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Friday, June 11, 2021

What Type of Drug is Cocaine?

what type of drug is cocaine

The use of cocaine is re-emerging as a public health concern. Although the drug does have some legitimate medical applications, it is primarily misused, abused, and procured illegally. What type of drug is cocaine and what are its effects on the people who use it?

Powerfully Addictive Stimulant

Cocaine comes from coca leaves that are grown in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. Manufacturing these leaves into the drug cocaine is a process that generally happens in labs where the raw product goes through a series of chemical transformations. The country of Colombia produces 90% of the cocaine powder that comes to the US, usually entering through Mexico.

The cocaine drug is a powerfully addictive stimulant. Although very rare, the drug can be used by healthcare providers for valid medical purposes, particularly as a local anesthesia. However, the use of recreational cocaine is illegal in this country.

Physiological Effects

Cocaine works by increasing the levels of dopamine, a natural chemical messenger in the brain circuits that are related to the control of reward and movement. The drug will prevent dopamine from recycling as it should normally, causing large amounts to build up and stopping their communication. The flood of dopamine in the brain’s reward circuit then strongly reinforces the behavior of continuing to take the drug. As an individual takes more and more, the reward circuit adapts, and more and more is needed to get the same effect.

The physiological effects of using cocaine include increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, insomnia, and dilated pupils. Abusing highly pure street cocaine can lead to serious health issues such as sudden cardiac arrest, stroke, convulsions, irregular heartbeat, and death.

Methods of Use

The street drug cocaine is a fine white powder. Dealers will mix it with flour, cornstarch, and even talcum powder to increase their profits. They may also mix it with other drugs, including synthetic opioids or amphetamines. This practice is particularly dangerous for the user and results in increasing numbers of overdose deaths.

Users may snort the cocaine powder through their nose or rub it on their gums. They might also dissolve it and inject it directly into their bloodstream. Some people smoke cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal. When the crystal is heated to produce vapors inhaled into the lungs, this is known as crack. Cocaine in this form can also be smoked when it is sprinkled on marijuana or tobacco.

High Potential for Abuse

Given that cocaine is an addictive stimulant, people who use it often take it in binges. They will take the drug at higher doses or more often to maintain the same effect as when they first starting using it. As a Schedule II drug, cocaine has a high potential for abuse. Since cocaine is so addictive, it can alter the brain structure and function when it is used repeatedly.

A Dangerous Drug

Cocaine is the type of drug that will speed up an individual’s entire body. They may feel happy, excited, and full of energy initially but then their mood can quickly change. They can become nervous, angry, and paranoid, meaning they’re afraid that someone is out to get them. Their behavior will become erratic and irrational. When an individual who is addicted is not using cocaine, they can experience a crash that will leave them sad and tired for days.

Strong cravings to continue using the drug are common with cocaine. It is a dangerous drug with serious health problems associated with it. Users can also be at a high risk for diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS if they share needles or have unsafe sex while under the influence of the drug. Combining cocaine with other drugs or with alcohol can make it even more dangerous.

Becoming addicted to cocaine is easy to do, given the way it works on the body and the brain. Seeking professional addiction treatment is the safest way to detox and overcome the drug’s effects. Staying with the treatment program is critical as people have been known to continue to feel strong cravings for cocaine years after they have successfully stopped using it. Recovery is possible. There is hope.

Help for Drug Abuse Issues

At Hope by the Sea, a southern California addiction treatment center, we work with you to begin the journey of recovery from drug abuse as well as mental health issues. We specialize in treating you as a whole individual, as well as your family members who are affected, so everyone can embrace recovery with as much support and momentum as possible.

Our team continues to follow federal, state, and local public health guidelines regarding COVID-19 to ensure our clients' safety. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!

Monday, May 31, 2021

Why Do I Feel Lonely? Effects of Social Isolation

why do i feel lonely?

If you feel lonely, don’t blame social distancing: loneliness was a large-scale problem long before COVID-19 days. In January 2019, government researchers reported that 20 percent of Americans felt “lonely or socially isolated.” A year later (over a month before most U.S. residents felt threatened by the pandemic), other researchers estimated that more than 60 percent of the population felt “left out, poorly understood [or] lacking companionship.” 

So if you feel lonely, be assured you aren’t “alone.” But it takes more than that to stop the pain—or the other problems it feeds. 

Why Do People Feel Lonely? 

Chronic loneliness comes from social isolation, a lack of meaningful connections with others. This is different from physical isolation or social distancing: there are contented hermits and lonely social butterflies. It’s possible to be very popular and yet miserably lonely, if you’re tormented by inner suspicions that nobody really knows you—or would even care to know the insecure, imperfect “you” beneath the well-groomed surface image. 

