tobacco use

Harmful Toxins Present in Tobacco: Harmful Effects of Smoking

Smoking can be rightfully acknowledged as one of the most popular yet dangerous habits prevailing in the modern world. Smoking is known to cause cancer, respiratory and breathing problems among other severe complications. Other than nicotine, the cigarette smoke consists of 4000 toxic chemicals.

Know the Toxins

Even though most of the 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke are dangerous, some bring about significant and undesirable changes in the body. Other than nicotine, which is a highly addictive and dangerous chemical, these following chemicals constitute the major part of the inhaled tobacco smoke:

  1. Tar – This chemical is a mixture of toxic chemicals and is responsible for lung cancer and respiratory problems.
  2. Carbon Monoxide – This is a poisonous gas which reduces the oxygen carrying capabilities of red blood corpuscles.
  3. Arsenic – This chemical is generally used in wood preservatives and is one of the most toxic chemicals present in the inhaled cigarette smoke. It causes cancer and damages the heart and the blood vessels.
  4. Benzene – It is made from crude oil and is used as an industrial solvent. It has been well established that it causes leukemia.
  5. Cadmium – This is a metal which is used to make batteries. When inhaled, it causes cancer and can damage kidneys and the linings of the arteries.
  6. Formaldehyde – This chemical is used to preserve dead bodies and is an effective chemical used for killing bacteria. This chemical causes severe complications in the lungs and airway passages.
  7. Polonium – 210 – This is a radioactive element which emits a harmful radiation known as alpha radiation. When polonium gets deposited inside the body of smokers, it gives out radiation which directs affects the cells.
  8. Hexavalent Chromium – This is one of the many forms of chromium. It causes lung cancer and plays a major part in damaging the DNA.
  9. BDE or 1, 3- butadiene – This chemical is used in the manufacture of rubber. It is present in huge quantities in the smoke of tobacco and is responsible for casing cancer.
  10. Acrolien – This chemical is found in huge quantities in tobacco smoke. It has a strong irritating smell and is known for causing cancer and damaging the DNA.
  11. Hydrogen Cyanide – This is a highly toxic gas which can cause great damage to heart and blood vessels. It also adversely affects the lungs and the airways.

Smoking adversely affects unborn babies as well. It reduces the passage of oxygen to the fetus due to the presence of cyanide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons of aromatic nature. It causes a reduction in placental flow of blood, thereby reducing the delivery of oxygen to the unborn baby.

The Government Wants You to Stop

With the constant airing of anti-smoking commercials and pictorial warning messages on tobacco products, more and more people have decided to stop smoking. Besides levying heavier taxes on tobacco based products, smoking has been banned in public places. The ban on advertising tobacco products has been a welcome step by the government and a steep contributor to the decline of smoking.

Smoking Cessation for Better Health

Quitting smoking will be the biggest and most rewarding change one can bring to his life. Smoking cessation will bring lasting and wonderful changes in one’s lifestyle and would put him on the path to a healthy and fulfilling life.

ecstasy drug

5-HTP Helps with Ecstasy Addiction Withdrawals

Replenishing Serotonin Helps Ecstasy Abuse Symptoms

Ecstasy addiction leads to depression and insomnia. This alternative medication helps with the drug withdrawal symptoms.

Ecstasy has been a popular drug for decades. Drug abusers use the pill to gain euphoria and a strong sense of well-being. Unfortunately, the comedowns from ecstasy use are severe depression, anxiety, and insomnia. The symptoms from ecstasy addiction are mainly from the body’s depletion of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain. The depression from excessive ecstasy use leads to suicidal thoughts and self harm. It’s imperative that ecstasy users replenish levels of serotonin for their mental safety and health.

What Causes Ecstasy Addiction?

Ecstasy is the street name for MDMA. The chemical name of the drug is 3,4 Methlynedioxymethamphetamine. The drug works on three neurotransmitters, increasing their production in the brain. These three neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine give ecstasy addicts the euphoric feelings for hours. Ecstasy is generally harmless unless there is an underlying condition or polydrug use. Ecstasy may also be cut with other substances that cause overdose situations, and some users experience hyperthermia or water intoxication. Proper harm reduction with ecstasy keeps drug use safe, but side effects from unknown substances in pills are what lead to emergency situations.

Ecstasy Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

The first few times an ecstasy user takes a pill, he feels euphoric, tingly, and empathetic. The high from ecstasy lasts for a few days until the withdrawals start to kick in. Withdrawals from ecstasy addiction are mainly depression. While serotonin floods the brain during ecstasy drug activity, it’s depleted after a couple of days. The lack of serotonin creates depressed activity, and the drug user may feel insomnia and restlessness.

