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Drug Detox

Psilocybin Abuse

Psilocybin is a psychoactive substance contained in several species of mushrooms, which are consumed recreationally. Psilocybin/mushrooms are categorized as psychedelic drugs (or hallucinogens) and are considered to be a Schedule I controlled substance without any indications for medical use by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration 2. However, there is some evidence to suggest that it may have some therapeutic utility for some conditions, such as depression. Approximately, 1.2 million people over the age of 12 have been reported to be users of hallucinogens, and young people with a co-occurring major depressive disorder have been found to be more likely to use hallucinogenic drugs than those without that diagnosis.

These mushrooms containing psilocybin are typically ingested or drank as a brewed beverage. They are hallucinogenic and people consume it to experience a “good trip”, which are vivid perceptual effects (visual and auditory hallucinations) and changes in perception of time. Sometimes, user experience a “bad trip”, which comprise negative experiences while under the influence, and can have lasting effects on the user. Other symptoms include detachment from reality or self, feeling of spiritual experiences, intense emotions, increased respiration, temperature, and blood pressure, heart palpitations, tremors, loss of appetite, dry mouth, sleep disturbances, nausea, blurred vision, dilated pupils, loss of coordination, paranoia, and in extreme cases, psychosis. These users are prone to injury or death as a result of poor judgment while under the influence of psilocybin. Furthermore, they are also at increased risk of poisoning and potential death from accidentally ingesting a misidentified, poisonous mushroom.

These mushrooms containing psilocybin are typically ingested or drank as a brewed beverage

About 4.2% of the users experience what is known as the hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, which includes flashbacks or re-experiencing of psilocybin intoxication despite having abstained from magic mushroom use for an extended period of time.

Persistent use of psilocybin can indeed result in addiction. The signs of psilocybin addiction include craving for mushrooms and spending a lot of time and effort seeking them and using them despite failure to fulfill personal obligations, or having a concern for social/interpersonal problems or health issues. These abusers also repeatedly fail to cut down or quit using mushrooms.

Psilocybin/mushroom treatment becomes necessary for someone who abuses it to the point that they become out of touch with reality. The treatment plan is targeted at weaning them from psilocybin/mushroom dependency. The good news is that psilocybin is not that addictive, so there is no major chemical/pharmacologic dependence; however, the psychological dependence is quite strong. Things get complicated when there is polysubstance abuse. This is not uncommon in these users, as they tend to use other agents as well, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, stimulants or opioids. Such users would always require a rigorous detox program and rehabilitation in order to have a full recovery. There are various programs especially designed to address not only these addiction issues but also the underlying psychological issues that predispose them to addiction in the first place.

What is Social Detox?

Social detoxification is a non-medical type of detox program and involves the individual stopping the use of the drugs entirely while under the care of treatment professionals. While being a social method, it involves professionals providing the patient with emotional and psychological support throughout the withdrawal process without any therapeutic intervention.

This method has shown some degree of success but it’s not without its challenges. There remains a significant potential for a withdrawal syndrome and given the lack of a proper setting, may be difficult to manage. The spectrum of withdrawal symptoms varies depending on the specific drug and can be severe and potentially life-threatening. Furthermore, there is a chance that a user who is going through detox in this method may relapse in an effort to relieve their symptoms and cravings for the drug. What’s worse yet is that these individuals have a propensity to overdose when relapsing, making it an even more critical situation.

These management programs can handle serious conditions such as seizures, which is a withdrawal symptom for a number of commonly abused substances
Another aspect of substance use disorder recovery management to keep in mind is that significantly long period of abstinence leads to a marked decrease in the patient’s tolerance level, which can be extremely dangerous as it predisposes to inadvertent potentially lethal overdosing.

Social detox approaches are also poorly equipped to address potential development of psychological issues over the course of withdrawal. These include mental health issues such as depression, suicidal ideation or attempts, anxiety, delirium, and insomnia. Apart from psychological issues, medical complications may also arise during withdrawal. Therefore, it is not advised to perform social detox for the management of withdrawal from alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or opioids.