That isn’t to say that social and physical isolation don’t go together (they frequently do), just that the loneliness problem is actually a relationship and self-esteem problem. You’re at higher risk if:

  • You’ve seen recent major changes in your everyday circumstances
  • You stand out from most of your peers in ethnic/economic background, interests, values, or temperament
  • You’ve been through childhood abuse or another traumatic experience
  • You’ve never learned to be open about your emotions
  • You fear being judged, betrayed, and/or disliked
  • You feel that “no one” understands you
  • You lack opportunities to exercise your natural skills and passions
  • You live alone
  • You have health issues that limit your social options.

Effects of Social Isolation

Chronic loneliness invites a vicious circle: typical behavioral symptoms include self-preoccupation, grumbling, moping, and self-isolation. Which effectively say, “Leave me alone: I’m terrible company anyway.” Which, of course, drives others away and makes social isolation worse.

Where loneliness continues for long periods, ultimate effects include major health problems, including high risk for becoming addicted to drugs that were used to self-medicate lonely feelings. If you have an addiction disorder rooted in loneliness, treatment will include planning your long-term recovery from social isolation.

HALTing Loneliness in Early Recovery

Physical detox is only the beginning of addiction treatment: you’ll have a long road ahead, with its share of “back to the bottle” temptations. Most of these are connected to the acronym HALT, where the L stands for Lonely. H is for Hungry (which can be applied to hungering for human connections); A is for Angry (which goes hand in hand with feeling lonely and misunderstood); and T is for Tired (the negative feelings associated with loneliness drain your energy—plus, poor sleep often goes with lonely feelings).

The first step toward healing from loneliness is to build a network of human connections, starting with those most likely to understand your struggle—your therapist(s) and fellow detoxers. (Look for a treatment center with experience serving the demographic you best identify with.) If possible, get your family on board through shared counseling. And after detox, stay active in a support group of recovering peers, especially when your “new normal” first starts to feel truly normal: that’s when you’re at risk of becoming overconfident and stepping on the slippery slope toward old habits.

Other tips for HALTing lonely feelings and social isolation that could tempt to relapse:

  • Feed your Hunger (including the hunger for achievement) by adopting a healthy lifestyle, nurturing your self-esteem, and working on productive projects that fit your natural abilities.
  • Calm your Anger by releasing grudges and by channeling your energy toward positive goals (physical activity, helping someone else)
  • Soothe your Loneliness by joining a shared-interests group, volunteering to support a cause you’re passionate about, or adopting a pet. (If you have a diagnosed depression or anxiety disorder, you may be allowed an Emotional Support Animal—cats as well as dogs can qualify—even where pets per se aren’t permitted.)
  • Relieve your Tiredness by learning effective sleep habits, taking regular breaks, and eliminating non-essential “obligations” from your schedule.

Neither loneliness nor addiction need dominate your life. Get help today to start building social connections for a bright future.

Hope for Loneliness

Loneliness and other depression-type problems are frequent factors in substance use disorder; and true recovery from addiction means remedying the underlying issues. At Hope by the Sea in southern California, we focus on personalized treatment for addiction and mental health problems. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Ambien and Alcohol | Dangerous Drug Interaction

Ambien and alcohol

Mixing drugs with alcohol is never a good idea. Sometimes it can even be deadly. When you are having trouble sleeping or feel you just need to relax, you might be given a prescription for a medication that can help you. Mixing medications such as Ambien and alcohol can result in a dangerous drug interaction.

Ambien for Sleep Problems

Ambien is the brand name for zolpidem tartrate, a medication generally prescribed for short-term treatment for adults who are experiencing insomnia or trouble falling asleep. It is a sedative-hypnotic medicine that is a federally controlled substance, because it can be abused and its use can lead to dependence. Patients who are prescribed this medication are advised to tell their healthcare providers if they have ever abused or been dependent on drugs, legal or illegal, or alcohol.

Side Effects of Ambien

Taking Ambien by itself can cause a number of side effects in some people. After taking the medication, you may not be fully awake even after a night’s sleep. You may get out of bed in the middle of the night and not realize what you are doing. When you do wake up the next morning, you may not remember doing anything during the night.

One behavior that has been found among people taking Ambien is known as “sleep driving.” This happens when you have taken the drug and are not fully awake but decide to get in your car and drive. You probably do not realize what you are doing and will not remember it the next morning. This behavior is extremely dangerous.

These side effects are compounded when you mix Ambien and alcohol, producing a dangerous drug interaction. You have a greater chance of sleep driving when you’ve taken both substances together. You may also make and eat food, have a phone conversation, or sleepwalk while under the influence.

Consequences of Mixing Ambien and Alcohol

The combination of Ambien and alcohol can have dangerous results. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) has reported that the interaction of these substances was responsible for 14% of emergency room visits related to the use of the medication, with most of those requiring admission to the intensive care unit.

Ambien is a central nervous system depressant medication that increases the activity of a substance called GABA, which produces a calming and sedating effect and slows brain activity. Depressant side effects can include slowed heart rate, slowed or difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness. Alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant, so when the two are mixed the effects are compounded.

