: Addicted to Meth? Stop the Cycle and Face Drug Rehab

Sometimes the only way to help individuals addicted to meth is to hold an intervention and help them face drug rehab.

It can be horrible for a person to watch a loved one suffer from the devastating effects of methamphetamine. From the very first time a person tries crystal meth, it begins to wreak havoc on their physical and psychological well being. Sometimes the only way to recover from being addicted to crystal meth is to begin drug rehab.

Crystal Meth Equals the Devil’s Candy

According to some individuals, they believe that crystal meth can be compared to the devil’s candy, for one small taste of this dangerous drug and it can begin to destroy a person’s entire life. Over time, a person addicted to meth will not only act like a completely different person, they will also look like they are suffering from a serious illness.

The drug often takes over a person’s body, causing extreme weight loss, body sores, acne, sunken cheeks and eyes. Over a long period of time, the hair and teeth of a person addicted to meth will also deteriorate.

Drug Rehab can Be an Addicts Only Hope for Recovery

Drug rehab programs are sometimes the only hope left for individuals addicted to meth. In order for a person to get clean and stay clean from crystal meth, the person must get away from the people and things that remind them of their drug abuse. This can be very difficult and this is why drug rehab is sometimes the only way to reach this goal.

According to Nick Hayes on a blog pertaining to Crystal meth addiction information, crystal meth is among the most dangerous of drugs nationwide. This one drug has the power to destroy relationships and take over a person’s life so quickly that family and friends often don’t even know what hit them. Family and friends are often forced to watch their loved one transform into a completely different person both physically and mentally.

The Long Term Effects of Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is often smoked through a glass pipe or crushed and snorted. However, this form of using crystal meth may not last, as many users turn to more dangerous ways of using crystal meth, such as injected it into their veins, for a stronger high. The long term effects of crystal meth can be devastating. Some of the effects are often permanent.

  • Permanent brain damage that often resembles Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Distinct facial disfiguration
  • Rotting teeth and gum disease
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Coma
  • Death

Start an Intervention to Help a Loved One Face Drug Rehab

If an individual is forced to watch someone they love suffer from being addicted to meth, sometimes the only way to help them is to intervene. This means gathering a group of people who want to help their loved one and planning an intervention. Have everyone take turns telling their addicted loved one how much it would mean to them to see that person face drug rehab and get clean.

It may even help if individuals show thier loved ones before and after pictures of themselves. Many believe that love can be much more powerful than any drug addiction. So for those who are watching a loved one suffer from being addicted to meth, it’s smart to intervene before it’s too late. There are many drug rehab programs that are highly successful at helping individuals reach sobriety.

Crystal meth is continuing to destroy people’s lives. The drug not only affects the person addicted to meth, it also affects everyone around them. In today’s world, there are so many helpful drug rehab programs that are saving one life after another. It’s time for addicts to stop the cycle and face drug rehab.

drugs and pregnancy

Methamphetamine’s Effects During Pregnancy

Inexpensive euphoria, energy, and weight loss are associated with use of methamphetamine, or speed. This highly addictive central nervous system stimulant sparkles before it is smoked, injected, or snorted intranasally, hence its nickname: crystal. Meth impairs judgment, memory, and reasoning and enhances sexual encounters. Addicts are at high risk for violence and sexually transmitted diseases. Unprotected sex may also lead to pregnancy.

Speed Crosses the Placenta

According to the March of Dimes, methamphetamine crosses the placenta easily and directly affects the developing fetus. Like tobacco, speed constricts blood vessels, raising blood pressure and depriving the placenta of circulation, which the baby needs to grow properly and withstand the stress of labor and birth. Meth use in pregnancy makes preterm labor and stillbirth more likely.

Low birth weight is defined as less than 5½ lbs., even if the pregnancy goes to term. Abnormally small head circumference is associated with learning impairment. Babies born prematurely and those with low birth weight can suffer from respiratory distress, feeding problems, and jaundice. The result may be developmental delays or permanent disabilities.