Conversely, these patients need to properly diagnosed and a personalized detox and recovery program needs to be designed keeping their personal, medical and social needs in mind. Medical detox provides patients with a structured environment, proper medication and full ancillary support to address all aspects of substance use disorder recovery. These management programs can handle serious conditions such as seizures, which is a withdrawal symptom for a number of commonly abused substances. Furthermore, if the patient were to become delirious you are able to provide optimal care right away. Confused, agitated states can lead to accidents, erratic behavior, and possibly violence. Being unsupervised in social settings while in that condition is dangerous.

In many of these settings, pharmacologic intervention is necessary, whether it is for the pain, other symptoms or for choosing a drug of lesser strength to avoid a dangerous withdrawal syndrome. This is true for heroin addiction for which methadone is used. Methadone is a full opioid agonist that attaches to and activates opioid receptors in the brain, which decreases cravings and reduces unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This requires careful monitoring and assessment on a regular basis and can only be dispensed by opioid treatment programs (OTPs). Buprenorphine is another such example where a partial opioid agonist is given to produce a less pronounced opioid effect than a full agonist, such as methadone. Suboxone is a formula containing a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, a medication that blocks opioid effects.

Using these therapeutic options can be necessary for the right patient given his/her situation and administering these drugs requires a controlled environment and supervision by experienced staff, none of which a social detox method provides.

Methods of Drug Detox

There are various types of drug detox programs depending upon the drug or substance of use. These methods can be very effective if chosen for the right condition. In addition to the type of the drug of abuse, other factors that play a role include the dose taken at the time the patient starts detox, the duration of addiction, and if there is polysubstance abuse determine the most appropriate type of detox. Some of the detox methods include “Cold-Turkey” detox, short-term medicated detox, long-term medicated detox, etc.

The “cold turkey” detox method entails stopping the use of all drugs with no pharmacologic assistance and with only medical care available for emergency situations. These patients experience the full brunt of the withdrawal symptoms with no help from supportive therapy. That makes it a feasible option for less intense addictions but for the rest, the cold turkey detox is not suitable and can be counterproductive, in fact dangerous.

It is important to make sure that first of all, the diagnosis is correctly made, and underlying medical conditions are addressed
Medical detox, on the other hand, is different because patients who opt for medical detox stop taking their substance of use but as they experience withdrawal symptoms, they are able to take certain medications for a limited period of time to ease discomfort. This is why this program is better tolerated and can handle slightly more intense forms of addictions. It is important to note that the medications administered/prescribed in this program are primarily for symptomatic relief, such as non-addictive sleep medication for insomnia or anxiety. The main idea is to minimize the degree of discomfort as these patients are detoxing.

If an alcoholic is undergoing medical detox, they are commonly given benzodiazepines to alleviate anxiety, jitteriness, insomnia, and to treat or prevent seizures, and they have a cross-tolerance with alcohol. However, in order to treat the use of opioid drugs such as heroin and prescription opioids, these medications have to be taken longer-term, especially partial agonists, such as methadone or the drug combination buprenorphine and naloxone (Suboxone). But over time, as the detox continues, they’ll often require lower doses of medication until they’re eventually drug-free.

It is important to make sure that first of all, the diagnosis is correctly made, and underlying medical conditions are addressed, then the right type of detox program is chosen. Regardless of the type of detox program chosen, it has to be done under the supervision of a medical professional.

Both these detox types can be carried out with the patient being at home, but it may not be the best option. The reasons for that are that it may not be entirely safe, given the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms or relapse with an overdose. It is also less effective given the higher chance of noncompliance. Overall, professional detox is safer, better tolerated and more effective in the end. Choosing the right professional detox is key, however. And at Pacificbayrecovery.com, we provide highly professional, evidence-based care to these patients.