When the two substances are combined, a dangerous drug interaction results in profound sedation. Your breathing will slow further and that could lead to losing consciousness or going into a coma. You could also die from mixing the two. DAWN also reported that 57% of emergency room visits for an Ambien overdose involved the use of alcohol or another drug in combination with the sleep aid.

The effects could last into the next day. You could continue to experience impairment while driving, hours after taking the medication and mixing it with alcohol use. Older adults, especially, are at even greater risk of falls and fractures after combining Ambien and alcohol.

Mixing Other Sleep Aids with Alcohol

Anytime you take a medication for a mental or physical health condition, you should check on its possible interaction with alcohol. Other prescription sleep aids are also central nervous system depressants and will have the same dangerous results when taken with alcohol. Even over-the-counter sleep aids should not be mixed with alcohol. Dietary supplements such as melatonin or Valerian root can also result in a dangerous drug interaction.

Help for Drug Abuse Issues

At Hope by the Sea, a southern California addiction treatment center, we work with you to begin the journey of recovery from drug abuse as well as mental health issues. We specialize in treating you as a whole individual, as well as your family members who are affected, so everyone can embrace recovery with as much support and momentum as possible.

Our team continues to follow federal, state, and local public health guidelines regarding COVID-19 to ensure our clients' safety. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!

Friday, May 14, 2021

What Drugs Make You Paranoid?

what drugs make you paranoid

Many drugs, including those that are prescribed legally, can have side effects. Usually, the benefits of the medication outweigh any symptoms you might experience, which are typically minor. However, some drugs can have more serious implications for your physical and mental health. If you are concerned about potential negative outcomes, you might wonder what drugs make you paranoid.

The State of Paranoia

When you are experiencing the mental state of paranoia, you have a perception or a suspicion that other people with whom you are interacting have aggressive or hostile motives. You might think “they are out to get me.” When you are paranoid, you believe that other people are persecuting you. In fact, there is usually no reason for your suspicions.

In addition, you will have delusional ideas about being a central figure in a scenario that probably has absolutely nothing to do with you. Have you ever seen two or three people having a conversation and were certain they were plotting against you? That is a sense of paranoia. Your mistrust of other people and your anxiety about what they are doing or saying can make relationships difficult for you, and that may cause problems personally or on the job. You may become hostile or detached, which could lead to isolation.

When you experience feelings of paranoia, there can be many causes. You might have a psychological disorder such as schizophrenia. Or you might have a medical disease that can impact your brain function such as multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s disease. Drug or alcohol abuse can also be a direct cause of your paranoia.

Co-Occurring Conditions

Drug addiction and mental health disorders are sometimes diagnosed together as a co-occurring condition. People who are addicted to drugs are twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, including paranoia. Likewise, individuals who experience mental health issues can be twice as likely to be addicted to drugs.

It is often difficult to tell which condition caused the other. Mental health issues affected almost 18% of the adult population in the US in 2015. Out of those, 8.1 million people were diagnosed with both a mental illness and a substance use disorder.

Drugs That Make You Paranoid

Recreational drugs that can cause a sense of paranoia in individuals include:

  • Cannabis
  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD
  • PCP
  • Amphetamines

These drugs may make you paranoid because of their effect on you or if you’re already feeling anxious or are experiencing other mental health issues. In addition, steroids taken by athletes as well as inhalants such as paint, insecticides, and fuels, have been found to cause paranoia.

Long-Term Methamphetamine Use

The use of methamphetamine, in particular, can cause paranoid behavior and delusions. Long-term use of this drug can have a number of negative consequences, including addiction. When you are addicted, you experience compulsive drug seeking and use of the drug. Your addiction is usually accompanied by molecular and functional changes in your brain.

As you become addicted to a drug such as methamphetamine, you will need to take more and more to get the same effect. You may take higher doses or take it more frequently. You may even develop difficulty feeling any kind of pleasure that is not provided by the drug and that can create further abuse of the substance.

In addition to being addicted, you may exhibit symptoms that can include confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, violent behavior, and anxiety. Mental health issues that can be caused by methamphetamines can include visual hallucinations, auditory hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. You may also become violent as a result of the paranoia caused by methamphetamines.

These symptoms can last for months or years, even after you’ve quit using the drug. Withdrawal from the drug should be medically supervised as you may experience serious symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

Help for Drug Abuse Issues

At Hope by the Sea, a southern California addiction treatment center, we work with you to begin the journey of recovery from drug abuse as well as mental health issues, including paranoia caused by drugs. We specialize in treating you as a whole individual, as well as your family members who are affected, so everyone can embrace recovery with as much support and momentum as possible.

Our team continues to follow federal, state, and local public health guidelines regarding COVID-19 to ensure our clients' safety. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!

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