The Role Of The Brain In Addiction

Technology has its mighty hand over every field in the world now. And since the base of technology is science, so how could medical sector not undergo changes! Neuroscience has always been an area of immense complexities and curiosities. Advances in this sector has allowed doctors to dig deeper into the brain and even study minutest of changes that happen due to substance intake.

When we talk about addiction as a brain disease, the reward system of the brain plays a very important role.

Physiologically, limbic system is the brain’s reward system. Mesolimbic and mesocortical pathways (Mid-brain) have our cognitive control and functions which would be both reward related and aversion related. Reward related functions are always stronger and more motivating than aversion, hence drug abuse behavior is stronger in addicts. The reward system connects certain structures in such a way that they generate the feeling of pleasure for certain behaviors or stimulus given to the body. In day-to-day life, it is activated by healthy, life-sustaining activities like eating and socializing. But ‘Drug Abuse’ is another behavior that generates euphoria, which is enjoyed by the mind. And human nature is to repeat those actions that give us some definite satisfaction. The limbic system does more than just giving a reward response. For any behavior to be reinforced, it has to be first registered as pleasant to the mind and body. Limbic system in the brain recognizes our positive and negative emotions, which very well explains, how our body and mind get dependent on any psychoactive mood altering substance.

However, with recent developments, neurobiology has been able to study how addiction is related to the brain. Researchers and scientists studied the brain’s reaction to different substances and discovered that drug abuse actually alters the chemical makeup of the brain, which is what causes addiction and they named it as a ‘Brain Disease.’

Since the brain is placed as the epicenter of human activity, it is the initiation point of every phenomenon that occurs. Whatever we feel, experience or think, all is first registered by the brain and within lesser than nanoseconds, it commands us to act. It communicates through neurons, neurotransmitters, receptors and transporters. Yes, it is very complicated and sounds mystical too (specially to people like me who have not studied biology after high school)

How do Drugs Affect the Brain?
Psychoactive substances interrupt with the communication systems of the brain. They interfere with the way a message is transmitted and sent to its defined destination. No matter how much people say that cannabis would not be called a drug, it is a plant, but the reality remains unchanged, which is, that everything has certain chemical composition. For example, Heroin and Marijuana’s chemical structure are like copies of a natural neurotransmitter. Amphetamines mimic catecholamine neurotransmitters, causing general physiological changes which prepare the body for physical activity and fight-or-flight response. So, the moment the body is intoxicated with a drug containing amphetamines or its derivatives, it starts reacting in unnatural ways by raising blood pressure, increased alertness resulting in sleeplessness, blood glucose levels. They can easily activate neurons, giving various directions to the body to react in a different way, than would a natural neurotransmitter would! Cocaine can make a person delirious, because it releases natural neurotransmitters in bulk and blocks the natural recycling process of neurotransmitters by the brain. Amphetamine causes drug tolerance very quickly and rapidly too.

Chronic addictive drug use causes alterations in the process by which information from a gene is used to synthesize a gene product- RNA or Protein. Nigrostriatal Pathway is a dopaminergic pathway that plays an extensive and unavoidable role in addiction. It comprises of Transcription Factor, which is a protein that controls what all information has to go from the DNA to the messenger RNA. Psychoactive substances block, many of the neural and behavioral alterations that are to be taken to the RNA. Altered dopamine transmission is the first thing that comes to notice in cases of drug abuse.

These have been many studies extensively done by medical science researchers on addiction. There is a wide range of chemicals that people use to reach a euphoric state. But the gist of it all is, that they play with the normal functioning of brain by altering the natural chemicals that ought to be there.

How Does the Reward System Work?
Whenever a person happens to do something that takes him to a different state of mind for a while, like reaching the oomph point in a sexually pleasurable activity, treating the taste buds with a new and a very different flavor or winning an excessive amount of money or any other valuable resource that he could use to be really rich, the brain takes it all in the same way. It activates the same gland and releases the same chemical Dopamine, which functions as a neurotransmitter, in all scenarios that seem to be pleasurable or exciting. Similarly, whenever the body receives an antibody that becomes too exciting for it like any drug, chemical or alcohol, the body releases certain amount of dopamine or cuts down its level. It is a problematic scenario is there is too much or too little of dopamine released by the brain. Drugs are addictive because they release up-to 10 times more dopamine than a natural neurotransmitter can! But when the body gets tolerant to the same drug and its amount, it can even cut down its normal release of dopamine!

