Monday, October 26, 2009

Interesting Connection Between Drug Abuse And Sports

What factors promote progression from initial use of drugs to drug abuse and dependence?

One recent study examined how volunteers respond to amphetamine in a recreational environment. Similar to studies with rats, this research shows that the same volunteers who demonstrate the greatest increase in spontaneous motor activity when first exposed to the test environment also show the greatest amphetamine-induced increase in motor activity. Thus, the extent to which experience-seeking behavior in a novel recreational environment predicts psychostimulant response and drug-taking is an important question for future study.

Source, National Institute on Drug Addiction, NIDA,
By Robert Mathias & Neil Swan, NIDA NOTES

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sometimes A Friend Just Needs A Friend

Schizophrenia, not an illness behind closed doors anymore

Schizophrenia, as well as Psychosis, (a description of a key symptom of schizophrenia) is the mental state when a person experiences hallucinations, unusual beliefs, paranoia, mixed emotions, muddled thoughts, unusual or puzzling behaviors. If someone seems distressed or impaired by their experiences, even if they're quite subtle at first, it's best not to ignore them and hope they'll go away. It's good to give the person the opportunity to discuss the situation.

As anyone who has been through a psychotic episode , such as hullucinating knows, getting professional treatment usually does not occur within 15 minutes of your hullucination event. Even if you are at a hospital and not alone, you could be well past a delusion or a hullucination before helps arrives.

First aid recommendations for psychosis and schizophrenia:

  • Often early warning signs and/or symptoms of psychosis are not very dramatic on their own.
  • You should not ignore or dismiss warning signs and/or symptoms even if they appear gradually and are unclear.
  • You should not assume that the person exhibiting warning signs and/or symptoms is just going through a phase or misusing substances.
  • You should be aware that the warning signs and/or symptoms of psychosis may vary from person to person and can change over time.
  • Take into consideration the spiritual and/or cultural context of the person’s behaviors.
  • Try to tailor your approach and interaction to the way the person is behaving (eg if the person is suspicious and is avoiding eye contact, the first aider should be sensitive to this and give the person the space they need).
  • Do not touch the person without their permission.
  • Allow the person to talk about their experiences and beliefs only if they want to.
  • You should recognize that the person may be frightened by their thoughts and feelings.
  • You should ask the person about what will help them to feel safe or in control.
  • If the person is unwilling to talk with the first aider, the first aider should not try to force them to talk about their experiences.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Meth: Physical Effects

Methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous and addictive drug.

It increases heart and breathing rates, blood pressure, and body temperature.

Other effects include:

  • NAUSEA, diarrhea, increased talkativeness, and a tendency to engage in repetitive actions.
    Throughout the high that follows, users frequently appear more self-assured, "pumped up," and sexually aroused.
  • They also may become extremely aggressive.
  • As time passes, however, the surge of energy begins to fade. At that point, users are said to be crashing. They typically experience: 1) dehydration—an abnormally low amount of fluid in the body; 2) anxiety—feelings of being extremely overwhelmed, restless, fearful, and worried; 3) tiredness; and 4) depression—feelings of hopelessness, loss of pleasure, self-blame, and sometimes suicidal thoughts.
  • In severe cases, a mental disorder known as methamphetamine psychosis (sy-KOH-sis) develops.

Symptoms of psychosis include:

  • paranoia, or abnormal feelings of suspicion and fear;
  • hallucinations, or visions or other perceptions of things that are not really present;
    and uncontrolled anxiety that may lead to rage and violent behavior.
  • And the hallucinations are not only visual. Users may hear voices. They have also been known to tear their skin apart in search of imaginary "crank bugs" that they think they feel crawling all over their bodies.


What Causes Drug Abuse

What is common to all these pains and problems is the ABSENCE OF a better solution and an inability to resolve the original problem. Factually, what's missing was a real accessible solution to the problem in the first place.

There has long been a controversy surrounding the causes of drug abuse. Historically, it was thought that drug abuse was caused by lack of willpower, poverty, moral weakness, mental illness, genetics, family socialization, anti-social personalities, and societal problems. The truth is that all drugs affect a "reward mechanism" in the brain. Each time a person uses a drug, they feel good. This makes them want to use the drug again. The desire to feel good helps explain part of why people abuse drugs.