5-HTP Replenishes Serotonin after Ecstasy Addiction

5-HTP is a natural supplement that replenishes serotonin for the depression during ecstasy withdrawal. 5-HTP is actually a precursor for serotonin. 5-HTP is an essential amino acid that is converted to tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan is then converted in the brain to serotonin. Tryptophan is also found naturally in protein rich foods like beef, poultry, and fish. However, quick replenishment is found in 5-HTP supplements which are available at vitamin stores.

Exercise is also shown to improve levels of serotonin. Daily exercise regimens release endorphins, making the drug user happier from ecstasy addiction. Exercise has been shown to be one of the best ways to counteract the effects of drug withdrawal symptoms.

Contraindications

When increasing serotonin, care should be taken before taking supplements. Too much serotonin in the brain causes a condition called serotonin syndrome. This is a dangerous side effect of ecstasy addiction when using other medications. Increased serotonin is also the mode of action for some drugs such as antibiotics. When taking drugs like antibiotics, St. John’s Wort, or 5-HTP supplements, never take ecstasy.

marijuana addiction

Treatment for Weed Addiction: Behavioral Techniques to Treat Marijuana Addiction

Weed (marijuana) is the most abused drug in America. This article examines the different behavioral treatments available for weed addiction.

Weed, also known as marijuana or cannabis, is the most commonly used illegal drug in the world. Smoking weed results in the perceptions and sensations being altered. Smoking weed can be very addictive and harmful. Exerting willpower is an admirable step one can take toward quitting marijuana use. However, it often takes more than that. There are no medications currently available to treat marijuana addiction. Still, behavioral treatments can be an effective alternative.

Treatment for Weed Addiction in Adolescents

In a study called Monitoring the Future (conducted by the University of Michigan), it was discovered that during the mid to late 1990s marijuana use increased significantly among adolescents. Thereafter, use among middle school and high school students decreased slightly. Nearly 50 percent of high school students admitted to using marijuana at least once and nearly 6 percent use it daily.

Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) was initially implemented for adult use; however, the Cannabis Youth Treatment Study later adapted it for adolescent use. In MET, with the assistance of an empathetic therapist, the patient feels as though she is understood. The MET therapist takes an assertive stance, reviewing the patient’s goals and behaviors, pinpointing any inconsistencies. The therapist uses this information to better motivate the patient into taking responsibility for her actions and changing them.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that was adapted in the Cannabis Youth Treatment Study. CBT focuses on the patient’s thinking patterns as the source of his addiction. In changing his negative thought processes, he exhibits positive thoughts and behaviors. He also learns the skills needed to avoid drug environments and to minimize his chances of a relapse.

Family-based Treatment for Weed Addiction

Since adolescents are at a stage where they are still closely tied with their families, the Family Support Network (FSN) was implemented solely for the Cannabis Youth Treatment Study. It is designed to improve family communication, parents’ behavioral management abilities and to increase their engagement to the recovery process.

Multidimensional family therapy (MFT) studies how the adolescent and her parents communicate with each other and the involvement of the school systems. It focuses on establishing a therapeutic connection among the members of the families and on enforcing activities to promote healthy changes in the adolescent, her family and social systems.

Adult Treatment for Weed Addiction

There are several treatments that have been developed and created for adults suffering from marijuana addiction. Among the most successful are cognitive behavioral, motivational enhancement, reward-based treatment and support groups. However, it is found that a combination of treatments is more effective than a single one.

Reward-based treatment involves using monetary vouchers to reward patients who have completed positive steps towards their treatment goal (e.g. refraining from drug use or attending sessions). The vouchers can be redeemed for goods or services, such as educational classes or recreational equipment.

Brief marijuana dependence counseling (BMDC) focuses on the social and psychological needs of the adult addicted to cannabis. By combining intervention, case management and cognitive behavioral skills, the patient can receive increased motivation, help for problems outside of his drug abuse, and the necessary skills to abstain from marijuana.

Twelve-step Program for Weed Addiction

An individual suffering from marijuana addiction can also benefit from a twelve-step program, such as Marijuana Anonymous. It offers an effective method of bonding with others similar to him, while helping him to triumph over his addiction.

By coupling a support system with behavioral techniques, overcoming marijuana addiction is possible.

cocaine addiction

Cocaine Addiction and Signs of Abuse

Cocaine is a the Major Stimulant Responsible for ER Visits

Cocaine addiction is the major source of stimulant addiction. Know the signs and effects of drug use.

It’s a popular misconception that cocaine, although illegal, is more harmless than opiates like heroin, but cocaine addiction brings strong psychological and physical side effects. Since cocaine addiction is extremely stimulating, it is often mixed with sedatives like benzodiazepines (Xanax or Valium) or even alcohol to help the addict sleep. The mixture of sedatives and stimulants harms the heart and has dangerous side effects.