Relapse Prevention Techniques for the Holidays

With the holiday season upon us, many people fall into the trap of picking up a drink or a drug. It’s tempting when you’re surrounded by friends and family and someone hands you a drink. Maybe your old friends are back in town and you go out for a fun night that quickly turns into smoking weed or something worse. There are relapse prevention techniques for the holidays that can help you or your loved one avoid those pitfalls. By strengthening your sobriety and overcoming your temptations, especially during the holiday season, you’ll be building a solid foundation for your future recovery.

You never know what’s going to happen over the holidays, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the New Year. Some people even experience the “Holiday Blues” which is a time of sadness during these festivities. It could be for a variety of reasons, from lack of family contact to loneliness or changes in the weather. This could lead a person to relapse because numbing the depression can seem like a quick and easy solution. For example, if you relapse on Thanksgiving, this doesn’t mean you have to continue using and beating yourself up over that mistake.

These temporary lapses of judgment don’t have to define you and there’s plenty of steps you can take to avoid a relapse. We’ve put together a couple of the most effective relapse prevention techniques for the holidays that you can add to your arsenal when feeling a craving or fighting a trigger.

Remember that preparation is the key to success. What are other ways to enjoy the day without drinking?
Practice the HALT technique: avoid being too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired before attending a holiday social event
Find new holiday activities and traditions that you may never have tried in the past which do not involve drinking alcohol (volunteer at a soup kitchen, go ice skatin

Oxycontin Addiction Help

This is a very powerful man-made opioid drug that has strong habit forming tendencies. Although you can get this illegally it is often prescribed by a physician as a pain medication to help relieve pain from arthritis, injuries, cancer, and other medical conditions. This is a brand name for oxycodone, which is a time-released formula that will give the patient up to twelve hours of relief from chronic pain. When it is bought illegally on the street the person can get the full effects of the drug because they destroy the time-release formula by crushing it, diluting it in water, snorting it, or injecting it. Whether it is by a prescription or gotten illegally on the street a person can become addicted to it.

When a person becomes addicted there are many different ways to get oxycontin addiction help. The first and most important thing is to actually want the help because if not treatment will not work or just work for a little while and the person will still be addicted and continue to abuse the drug.

Oxycontin addiction help

• Medications-the longer you are addicted to oxycontin the more the chemistry in your brain can change, making it more difficult to recover from the addiction. There are certain medications that can help to treat certain opiate cravings. Some of these include buprenophine, naltrexone, and methadone. A person will also have to treat any co-occurring or underlying mental health condition like bi-polar disorders, panic attacks, anxiety, or depression. Medications can also help with these problems. Taking these medications need to be monitored by a professional to make sure it is done correctly and the patient does not find themselves addicted to the medications that is used to help with oxycontin addiction.

• Behavioral treatments-these treatments include a wide range of things but many consist of cognitive behavioral and contingency management. Group therapy may also be involved as well as individual therapy sessions. The type of behavioral therapy that is used will tailored to fit each individual. Many times it is helpful if the patient has one-on-one therapy sessions with a psychologist, addiction counselor, or therapist. To completely recover from oxycontin addiction any emotional reasons for getting addicted should also be treated

Although it is possible to stop taking oxycontin cold turkey it is not advisable. You should seek oxycontin addiction help from a professional. If it is a prescription medication you should consult your physician first. They will be able to wean you from the medication slowly while you seek behavioral therapy treatments. They can also refer you to the right professionals for this type therapy. If you start to experience withdrawal symptoms the physician can prescribe painkillers that are non-opiate to help you out.

This article is penned by Lora Davis for Qualis Care. Going through drug addiction is difficult for everyone involved, and people of all ages can suffer from this disease. If you are looking for an oxycontin rehab in Louisiana or treatment center in Louisiana then Qualis Care is where you can find suitable treatment.