Drug Detox for Women

While it is true that men in the United States report higher rates of drug abuse (7.7% of American men vs. 5% of American women), substance use disorder is a significant problem for women as well. A woman goes to the emergency room after abusing prescription painkillers every 3 minutes in the USA. There are approximately 15.8 million adult women per year reported to be using illicit drugs. The most commonly used substance is alcohol (33.3%), followed by heroin (15.3%), marijuana (14.6%), prescription painkillers (13.8%), cocaine (9.3%), methamphetamine/amphetamines (8.6%), etc.

Women have a different clinical presentation of their substance use disorder. They tend to have a shorter history of abusing alcohol and drugs than men, yet they are likely to develop more severe physical, emotional, behavioral, and social problems compared to men. The spectrum of symptoms and signs may also differ between women and men in any given substance use disorder. Women are also more likely than men to suffer from comorbid mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, eating disorders and particularly polysubstance abuse. It has also been noted that many women begin abusing drugs as a means of self-medication for these disorders.

Women with substance abuse problems may be more susceptible to rape, given their vulnerable state overall
All patients of substance use disorder, regardless of their gender, suffer from social problems, financial issues, mental and behavioral health disorders, malnutrition, hepatitis, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, female patients have these additional unique challenges, including having a higher rate of adverse physical effects on their cardiovascular system. They are also more likely to overdose and more sensitive to certain substances. Women with drug and alcohol addiction may be more likely to face certain financial and legal problems. This becomes even more problematic when they have children. Women with substance abuse problems may be more susceptible to rape, given their vulnerable state overall. A recent study reported that approximately 73% of female drug abusers that were surveyed had a history of rape, of whom 35% were raped while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To makes matters worse, women engaging in substance abuse may face unplanned pregnancies as a result of poor safe sex practices due to lack of awareness/resources or while under the influence.

Female patients are also prone to pregnancy complications, leading to negative outcomes for both the mother and the developing baby. These women who abuse drugs during pregnancy are more likely to experience high blood pressure, migraines, and seizures. Their fetuses are prone to having low birth weight, birth defects, developmental delays, etc. There is a 2-3 times higher risk of stillbirths in these cases.
All of these problems are made worse by several barriers to treatment faced by women. To begin with, women are generally less likely to seek treatment than men, which may be in part due to social stigmas, childcare responsibilities, financial difficulties, transportation issues, lack of interpersonal or familial support, just to name a few.

Special care should be provided to female patients in order to improve compliance, comfort and overall chance of recovery. Some female-specific supportive approaches include onsite childcare, parenting classes, special care for pregnant/nursing mothers or those who are victims of rape, domestic violence, etc. In addition, vocational training, income support, housing assistance, social services, family and couples therapy are also very useful in helping these patients.

Odds of Dying from Opioid Overdose Surpasses Automobile Accidents

Death rate statistics in the United States now point to a startling turnaround with the likelihood of dying by opioid drug overdose surpassing the chances of dying in an automobile accident. Automobile accident deaths have long been the balancing point in conversations around the country. It is frequently said that a person has more chances of dying in an automobile than they do in an airplane. This is true.
You also hear that automobile deaths are the number one cause of preventable death. That is no longer the case, according to the Odds of Dying report put out by the National Safety Council (NSC). Opioids, their numbers say, are now the No. 1 preventable death threat in the United States.

The numbers are not only scary today, but the numbers have been on a rampage since 2011, coinciding with the arrival of street market fentanyl, which has proved to be as lethal as any illicit drug in the country. Put another way: The odds of dying by opioid overdose have probably not peaked yet. The problem, in part, is getting the message out to the public. “I can tell you without hesitancy, the general public does not like death rates,” Pain Medicine News quoted NSC statistics manager Ken Kolosh as saying. The aim of the NSC is, in fact, to put statistics in a manner in which the public can fully grasp their meaning. As such, the numbers are frightening, as they should be.