Crystal Use Effects Brain Development

Prenatal exposure to methamphetamine changes the structure of a baby’s brain. In a study published in the “Journal of Neuroscience”, UCLA researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examined the brains of 21 children ages five and older who were born to meth-using mothers. Compared to normal kids, the meth-exposed children had a smaller part of the brain called the caudate nucleus, which is associated with memory, learning, motivation, and motor control. Animal studies conducted at the University of Toronto seemed to confirm the neurodevelopmental effects of crystal meth. Scientist exposed pregnant mice to methamphetamine only once to produce impaired motor coordination in the babies that lasted for 12 weeks. The experiment was described in the f “Free Radical Biology and Medicine”.

Drug Abuse Can Cause Birth Defects

Records of the Hawaii Birth Defects Program were used to study infants with congenital anomalies born over a 16 year period to assess the impact of prenatal exposure to speed, marijuana, and cocaine. Methamphetamine use during pregnancy was correlated with a significant increase in heart defects, missing fingers and toes, and oral deformities such as cleft palate.

Improving Outcomes is Possible

Addiction changes the structure and function of the user’s brain; that is why it is referred to as a brain disease. The neurotransmitter dopamine is responsible for feelings of pleasure associated with behaviors such as being with friends, creative pursuits, falling in love, or playing with children. Crystal meth triggers dopamine release faster and stronger than normal activities, a strong reinforcement for drug abuse behavior. Over time, as the dopamine system continues to be hijacked by drug use, addicts become incapable of enjoying normal activities. The situation is reversible, but it takes months of hard work to overcome cravings and triggers. Social support, such as from Crystal Meth Anonymous, is needed.

Most mothers do not want to hurt their babies, destroy their families, or die. Fear and guilt about pregnancy may increase drug cravings, but it is important to know that stopping as early as possible gives the baby a chance to “catch up” and improves birth outcomes. Smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, or taking pills along with methamphetamine only compounds the danger. The fewer chemicals ingested, the better. Replace drugs with nourishing food, rest, and extra fluids. Ask for help; many drug treatment programs are licensed to treat pregnant women and will give this population top priority.

Crystal Meth

The Dangers of Crystal Meth: Crystal Methamphetamine Causes the Most Disturbing Side Effects

More stimulating than cocaine, crystal meth addiction is increasing.

Slowly becoming as popular as cocaine, crystal methamphetamine is one of the most stimulating drugs on the illicit market. Crystal meth is more stimulating than cocaine, and it brings with it more severe consequences. For those people who have succumbed to the crystal meth addiction, they suffer from numerous side effects in multiple organs including what is called “meth psychosis” which leaves the meth addict with delusions of grandeur.

Crystal Meth Effects on the Brain

Crystal meth is reportedly one of the longer euphoric highs from all the illicit drugs. Methamphetamine gives the drug addict a sudden feeling of wellness and happiness for six to twelve hours. Unfortunately, this feeling is not attainable with initial levels of crystal meth, so the drug addict needs to increase the dosage continually to get high.

The reason for the euphoric effects of crystal meth is its increased levels of dopamine release in the brain. Normal exercise and activity gives the human brain 100 to 200 more units of dopamine. In comparison, use of crystal meth gives the human brain up to 1,200 units of dopamine release giving the drug addict the most euphoric feeling of any other drug including cocaine. Unfortunately, after long term use, crystal meth destroys the dopamine release transmitters in the brain, so increased degradation of judgment and motor coordination is seen that is similar to Parkinson ’s disease.

Prolonged crystal methamphetamine use switches the euphoric feeling to psychosis and violent behaviors that leaves the drug addict in harm of himself and others. Crystal meth causes the drug addict’s brain to release epinephrine, or adrenaline, which is the body’s “fight or flight” hormone. The release is detrimental for the health of the drug addict and the people with whom he comes into contact.

Visible Side Effects of Crystal Meth

The signs in Las Vegas of the “Faces of Meth” victims are only too true for those who have been through the devastating effects of crystal meth. Crystal meth lowers the drug addict’s appetite which leaves his body looking worn. The sunken cheeks of a crystal meth addict are indicative of the poor diet from the drug. Crystal meth keeps drug addicts awake for days, and they feel no desire to eat. The poor diet takes a direct toll on their skin, hair, and especially the teeth.