What are Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine addiction symptoms highly depend on the product’s purity and the route of administration. Cocaine is often cut with various ingredients to spread it out, making the dealer more money. The most common routes of administration are intravenous injection, smoking, and insufflation.

CNS and Brain Effects

Initial effects from cocaine addiction are a feeling of euphoria, sociability and less hunger. Outward signs of usage are dilated pupils and possible headache. Chronic use of cocaine exacerbates these sociable activities to cocaine psychosis, which is reported to be similar to schizophrenia. Emergency personnel are needed if any of these symptoms cause seizures, severe headaches, or trouble breathing.

Cocaine addiction causes changes in the various neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain that control functions like personality, body temperature, breathing, and cognitive reasoning. The neurotransmitters affected the most by cocaine are norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid.

Damage to the Nose

A large majority of cocaine addicts insufflate (sniff into the nose). This lowers the blood supply to the septum, the cartilage that separates the two nostrils. The damage to the septum increases with use causing the token “coke-nose” with nosebleeds, sinusitis, and stuffiness.

Lung Damage

Cocaine addiction leads to freebase smoking of the paste known as crack. The residues from the tar, pipes, and chemicals within the drug cause chronic bronchitis in cocaine addicts. More severe symptoms are pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) and even lung collapse. Cocaine addicts who smoke the freebase paste are among the highest percentage of emergency room visits with difficulties in breathing.

Cardiovascular Damage

Cocaine affects the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the body’s “fight or flight” response through adrenaline or epinephrine. The effects increase heart rate and narrow the blood vessels. Chest pain is the next highest incidence of cocaine addiction after breathing complications from lung damage. Cocaine increases heart rate causing abnormal rhythms and cardiac arrest. Chronic use of cocaine causes long-term hardening of the coronary arteries associated with the growing number of heart attacks from cocaine addiction in younger users.

What Kind of Treatment is Available for Cocaine Addiction?

Most of the symptoms related to cocaine addiction will subside after cessation of use. Severe symptoms from chronic use need the attention of medical personnel. Intravenous users lower their chances of disease and infection by never sharing needles and cleansing the skin prior to injection.

Because of the high psychological damage from cocaine addiction, it’s recommended that users seek the help of a licensed psychologist. Through medical and psychological care, cocaine addiction can be overcome to improve health.

Acupuncture: Effective for Managing Cocaine Rehabilitation

While drug prevention programs continue to educate teens in the health risks associated with use, there are many teenagers across the United States who continue to use. As a parent of a teenager, it is important to not only recognize the symptoms of drug use, but to also find ways in which to aide your teenager through drug rehabilitation and recovery.
Cocaine use continues to be a leading cause of concern among the teen population in the United States. Cocaine is without a doubt, one of the most addictive drugs used today. Without proper intervention and drug rehabilitation, a teenager who uses cocaine is at-risk for significant complications of mental health and cardiovascular disease. If you are the parent of a teenager who has used cocaine, it is important to find ways in which to treat the drug addiction, even considering a collaborative approach among many specialties.

In some drug treatment facilities, the use of an alternative approach to healing has become increasingly more common. Using acupuncture, specifically around the auricular area, teens who are addicted to cocaine are finding some therapeutic benefit. The benefits of acupuncture, in part, are attributed to the induction of a relaxation state which is crucial to alleviating the cravings for a particular drug, such as cocaine. By inducing this relaxation state, especially during the period of withdrawals, the cocaine rehabilitation program is often more successful.

While some drug rehabilitation programs utilize other forms of relaxation techniques, the use of acupuncture has shown to be most effective. If your teen, addicted to cocaine, is not entering into an inpatient drug rehabilitation center, it may be prudent to seek the services of an acupuncturist on your own. Describing the addiction and the complications associated with cocaine drug cravings and withdrawal, the acupuncturist may be able to design an effective treatment plan. Whatever you do, don’t try and detox from cocaine by yourself.

As with any drug dependency, the key to successful outcomes lies in the willingness of the drug user to stop using the recreational drug. In the case of cocaine, addiction is a powerful influence with cravings and withdrawal quite pronounced. While inpatient drug rehabilitation provides for the optimal outcome, many teenagers simply refuse to cooperate in drug rehabilitation on an inpatient basis. Another holistic approach to detoxing, is using ayahuasca. It is a hallucinogen that has been shown in some practices to help with detox and rehab. However, patients can also get addicted to ayahuasca.