Opioids, their numbers say, are now the No. 1 preventable death threat in the United States

It breaks down this way: The U.S. population was approximately 326 million in 2017. The number of accidental opioid-related deaths came to 43,036 that year. Simply divide 326 million by 43,036 and you get one in 7,569, which are the odds of dying of an opioid-related overdose in the entire year. When you divide that by the average life expectancy, which is 78.6 years, you get one in 96. That’s the odds of dying of an opioid-related accident for someone born in the United States in 2019. Do the same numbers for other causes of death and you have heart disease, a one in six chance; cancer a one in seven chance, chronic respiratory disease one in 27, suicide one in 88. If born in 2019, the odds of dying in an automobile accident are one in 103.

Further, the odds of dying in an automobile accident have been improving over the last 10 years, while the odds of dying from overdose have been getting worse … and worse. According to the CDC, there were 47,600 opioid-related overdoses in 2017, which is 67. 8 percent of all drug overdoses. Are we done being scared? Absolutely not. But Pacific Bay Recovery is absolutely confident we have the team in place to turn your drug or alcohol addiction around.

Confidence and fear do not cancel each other out. We certainly know this is tough. We know this is difficult. We know you did not start out life seeking to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. We know how difficult this can be. We know this is scary, but we also know and abide by one absolute: Emotions can change. What if the source of your fear today – facing recovery – becomes a source of your proudest accomplishment in the future? We understand you are scared today, but how will you feel when you get back on your feet when you find you are no longer beholden to any mood altering substance or behavior?

Recovery is scary on day one. It’s scary on day two. It’s frightening for a while. We can help you get through those early fears and move on to a full, fruitful, healthy life in the future. What may seem scary, depressing and isolating today will look very different in the future. Recovery is about restoring hope. It’s about waking up every day with hope in your heart. Every day you have regained control of your life is a day of hope. You can win this struggle.

Don’t be a statistic. Call Pacific Bay Recovery, San Diego’s top drug and alcohol recovery program. Call 858-263-9700 today.

Detoxification of Drug Use – What Steps are Necessary for Healing

Drug users have one thing on their minds - how and when will they get their next “high”.

Partying too many nights in a row during our college years …. Normal, yes! Staying out with friends and consuming too much alcohol, is tried by many people.

Getting asked to try drugs – now, that is a different animal altogether. Drug addiction is like a ferocious lion, that rears is loud roar constantly throughout the day until you feed it a pill, shot, hit or fix.

Drug users have one thing on their minds – how and when will they get their next “high”.  They fixate on thoughts of feeling euphoric, altering their state of being and the waves come crashing in around them.  Some are running from their past, carrying unnecessary baggage, numbing from tumultuous life situations and ultimately becoming addicted.

Addiction is not just being dependent upon “street drugs”, plenty of Americans become enslaved to prescription drugs, as well.

Users experience pleasurable sensations due to addiction itself or running away from painful life situations, they have not been able to find a solution for.

When users experience withdrawal, the side effects can be painfully excruciating.

Withdrawal Symptoms can Include the Following:

◻Feeling jitters/shaky/unable to control tremors

◻Headaches

◻Insomnia

◻Stress/anxiety/thoughts of suicide

◻Nauseous/flu-like symptoms/cramping in the abdominal area

◻Irritable

◻Sweating – like you are drenched – “more than a normal”

◻Blurred vision

Unfortunately, if users do not get to a detox center or treatment facility, where they will work on safely detoxifying – they could die.  Detoxing your body of harmful toxins is very challenging.  The process can be tricky and lengthy.

Drugs are depressants, just like alcohol and they alter chemicals in our body, increasing our adrenaline and producing erratic states of being.  Drug users are unpredictable and can cause bodily harm to themselves and others.

First step:  you must accept the fact and admit that you are an addict.  If we continue to lie to ourselves, we can’t face the reality of seeking proper treatment.  You must want to change your life and stay clean and sober.

Ouch …. What a major hurdle to step over but if we don’t admit our problem, it will never go away.  We will be running from ourselves for the rest of our lives. Wherever we go, there we are!  Everything becomes a blur, memories are forgotten or very distant and we isolate to hide our addictions.