The common “meth mouth” is because crystal methamphetamine lowers the secretion of the saliva in the mouth. The decreased amounts of saliva allow the acidic components in the mouth to chew away the crystal meth addict’s enamel in his teeth which causes them to rot and decay.

Treatment for Crystal Meth Addiction

If you believe your loved one is addicted to crystal meth, it’s imperative that you help him seek treatment. Crystal meth addiction is a serious disease that can cause numerous, irreparable side effects that need medical attention. Additionally, there is a psychological addiction that crystal meth addicts need to face, so they need the help of a psychologist to assist them.

teen addiction

Types of Drug Treatment Centers for Teens: Selecting the Right Rehab Center for Your Addicted Child

Once the family has decided to make an intervention in a teenager’s abuse, different programs include medical, mid-level behavioral, residential and correctional.

One of the hardest choices facing a family is the intervention and treatment of a teenager who has an alcohol or drug addiction issue. The adolescent’s level of addiction, attitude toward recovery and the family’s resources will help guide the family through the options of drug treatment programs available.

In making the selection, it is important parents keep in mind addiction to drugs and alcohol is first and foremost a medical condition. Other areas including social, educational and economic concerns may be critical in the treatment of the condition but they did little to contribute to the addiction. Therefore, parents need to make selections, free of guilt but guided by concern for the best interest of the teenager, within family resources.

The Centers for the Study of Addiction and Recovery in the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University suggests the following categories in its training curriculum of Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors.

Medical Condition and Treatment

Depending on how long the teen has been addicted to the substance, different levels of medical intervention will be necessary. This will need to be done at a hospital, generally a psychiatric ward or specific drug recovery program. The first step of treatment is known as detoxification. The goal of detox is to rid the body of the abused substance and allow the patient’s body to return to normal chemical levels. In addition, medication will be used to make withdrawal as comfortable as possible.

Short Term Behavioral Modification

These programs are designed to primarily detoxify abusers and introduce them to behavior modification recovery programs such as Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These programs are likely to be offered at any major hospital and stays typically last 3-7 days, depending upon the amount of medical intervention program. Expect costs to run between $500 to $1500 a day. Extremely motivated patients may succeed in recovery by immediately finding a sponsor in AA or NA and attending 90 meetings in 90 days. Long term efficacy is about 20% lifetime recovery.

Mid-Term Behavioral Modification Programs

In addition to short term medical program interventions, these programs include intensive patient education, behavioral modification, intense counseling and personal therapy and, again, introduction to AA/MA type programs. These are offered at specialty hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Programs of this type may last up to 90 days and costs vary widely. The National Institutes of Health maintain a list of accredited facilities.

Residential Programs

When extensive addiction has been present or when other modalities have failed, parents may need to consider residential programs. These programs offer services beyond short term and most mid-term treatment programs. Essentially, residential care is like sending your teenager to boarding school. Here teenagers will receive medical treatment, ongoing counseling, ongoing behavior modification, extensive AA/NA opportunities as well as educational services. Prices for these programs are prohibitively expensive for most families without the family taking out loans or second mortgages. Efficacy of successful treatment of these programs may be as high as 80% life time recovery.

Correctional Facilities

If your teenager has been convicted of a crime involving drugs or alcohol, it is likely the judge will be very interested in how the family intends to approach the treatment of the addiction. If the family has limited resources or if the adolescent has been in trouble before, the judge is likely to commit the adolescent to a correctional rehabilitation program with a sentence length in line with the level of crime. While it can be overwhelming of thinking about your teenager enduring correctional programs, they can be very effective. The teen will continue to receive medical, psychiatric, behavior modification and educational services.

Some schools and cities offer “scared straight ” classes for first time offenders where they are taken through the booking process of going to jail and are allowed to talk with inmates. This can be an effective deterrent for some teenagers.

If your teenager needs treatment, it is important to remember he or she has developed a medical condition. It is necessary to take time to select the right rehab center and approach. Universally, all programs offer medical intervention to detox the patient and then some type of behavioral modification. Rehab choices depend on the degree of the addiction, financial resources and whether or not the courts are involved in the process.