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.

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.

Addiction Treatment: The Right Cure Is Complex But Possible

Is there REALLY a cure for addiction and alcoholism?

It is easy to find medical treatment and therapy for a number of diseases. However, others like cancer and addiction are both at the same level in terms of the “right” treatment. For years, finding the right remedy has been extremely hard for the suffering individual.

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a cure is something (drug or medical treatment) that stops a disease and makes one healthy once again. For addiction, a cure is definitely available; however, this kind of disease needs a behavioral approach.

An individual who is into substance abuse needs to retrain his or her brain functions to once again  become “normal.” A successful treatment program’s aim, therefore, is for the individual to acquire an improved social behavior and a life that is not dependent on drugs or alcohol. Don’t think its just hard drugs or alcohol as well. This article, http://agriarnano.com/effects-of-ambien/ shows that there are big time dangers in abusing prescription drugs.

Brain retraining, more than anything else, is important to control addiction. While there is no definite cure for addiction or alcoholism, there are still ways or methods that will help improve the addictive person’s behavior.

Here are some effective steps in managing addiction and alcoholism:

The Individual Admits His Or Her Problem

The first thing that an individual who is into substance abuse must do is realize that he or she has a problem with addiction. This is, first and foremost, an essential step towards recovery. If he or she continues to be in denial, any treatment will be worthless. These people should be able to learn about the nature of their addiction to be able to completely understand that they need help as soon as possible. If they are educated, for sure, they will be open to treatment.

The Addict Undergoes A Detox Phase

Addicts need to go through detoxification. Time frames for detox vary. Cocaine is one of the longer detox periods, but it also depends on your body and how long you were addicted. By far, this is the most difficult part because physical withdrawal effects can take place anytime. Typically, this phase should be completed in a registered medical facility. However, the option to do it at home can be done with strict supervision. The process of detoxification is done for the body to get rid of all the toxins brought forth by the drug or alcohol.

Physical withdrawal symptoms during the detox phase can range from simply uncomfortable feelings to life-threatening ones, such as delirium tremens. Medications are sometimes prescribed by physicians to alleviate the physical discomforts.

Loved Ones And Substance Abuser Decides For The Right Treatment Option

This stage can be decided before the actual detoxification stage takes place. The choice for treatment varies according to age, gender, and types of addiction. There are facilities that offer services for all kinds of dependency, but others specialize in one particular field of addiction.

The treatment options can also vary in terms of location. There are treatment programs that should be offered in an inpatient facility, while a few others provide lenient programs that exercise patient’s choices. The bottom line is that a lot of factors should be considered in choosing the best treatment option for the addictive person, the family can help in the decision process along the way.

Sobriety is a personal choice, especially after treatment. The success of the treatment is often determined in the person’s coping skills post-treatment program. Hence, a post-treatment plan should be established to keep him away from going back to his old habit.

How Addictive Is Heroin?

Noticeably, when more than 400,000 people are admitted to the health care center in the United States every year, it is basically due to their addiction to heroin. At least 86% of any treatment related to opiates has been due to the addiction to heroin. Unfortunately, looking at the statistics, one will come to the conclusion that heroin is pretty addictive, and has led to the drastic rise in the popularity of this drug over a considerable period of time.

Fact: Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs!

Why are drugs popular and why are people getting addicted?

Between the years of 2000 to 2004, there was a ramp up in the shipment of heroin among smugglers, and could lead to enormous amount of sales within the age category of 13 to 18. These are alarming statistics that not only tell you the grim reality in the use of heroin, but also why most of the growing population seems to be stunted in their brain development. If there is a dependency on heroin, it is likely going to act as an indicator on what the future generation is going to think.

For the people struggling with mental illness, they are also looking at ways to get rid of their inability to mingle, which is the reason why they prefer to go for heroin abuse. Moreover, due to the highly addictive nature, it has also lead to bigger problems for the people with such mental illness. Approximately about 50% of people that have illnesses such as Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have been making use of heroin. They normally account for 53% of the drug addicts that are addicted to heroin use exclusively.

Some symptoms of heroin addiction

  • Constant trembling
  • Restlessness
  • Financial troubles
  • Incessant mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Fluctuations in the weight
  • Stomach cramps
  • Extremely poor hygiene

When you stumble upon syringes, pipes as well as aluminum foil lying around in your neighborhood; it is a potential sign of a heroin addict living nearby.

The main purpose of heroin is to flood your mind with dopamine, thereby limiting any kind of positive brain activity. It shall dull your mind, producing a certain sense of nausea that is not going to work towards any positive output of your brain. Thereby, when you feel that euphoria, you have an everlasting attempt to remain in that particular state of mind. Hence, there is a constant craving for heroin, and the everlasting trap of financial debt creeping up on you. Heroin is a costly drug, and maintaining a lifestyle while at the same time ingesting harrowing can prove to be a big financial hurdle for you.

In the end, every other hard-core heroin user either goes through a detox program, or they are dead. In order to look at a better future, it would be a good thing for drug addicts to go for detox programs. At least 23% of the heroin users in the past have managed to maintain sobriety after they have gone through the detox programs. That is a wonderful statistic which is otherwise normally filled with the grim reality of heroin addiction.

Most Addictive Drugs

In the world of addictive drugs, there are always some which are more addictive than the other. Getting addicted to drugs is not a pretty sight, and you lose a lot more than what you gain with using drugs. There are health risks as well as risks in the financial as well as family matters. So, why do people primarily make use of drugs? Well, it is mainly to remain in a state of euphoria, and to mask the pain that they are going through on a daily basis.

Based on a dependency ranking, here are some of the most addictive drugs in the market:

  1. Heroin: Notably the undisputed king of all narcotics, heroin is also responsible for at least 50% of all deaths as a result of drug addiction. It is the ability of heroin absorption of the human body that makes it a very potent drug in the heady mixture of drug addiction. Moreover, heroin can also act as a stimulant to extracting the maximum euphoric feeling in a person before the withdrawal symptoms take over.
  2. Cocaine: In its purest form, cocaine, or rather crack cocaine is also pretty potent as a drug. It can activate various parts of the brain that cause the excessive release of dopamine which is responsible for the feeling of pleasure in human beings. Similarly, smoking crack, or even snorting it can result in an immediate high that can last for at least half an hour.
  3. Nicotine: Commonly found in cigarettes, nicotine is also responsible for maximum deaths pertaining to lung cancer. At least 35 million people want to quit smoking every year, but somehow most of them relapse within a week or so.
  4. Methadone: Coming from the opiate family, methadone is commonly used as an alternative for morphine or heroin addiction. Within the clinical setting, it is a wonderful drug and considered to be pretty beneficial. However, excessive use of methadone has led to the drug addiction in the first place.
  5. Crystal Meth or Methamphetamine: Dopamine and Norepinephrine are the two hormones released with the use of methamphetamine. It provides for a sense of alertness as well as excessive energy, and one can confuse it easily with adrenaline. Crystal meth can produce at least 10 times more the levels of dopamine, producing an artificial high that lasts for a considerable period of time. However, it is highly addictive, and has resulted in a lot of fatalities in the past few years.
  6. Amphetamines: Although not as addictive as crystal meth, amphetamines also have their own brand of fan following. Men have been known to cause intense cravings in people, and they are also associated with a lot of attractive side effects like euphoria, weight loss, and a growth in confidence.
  7. Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines commonly known as Valium, Xanax are the common prescription drugs available in the market. Known for releasing GABA hormone, it builds up the tolerance level of the body to this drug pretty quickly, thereby resulting in overdose.