Trained clinicians and passionate healthcare employees make a significant difference, on the road to recovery

Trained clinicians and passionate healthcare employees make a significant difference, on the road to recovery.  Here at  https://www.pacificbayrecovery.com/ we assist you in navigating successful care of life-altering addition.

Being just a number makes us feel less than, not important or cared for.  Here at Pacific Bay Recovery, we utilize a different approach to healing. You are treated as an individual, not an addict.  Each person that walks through our doors, is designed a different treatment recovery plan that is tailored specifically for them.

We want our patients to feel welcome, a part of instead of apart from and included like family.

We are here to help you succeed on your road to recovery!  We believe in you and will be here every step of the way.

Should you have any additional questions please send us a message https://www.pacificbayrecovery.com/contact/

Demi Lovato Hits Rock Bottom — Overdose Serves as a Wake-up Call

 

There is much work to be done and it will take a lot of courage, dedication and fierce resisting of temptations, while learning to recover from abusing drugs

Is it getting hot and saucy in here?  Time to turn up the heat at this party or cool it down to subzero?  Cocktails, slinky skirts, intellectual convos, and working with high-end elite, are what’s in the game.  However, it tends to be the things we don’t say, that could hurt us most.  When we hide behind life’s tremendous tribulations, drowning them with alcohol and drugs and wishing our burdens would magically diminish.  The latest Hollywood icon, Demi Lovato, a 25-year-old popstar, (singer, songwriter, and actress) opens our eyes to the reality of overdose!

Feeling invincible, experiencing fancy liquid courage and posh lifestyles, are all a part of glorifying celeb life.  Turning to a few drinks makes life easier to manage and keeps stress at bay. Drugs…. That is another beast to face and one Demi felt must have been her only solution.  What she wasn’t prepared to do was face rehab, the tumultuous road that lies ahead, towards a healthy journey and making positive decisions that will help her to heal.

Demi has been urged to check herself into a rehab facility after she leaves Cedars – Sinai hospital.  She has a laborious decision to make?  Heal or hurt and the choice is all hers!  Facing rumors, paparazzi, holding ceiling height standards and being in the limelight cannot be easy.  But, there won’t be any of that if she continues on this path.

R E H A B …. A scary word for some, comfort for others!  Perspective is everything when it comes to discussing your road to recovery!

There is much work to be done and it will take a lot of courage, dedication and fierce resisting of temptations while learning to recover from abusing drugs!

In the program, we want to make sure patients don’t “fall off the wagon” again.  At our facility, https://www.pacificbayrecovery.com/ we strive to “Navigate successful care of life altering addiction.”

A healthy lifestyle starts from within; loving ourselves, healing the parts of our past, learning how and who to forgive, not continuously stuffing our backpacks, exercising self-care and learning to say NO (it is a complete sentence).  What we think and speak about, we bring about.  If we are facing chaos and disconnect, we tend to isolate and learn to numb our feelings.

Rehab MUST be our solution to a better life.  The key is to learn from compassionate experts (like the ones at Pacific Bay Recovery) who want to see you rehabilitate your mind and body.

Phrases are used, such as “Keep coming back and one day at a time” for motivation and to stay clean and sober.  Alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful and drugs are 10x worse than that.  Our clinicians and social workers need to be reassured that all patients grow through our treatment program!

Selecting abstinence from drugs is grueling.  Changing your habits is difficult.  Owning your stuff and making shift occur, won’t be a walk in the park.

Places such as PBR are here to help, not hurt.  We offer several treatment services and powerful programs that will fit your recovery needs. While we do have an incredible success rate – we want you to feel safe and will answer any questions you have.  You can contact us for more details https://www.pacificbayrecovery.com/contact/.

We believe in your progress and will help you on the road to getting your life back.

Undergoing Medical Detoxification

The process of medical detoxification, or medical detox, is the first step in substance dependence and addiction which allows for an affected individual to adjust to a life without alcohol and/or drugs.