If your teen is using cocaine, and is not willing to cooperate with in-patient drug rehabilitation, you may want to consider auricular acupuncture. As a relaxation technique, cocaine cravings may be significantly reduced. While there is some debate over the actual physiological effect of acupuncture, you can rest assured that the simple technique of relaxation during acupuncture is often more effective than any other relaxation approach. Ultimately, it may be relaxation techniques that break the cocaine addiction.

Signs That You Are Addicted To Drugs

Almost all drug addiction stories start with the same beginning –“let me try just a little bit, it won’t cause me to become an addict.” Well, those immortal words are almost always a precursor to each and every drug addict that has walked the face of this earth. For some people, this experimental use that is mostly done in social situations can lead to a rampant drug abuse. The risk of addiction as well as how fast do you start getting addicted to this product is totally dependent upon the dependency that you have for it. As time progresses, you realize that larger doses of the same drugs are necessary in order to help you get that high that you so desperately want. It is the drug that helps you to navigate through the difficulties in life, and it is the drug that keeps you awake in your memories.

Any attempts that you take to decrease the amount of drug can only lead to desperate situations like withdrawal symptoms that create a pressure like situation for you. These intense cravings can only make you physically ill, and within a short period of time, you relapse to the use of these drugs.

So, what are the common tendencies that you feel when you find yourself addicted?

  1. You want to use the drug on a regular basis; sometimes even several times a day would not quench your thirst for this particular drug
  2. You need to have a certain amount of drug with you at all times just so that you are not out of that particular drug at any moment of time
  3. Having the need for an intense fix at any moment of time is the first sign of drug dependency of an addict
  4. Over time, the drug can mask any physical interaction that you have with anyone, so much so that you end up feeling a sort of seclusion even in the middle of a crowd
  5. You end up spending ridiculous amount of money on the drugs, even when you find that you are short of cash
  6. You almost always end up forgetting any social interactions, and you get rid of anything to do with recreation in your house. Any physical activity is beyond your comprehension
  7. You almost always like to start driving or undertaking any risky activities when you are under the influence of the drug. It makes you feel superhuman
  8. You constantly fail at focusing on the job, and end up getting fired from multiple jobs within a very short time
  9. Even though you might constantly like to get rid of your addiction, you fail to do so

Well, these are the problems that normally indicate that you have become a drug addict and will be going through this phase until and unless you pick yourself up and get yourself to a detox center pronto. Your life is in your own hands, what you choose to do with your future is dependent upon your current decision.

Signs of Possible Drug Abuse

Scary Facts About Drugs

One of the pestering problems that the current generation faces is to get rid of drug addiction. Recent surveys have indicated that at least one in every hundred people in the world is a drug addict. That is an alarming statistic, and with more and more people becoming addicted at an alarming rate, the populations are going to be hit pretty hard.

Well, there are some scary facts that you need to know about the use of drugs;

  1. Drugs account for at least 40,000 deaths all across the globe every year, most of them pertaining to driving under influence. This number keeps on increasing by at least 2000 people every year. So, while many may argue that this is primarily due to the lapse in security arrangements and safety in automobiles, there is no doubting the fact that the use of prescription as well as illegal drugs have also led to the rise of people causing accidents.
  2. In the United States alone, at least seven out of 10 teenagers have become a victim of prescription drugs that they might have received from their friends or their relatives. It is the obvious is of procurement of prescription drugs that make it very easy to abuse in the first place. At least 64% of the teenagers that have started using prescription drugs have found it through the medicine cabinet of their parents or through their friends. Whatever the means of procurement, there is no denying the fact that prescription drugs can cause long lasting damage to the teenagers.
  3. Over 100,000 people are hospitalized every year due to overdosing in drugs. Out of these 100,000, at least 10,000 people are dead before they can even arrive in the hospital. According to the latest reports, most of them die due to overdosing on painkillers. There are also a percentage of people that end up taking opioid painkillers along with alcohol in order to accelerate the process of death.
  4. Drugs can lead to financial ruin within five years of rampant use. There are many established households that are now looking at a bottomless pit of debt, primarily due to fuel in their own drug habits with income that was normally kept for a rainy day. Now, they do not have any money to fall back on, and after failing on payments, they had to let go of all their movable and immovable properties. Financial ruin is certain for people that undertake drug abuse.
  5. Prescription drugs are almost always one of the easiest methods for drug procurement in rural parts of the globe. Since prescriptions can be easily procured from the pharmacy, most of the rural towns have the option of procuring such medications and overdosing on them. With the advent of the Internet and online websites that double up as pharmacies, this process has become very easy. The people can now get their drugs home delivered, and in most countries, it has become a legal source of drug procurement.

Drugs are a huge threat to our society and there isn’t a ton we can do about it, the best we can do is to educate our children and show them the truth about drugs. Also we must pressure our lawmakers to make the right choices and fight the drugs!