Heat Stroke: Common Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Heat stroke, also known as sunstroke, is a dangerous malady that happens when your internal body temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). Caused by high temperatures, if gone untreated, could lead to damage to many of your internal organs, including your brain. Avoiding this, especially in the hot summer months, is very important. The simplest way to ensure staying healthy is by drinking lots of water. Drinking water can be made more enjoyable by adding flavors, or by motivating yourself with a reward for drinking more than 8 cups of water each day.

Heat Stroke Symptoms

Vomiting
Headache
Confusion or agitation
Muscle weakness
Not sweating in the heat
Seizures
Nausea
Fast pulse or rapid breathing
Fainting
Loss of appetite

Heat Stroke Prevention

Stay hydrated! Staying hydrated prevents you from losing too much liquid in your body by sweating.
Wear loose clothing. As much as you want to wear as little clothing as possible, wearing loose, billowy clothing is actually much better for keeping you cool because of how little it actually touches your body, while also protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays.
WEAR SUNSCREEN!!! This should go without saying, but sunscreen should be applied regularly, and only contain SPF 30 or higher.
Try to avoid being outside. Less exposure to the sun means less risk.
Try not to drink very much alcohol or coffee. Both of these drinks are dehydrating, and being hydrated is one of your main defenses against heat stroke.
Avoid heavy exercise
Invest in a fan. For a floor fan, try this bestselling, oscillating one.
Eating foods with heavy water concentrations, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and celery

Heat Stroke First Aid

Call 911 immediately if you suspect someone has heat stroke. The longer you wait for medical treatment, the worse the condition.
Keep them as cool as possible. Move them to an air-conditioned area, if you can, or at least as far out of direct sunlight as you can find.
Put them in cold water, such as a shower or bath. Natural bodies of water work too, as long as they’re cold and the patient has no risk of drowning.
Fan them while spraying them with cold water.
Put them in an ice bath, BUT only if they got heat stroke from exercising. It’s dangerous to put children or senior citizens in an ice bath, and especially if it wasn’t sustained while exercising.
Put ice packs in sensitive places close to blood vessels. Ice packs are best around the neck, armpits, groin, back, and inner knees. You can buy a pack of 24 disposable ice packs, and keep them in your first aid kit in case of an emergency.
Have them drink lots of water
Check their body temperature regularly
Make sure they’re lying down, with their feet slightly propped up

Higher Risk for Heatstroke Included People with:

Diabetes
Alcoholism
High blood pressure
Physically exhausting jobs, such as gardening
Recreational drug usage
Mental illnesses
Certain medicines, including antihistamines, diuretics, SSRIs, antipsychotics, and heart medicine.

Never leave children or pets in the car on a hot day. Between the year 2000, and 2017, over 500 children have died from being left in the car. Pets, especially dogs, are even more susceptible to heat. The inside of a parked car can quickly reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Leaving a window cracked does not do very much, and it has been recommended that you bring your pet to the storefront, and leave it in the shade with a bowl of water, if possible. Children have occasionally been forgotten in the back seats of cars. There are many ways to avoid this, such as leaving your wallet in the backseat next to them. If a child is left on purpose in a car, the guardian can be liable to prosecution.

Swimming may be a good way to keep cool, but always remember to drink water and apply sunscreen. Another way to keep cool and have fun this summer is to explore some. Museums and libraries typically have air-conditioning, along with some interesting things you might not have seen before. Heat exhaustion is often a precursor to heat stroke, so if you feel fatigued after spending some time in the sun, get to someplace cool as soon as possible, and start rehydrating.

The Best Ways to Get Rid of Leg Cramps

Have you ever been struck by a sudden, painful leg cramp? Most of us have at some point, and it’s not a pleasant experience. All we can think about is how to get leg cramp relief. Most of the time the leg cramp will disappear as fast as it came. But what about those leg cramps that won’t go away no matter what you do? There is relief. Check out the leg cramp remedies below to find out what people have found most helpful. These leg cramp treatments have been tried and tested by millions of people for hundreds of years.

• Stretching

One of the reasons people get leg cramps is that they are overusing a particular muscle. So, if you are working on a specific task, try changing your position or using other muscle groups. If you are stationary or lying down, try to get up and stretch periodically. The key is that you don’t want your leg muscle overworked. At the same time, you don’t want your leg muscles lying idle, such as when you are sitting in a chair all day either.