The process is performed slowly under the care and supervision of a trained and experienced healthcare professional. This is done to allow patients the opportunity to withdraw from their addictive substances without having to experience too severe withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms

An important aspect to take note of is that every addiction is based on the individual and every withdrawal experience is different. Not everyone goes through the same withdrawal process and the severity of symptoms will depend on factors such as the type of drug used, the frequency of its use, how long the substance was used for, and if there is any underlying pathology.

The following are possible withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced depending on the substance that is abused:

  • Alcohol – fever, rapid heartbeat, and confusion.
  • Opioids/narcotics – excessive sweating, muscles aches, anxiety, abdominal discomfort, and agitation.
  • Methamphetamine – uncontrollable shaking, dry mouth, sweating, fatigue, and insomnia.
  • Cocaine – malaise, increased appetite, fatigue, and agitation.

Some other withdrawal symptoms that patients may experience can include:

  • Muscle tremors.
  • Depression.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

process is performed slowly under the care and supervision of a trained and experienced healthcare professional

Some patients may stop experiencing these issues after a few days or weeks, while others may end up struggling with symptoms that linger on for months. The period of time one may ultimately experience the withdrawal symptoms may last longer than anticipated without medical support and this can lead to relapsing back into bad habits.

Severe withdrawal symptoms that warrant definite medical intervention and support include:

  • Severe psychological distress.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures or convulsions.

In the event of such issues, a medical detox administrator can ensure the safety of a patient and reduce the chances of a relapse.

How Does Medical Detox Work?

The following steps take place during a medical detoxification:

  • A trained medical practitioner will take charge over the entire withdrawal process starting with a patient’s history, current health status, and substance use history.
  • The patient will be examined and investigated further if required to rule out and manage any acute and/or chronic medical issues. Any fluid and electrolyte imbalances will also be managed here.
  • A custom detox process will be initiated for the patient to minimize the side effects of the withdrawal process as well as encourage a permanent state of recovery.
  • Depending on the substance that the patient is addicted to, tapering off the drug may be required in order to prevent any severe withdrawal effects from developing. This is especially important for substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and methamphetamine.
  • Once the patients have their withdrawal symptoms under control, they will start to take part in other substance rehabilitation services such as psychotherapy and occupational therapy.

Without having to worry about physical and psychological symptoms of the withdrawal process, the patient can then start to focus on their mental health, long-term recovery plan to avoid relapses and to rebuild their lives and relationships with family members and friends.

The Dangers of Abusing Prescription Stimulant Drugs

 

The most commonly abused prescription stimulant medications include amphetamines (Dexedrine and Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta).

The amphetamines and methylphenidate are used to manage medical conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and works by changing the amounts of specific neurotransmitters (hormones) in the brain. The medication’s function then is to:

  • Help increase an affected person’s ability to pay attention.
  • Control behavioral problems.
  • Allow the patient to stay focused for a longer period of time.
  • Reduce daytime fatigue and for this reason, is also indicated for those patients who struggle with narcolepsy.

Methylphenidate can also be prescribed off-label to help manage treatment-resistant cases of:

  • Major depression.
  • Bipolar mood disorder.

Use by Students

These prescription stimulants are sometimes used by students to help enhance their mental abilities in order to improve their concentration for purposes of studying. There are individuals who state that denying these students the medications, who are essentially not struggling with any conditions that the medications are indicated for, would be denying them the opportunity to better themselves academically.

However, if one is to prescribe individuals who do not exhibit any pathology medications that alter their brain chemistry, then one is bound to expose them to certain adverse effects.

Dependence and Addiction

Psychological dependence and addiction to amphetamines and methylphenidate are possible, especially if taken at high doses as a recreational drug. As with all addictive drugs, dependence on prescription stimulants causes changes in the brain’s neurotransmitter levels and this leads to addictive behavior.

Overdose

Addiction can lead to an overdose of prescription stimulants. This can result in central nervous system overstimulation which can cause issues such as:

  •        Agitation.
  •        Tremors.
  •        Vomiting.
  •        Muscle twitching.
  •        Euphoria.
  •        Increased reflexes.
  •        Confusion.
  •        Delirium.
  •        Hallucinations.
  •        Hyperthermia.
  •        Flushing.
  •        Sweating.
  •        Headaches.
  •        Heart palpitations.
  •        Rapid heart rate.
  •        Abnormal heart rhythm.
  •        Elevated blood pressure.
  •        Dry mucous membranes.