People abuse drugs for a number of different reasons. The most common reason why people abuse drugs is to "get high." Adolescents and preadolescents can become involved in experimentation with drugs. However, only a small percentage of people who experiment with drugs become drug abusers. The desire to get high may be from an underlying disease such as depression. It may also come from the pressures of coping with school, work, or family tensions. Getting high is a way to escape some other underlying problem.

Drugs are chemicals that have a profound impact on the neuro-chemical balance in the brain which directly affects how you feel and act. People who are suffering emotionally use drugs, not so much for the rush, but to escape from their problems. They are trying to self-medicate themselves out of loneliness, low self-esteem, unhappy relationships, or stress. This is a pattern that too often leads to drug abuse and addiction.

Recent scientific research shows that characteristics of the individual, rather than of the drug, play a dominant role in the causes of drug abuse. The social and psychological maladjustment that characterizes most frequent drug abusers precedes the first drug use. One study that tracked children from an early age to adulthood identified predictors of future serious drug use that could be identified in children's behavior as early as age seven.

Drug abuse results in changes within the user’s brain. The main chemical messenger involved in the brain's reward mechanism is dopamine. Over time, changes in the brain occur (e.g., less dopamine is produced) which lessens the pleasurable effects. This means larger amounts of the drug are needed to get the same pleasurable feeling.

Many people believe in the existence an "addictive personality” which is to blame for drug addiction. While this condition may exist, evidence shows that an "addictive personality" is a result, and not one of the causes of drug abuse. An "addictive personality" is often associated with poor self-esteem, trouble relating to people, a low tolerance for frustration, and a desire to escape reality. Many people abuse drugs following accidents, failures, breakups, losses of self respect, giving up on life goals, job problems, and the list goes on.

What is common to all these pains and problems is the ABSENCE OF a better solution and an inability to resolve the original problem. Factually, what's missing was a real accessible solution to the problem in the first place.

Source, Unknown

Irish Vote On Lisbon Treaty, Workers' Rights

Just like here in America, Ireland is going through some of its toughest times ever. The people of Ireland are fighting back, democratically, by holding a referendum, a vote, on October 2nd, 2009.
Irish workers want assurity, that their rights are protected. Under the Lisbon Treaty, workers rights throughout the EU are suggested, not protected. There is a huge base of contention, by the way, between workers throughout the nation and Ireland's banks. It's not only the right against the left. It's a basic war of terror brought on by financial entities against people who work for a living.
It seems money is to now be the democratic institution - not people, not religious organizations, not the educational system, not Ireland's form of government, not hospitals nor libraries - but banks.
I suggest, that we pass along the worn and true slogan:

Irish is one of the largest, if not the largest, ethnic groups here in the USA. Let us support our Irish brothers and sisters back home, in the back yard, across the street, at the store or at the corner homeless mission.
It's a proud time for the Irish!

Monday, September 21, 2009

When Is Dieting Not A Good Thing?

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Malnutrition?

  1. Irritability:
    Bad moods can happen to everyone, but if you are in a bad mood constantly, this may be a sign you are not getting enough nutrients to keep your energy sustained and your spirits high.
  2. Exhaustion:
    Eating regularly helps keep your metabolism active by burning the energy provided by nutrients in the food you eat to keep you moving along throughout the day. Denying yourself certain nutrients or any nutrients will cause you to feel tired and worn out before the day has even started.
  3. Weight Loss:
    Losing weight is likely the goal of your diet, but excessive weight loss and loss of appetite are major signs that you are malnourished. Consulting with a nutritionist, and following a set diet plan, will help you lose weight the right way while maintaining your appetite.
  4. Weak Muscles:
    Your body requires enough protein to repair wounds and grow muscle. Protein nutrients are essential to keeping you healthy and preventing you from feeling weak.
  5. Skin Changes:
    A good sign of malnutrition is how your skin changes. Skin is a vital, and sometimes forgotten, organ of your body and requires water and nutrients from the food you eat to keep you safe from viruses and bacterial infestations.
  6. Hair Changes or Loss:
    Putting your body in a state of malnutrition will cause your hair to fall out or become dry, brittle and dull.