cocaine and meth abuse

Effects of Cocaine and Methamphetamines on the Body

Although users claim they experience different subjective effects from cocaine and amphetamines, in laboratory tests even the most experienced users could not tell the difference between the two drugs.

However, studies have found that methamphetamines may cause a higher rate of psychiatric illness than cocaine, according to Martin H. Leaman’s article in Psychiatric Services. Stimulants are known to cause sympathomimetic, anorectic, and behavioral effects. After chronic use for prolonged periods of time, users may also experience dependence, along with tolerance and reverse tolerance.

Sympathomimetic Drugs

Stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines are sympathomimetic drugs, meaning many of the physiological effects are the same as those during emotional arousal. Stimulants cause increases in heat rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and sweating. Blood flow generally decreases to the internal organs and extremities but increases to the large muscle groups and brain, according to Stephen A. Maisto in his book Drug Use and Abuse 5th Edition.

Anorectic Effects of Cocaine and Amphetamines

Cocaine and amphetamines also produce appetite-suppressant or anorectic effects. Amphetamines were once commonly used in diet pills. However, treating obesity with amphetamines is now considered questionable at best, reported Maisto. The anorectic effects from chronic stimulant use can cause dizziness and flu-like symptoms. Many negative effects are attributed to sleep loss and dramatic reduction of caloric intake, according to Maisto.

Mood Elevation and Stimulants

Stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines can initially produce a sense of elation and mood elevation. Users show increased talkativeness, sociability, alertness, and arousal. Stimulants also enhance performance of many physical tasks involving endurance, such as running and swimming. Physical strength may also increase. However, stimulants may also impair one’s ability to learn complex tasks and use reasoning, according to Maisto.

Cocaine and Amphetamine Addiction

Stimulants may also cause addiction. Although withdrawal from stimulants may not be fatal, tolerance and then eventually reverse tolerance may occur in chronic users. Evidence shows significant tolerance is developed to cocaine and amphetamines after continued use. Eventually, prolonged use causes reverse tolerance. Although cocaine and amphetamines have positive effects such as increased sociability, alertness, and physical strength, their addictive natures will eventually cause the negative effects to outweigh the positive effects.

Treatment for Cocaine and Methamphetamine

There are two major methods for treatment methamphetamine and cocaine addiction, the Matrix model and medications. The Matrix Model was started in 1984 by the Matrix Institute, according to the institute’s website. The Matrix approach uses a variety of outpatient techniques including lifestyle changes, relapse prevention training, education, family involvement, and a 12-step program.

There has yet to be a proven effective medication and cocaine rehab miami as well as methamphetamine addiction. However, various new medications have hit the market in the last few years. One of the newer medications is Prometa, which is manufactured by Hythiam. However, the company’s marketing efforts has been criticized for being too aggressive while lacking scientific proof of the drug’s effectiveness, according to an MSNBC article written by Kari Huus.

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.

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.

alcohol use

Alcohol Use in Diabetes and Prediabetes: Risks, Issues, and Effects

According to the American Heart Association there are around 59 million people in the United States alone that have what is termed “prediabetes”. While diabetes isn’t reversible, prediabetes can be reversed and never fully develop into diabetes with proper control and diet. It is where the blood glucose, or blood sugar, is still a little higher than what is normal but not so high that it is in the diabetic ranges yet.


Prediabetes is also the condition that is called IGT (impaired glucose tolerance) or IFG (impaired fasting glucose). These terms show it in a more complex manner. Prediabetes just is a simple way to say it is a developing condition to diabetes, while IFG or IGT shows the correct condition of the body not being able to process glucose as fast as should be. The impaired fasting glucose name shows that patients usually have a slightly higher than normal waking blood sugar.

Risk Factors

Alcohol and its consumption is a risk factor for developing diabetes. Heavy use makes the risk go even higher. Other risk factors include a family history, hypertension, and being overweight for your height. Race is a factor as people of color have a higher risk. The older you get the more your risk factors go up, along with any smoking or gestational diabetes history.


Use of alcohol increases a diabetic’s risk of going into hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. According to the American Diabetes Association, the liver starts to clean the blood of alcohol before it can send out glucose again. When this blood sugar starts to dip it can fall at a rapid pace and affect the diabetic severely. As little as two drinks when there is not food to help dissipate the alcohol can make a diabetic go into low blood sugar.

Medication Issue

There are several diabetic medications on the market that will be affected with any alcohol use. Medications such as Micronase and DiaBeta will lower the amount of glucose in the blood. Combining those medications with alcohol (that keeps glucose from being sent out from the liver) can develop a potentially deadly case of hypoglycemia.

Weight Gain

There are many types of alcoholic drinks that are seeping in calories. For a pre-diabetic getting this additional calorie intake can lead to weight gain which can go against everything a pre-diabetic needs to do to keep from getting diabetes. While one smart drink every so often will be fine, as long as you do so while eating and limit it to one, having several can lead to complications.

detox florida

Alcohol Drug and Substance Abuse: Getting Familiar with Common Terms and Language

Getting confused between abbreviations like AODD, ACOA, AlAnon, and AA? Need help understanding the difference between enabling and codependence?

To help those new to the alcohol & drug addiction recovery world become versed in some of the frequently used language, here are some of the more common terms and their meanings within this context. With the rise of attendance in addiction treatment centers being at an all time high, we felt it was time for a post on helping people decipher the shortened versions of these terms.

AA – Alcoholics Anonymous; Worldwide fellowship from which all 12-step “programs” have stemmed.

ACOA – Adult Child Of Alcoholic

Addiction – A physical and/or psychological need to continue to use the substance in question

Al-Anon – 12-Step based fellowship of family, friends, and those affected by alcoholism and addiction

Alcoholism – A condition where the consumption of alcohol has caused disruption in one or many areas of a person’s life, including family, employment, psychological state, health, spirituality, or other areas important to the individual.

AODD – Alcohol and Other Drug Dependence; abbreviation often used clinically but also in chat rooms and discussion boards as a way for individuals to quickly indicate that they are addicted to all drugs of dependence.

Codependent – Coined originally to describe the relationship between an alcoholic and their partner. Now used more loosely to describe actions of enabling, lack of self esteem, and an unhealthy need to “fix” another person.

Comorbidity – when more than one “disorder” or illness exists; most often used when describing the presence of addiction alongside one or more mental health disorders (depression, bipolar, panic disorder, etc).

Dependence – Commonly used to describe the physical aspect of addiction after chemical changes have caused the body or mind to feel discomfort if the substance is not present (i.e. withdrawal symptoms, or “I cannot handle my anxiety level going outside unless I am stoned”)

IOP – Intensive Outpatient Treatment; common as next step for those leaving inpatient treatment, or alternative for those who cannot leave work or afford to go to residential treatment facilities for their alcohol & drug abuse issues. Provides auxiliary or alternative support to AA, NA, and other self-help groups.