A severe overdose which will require immediate medical attention may result in the following problems:

  •        Increased core body temperature.
  •        Paranoia.
  •         Convulsions.
  •         Repetitive movements.
  •         A severe drop in blood pressure.
  •         Rapid muscle breakdown.
  •         Sympathomimetic toxidrome or an adrenergic storm which is a rapid increase of epinephrine levels in the body which causes the heart rate to spike and possibly become abnormal.

Fortunately, a prescription stimulant drug overdose is rarely fatal if one receives the appropriate medical care.

Rehabilitation

Becoming addicted to prescription stimulant drugs can become problematic, especially when the medication is taken in higher than required dosages as this can lead to the above-mentioned problems.

There are rehabilitation centers available where inpatient rehabilitation is offered. This will be beneficial to patients who are addicted to prescription stimulant drugs as the following services will be made available to them:

  • Safe withdrawal from the stimulant drug.
  • Management of any underlying mental health issues or stressors.
  • Psychological counseling to aid in the development of coping skills.
  • Time and study management or any other advice regarding everyday tasks and functions so that one doesn’t have to rely on taking stimulant drugs on a recreational basis.

 

The Relationship Between Psychiatric Conditions and Substance Abuse

Substance abuse disorder is a condition associated with individuals becoming addicted to certain substances such as alcohol and/or drugs. Addiction is defined as individuals partaking in these mentioned substances, because they have become dependent on them, and results in the affected person becoming socially withdrawn, experiencing breakdowns in relationships with friends and family, as well as committing actions that can get them into trouble with the law.

When a substance abuse disorder occurs together with any underlying mental health conditions then this is referred to as dual diagnosis (also called dual pathology or co-occurring disorders). Mental health illnesses may include:

  • Major depression
  • Bipolar mood disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Confirming the diagnosis of dual pathology may be challenging since substance abuse disorders may initially induce signs and symptoms of psychiatric conditions. Affected patients may then be regarded as having a substance abuse issue until such time as a complete and adequate medical history is taken from them to determine if the condition presented on its own or together with an underlying psychiatric disorder.

Issues Faced by Patients with Dual Pathology

These patients, compared to those with mental or substance abuse disorders alone, are faced with complex challenges such as:

  • An increased relapse rate.
  • An increased risk of being hospitalized.
  • Being exposed to illnesses such as hepatitis C and HIV.

Theoretical Causes of Dual Pathology

The following are theories that can help explain the relationship between mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders:

  • Causality – it is suggested that certain types of substance abuse can lead to specific mental conditions. An example is the use of cannabis leading to mild psychotic experiences although it isn’t proven to cause psychotic disorders.
  • Exposure to multiple risk factors – exposure to certain risk factors can lead to both mental health and substance abuse conditions and these may include poverty, social isolation, associating with drug abusers, living in areas with high drug availability, and traumatic experiences like sexual abuse.
  • Self-medicating – abusing medications used to help alleviate symptoms of mental health conditions may lead to the development of a substance abuse problem. Also, certain medications may be used to counter the side effects of certain psychiatric drugs and this can also lead to substance abuse.
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – up to 25 percent of patients with a substance abuse disorder are known with ADHD. A reason for this is because ADHD is associated with an increased craving for drugs. Treating both these issues is difficult and unfortunately, these patients have poorer outcomes.
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – as opposed to ADHD, ASD reduces the risk of an affected individual developing a substance abuse disorder. The reason for this is believed to be that ASD presents with a person lacking sensation-seeking personality traits and this helps to protect against abusing substances. It should be mentioned though that certain types of substance abuse, especially that of alcohol, can cause or worsen certain neuropsychological symptoms that are common in patients diagnosed with ASD.