• Water

Most of the time leg cramps are caused by dehydration. This one is an easy fix, but it’s something that a lot of people neglect. Try to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you continue to have cramps. A lot of people don’t like drinking water, so grab a drink such as Gatorade if you don’t like the taste of water.

• Hot or Cold

For those leg cramps that don’t seem to go away, a hot or cold press is sometimes needed. Take a cold towel or an ice pack and apply it to the area of the cramp. Sometimes a heat pack will work better. You will have to experiment to see what works best for you. You can buy small heating packs or even a small heating pad at Amazon.com relatively inexpensively if you shop around. An ice pack is generally used by most people, but buying a small heating pad could be a worthwhile investment.

• Massage

Massaging the area is the most common technique that most people try. The great news is that it works! Just remember to take it slow, and don’t apply too much pressure. You want to slowly work the leg cramp out. Gently massage the area surrounding the cramp and work your way directly over where it hurts. Don’t try to rush it. Go slow until the muscle starts to relax and you feel relief.

• Vitamins

Your muscles need a lot of different vitamins. Lack of vitamins, such as B12, have been associated with nocturnal leg cramps. You can take a multivitamin to help give your muscles the vitamins and minerals your muscles need. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medication. Allergies and other relevant information are important to let your doctor know.

• Keep Legs Warm During the Winter

Keeping your legs warm in the winter can also prevent leg cramps. No one is sure why the cold causes leg cramps, but many have speculated that the cold could cause the leg muscles to contract. Leg and foot warmers can be found at places such as Amazon or your local department store.

• Foot Bath/Soak before Sleep

If you decide to try a foot bath, make sure you use epsom salt. Epsom salt contains magnesium which will absorb into your skin to help with cramps. You can also try mixing in some apple cider vinegar which is high in potassium. These two minerals are electrolytes, which carry the electric signal to your brain for muscle contraction and relaxing.

• Moving

If leg cramps hit you at night, sometimes it’s good to get up and move around. A cramp is caused by a muscle not relaxing. So, by moving you can reset that process in your brain by causing the muscle to contract and then relax again.

• Calcium

A lack of calcium can cause leg cramps as well. Calcium is an electrolyte, which, when low, will not allow your leg muscles to relax. Eating foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, which are high in calcium, can help. If dairy products don’t work for you, eat things like broccoli, sardines, or kale, which are all high in calcium as well.

Most of the time leg cramps are caused by something that is preventing your muscle from relaxing, so you may need to experiment to see what works for you. Just remember to keep hydrated and try to stretch periodically throughout the day. If none of these methods work, then you may need to see a doctor. Sometimes a doctor can prescribe a vitamin that your body is lacking. So, follow up with your doctor if you feel that you may have a more serious problem.

How To Live An Overall Healthy Life

There are the obvious ways in which you can stay healthy and “live a long happy life,” but I want to talk about some of my favorite tips to being healthy. I know what it takes to be a healthy person, but it’s even hard for me sometimes. I read other peoples’ blogs sometimes to give myself motivation. Sometimes your mind isn’t enough. Sometimes you need other people to give you that push that you need to keep going. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: food and fitness are not the only aspects of health. I like to help people be healthy, but it’s going to take more than my words and my tips for you to follow through with your goals. One of my favorite tips is to cook meals that you know will fill you up. Also, make sure that it is something that you will enjoy eating, and that it will satisfy your cravings. The worst feeling ever is filling up on a bunch of food and realizing that you are still “hungry,” because you have a craving for something more. Listen to your body when it tells you it needs something sweet. There are healthy things that are sweet. Eat an orange! Another tip what I have for my viewers is to be honest with yourself. If you’re lying to yourself, how do you expect someone else to be truthful with you?! I’m talking honesty in all aspects. For example, for one, be honest with yourself if you need a cheat meal. It’s okay to have a cheat meal to get through the week. Your week is going to be just horrible if you are constantly drowning yourself in lettuce. That’s the physical aspect about being honest with yourself. The mental part about being honest is that you need to just be an honest person overall. You attract what you give. You don’t want to get caught up with what you think you want and what you really need. Also, do not put too much on your body (or mind) that it cannot handle. Only you know what is too much, what is just enough, and what isn’t enough. You have to push yourself in all aspects of life but not to the point of no survival.

Relationships are another huge aspect to living an overall healthy life. You accept the love you think you deserve. That is why it’s so important to not only have a healthy body, and a health mind, but also a love for yourself. You have to love yourself enough to know what you deserve. If someone isn’t making any positive contributions to your life, then in all reality, they have no point in being there. Also, if there are more negative aspects to a relationship rather than positives, it’s time to let go. Negativity in your relationships effects you more than you realize. It effects your confidence and your overall well being. Unfortunately, you are setting the standard for all of the following people to enter your life. They have to know how they need to treat you in order to stay in your life. If you allow people to walk all over you, they’re going to.

Another thing that I want to touch on is family. Some people in your life will come and go. Friends will most likely come and go. Boyfriends/girlfriends will come and go but family is blood and family is forever. You can’t get rid of them. You were put with them for a reason and they are there to get you through the times when you feel as if you have no one. Yes, you may fight with your family. In fact, I fight more with my family than I do with my friends. But, I also forgive them much faster than anyone else. I know that they know me better than anyone else. They’ve known me longer than anyone else in my life and so has your family. While sometimes you may feel as though they don’t know what you want… they know what you need and that’s more important.

Another huge part of living a healthy life is sleep. I’m sure you know that you’re supposed to get enough sleep every night, but did you know that too much sleep is horrible for you? Did you know that there is a significant correlation between too much sleep and weight gain. I don’t know the entire reason for that, but I do know that skipping breakfast is bad for your metabolism so I’m sure that that has something to do with it. For me, if I know that I have a long day ahead of me, I make sure that I get to bed very really. Ever since I got a Fitbit, I noticed how horrible my sleeping patterns are. Sometimes I’ll go to bed around 10 and wake up at 8 and I’ll still be exhausted. So, I check my Fitbit and I see that I only got 5 hours of sleep. I am obsessed with my Fitbit because it is so accurate. My dad wears one too and his says he gets good sleep, so it is different for everyone but I am so glad that I got one, because now I know why I have been so tired throughout the day after thinking I got 8+ hours of sleep.

So, with all of that being said, I want everyone to be the best person they can be. Follow all aspects of health and don’t just focus on the physical features. A healthy mind can mean a healthy life, too. I think everyone needs to focus more on the different parts of health. In fact, I would argue that weight is just a number. Muscle weighs more fat. People need to stop seeing the numbers on a scale as a representation of health. I learned to be happy with my weight, because I know that my body contains a lot of muscle. Once again, thank you for tuning in.

Never Kiss A Parrot

Beware pets that can become health pests!

Because if you give him an unwanted peck, he might give you Psittacosis. Whazzat? That’s another way of spelling ‘fatal attraction’… And while you’re about it, you might as well also watch out for (Ouch!) pussy’s claws, (Scratch, scratch!) leaping fleas, and (Eeeagh!) hairy-scary caterpillars…

If you are suddenly besieged by high fever, chills and a splitting headache, you’ll probably think you have malaria. Or even pneumonia. So might your doctor. Then he might embark upon a whole lot of anti-malarial drugs – even those for resistant malaria. You won’t get better, so he’ll switch over to strong antibiotics. Again, no go. Then you’ll both beat your foreheads in frustration. But, finally, if your physician is perceptive enough, he’ll ask you if you’ve got a bird. You’ll answer in the affirmative. Suddenly, his face will light up with a ‘Eureka’ expression. He’ll have just realised you’re suffering from Psittacosis.

Come again, you say, Psittacosis. It’s a disease that is passed on to man by birds. When parrots and parakeets are the culprits, sorry, carries, Ornithosis, is the word used. Other birds that carry this disease are pigeons and poultry (although it’s quite rare to get the disease from hens). Apart from the symptoms already mentioned, you could get a harsh, dry, intermittent cough and occasionally bring up a little sputum and even blood. There is generalised bodyache and the back and neck muscles could become stiff and painful, so the condition could even be mistaken by doctors for meningitis. Some patients feel tired, listless and depressed and complain of insomnia as well. With such a wide range of possible symptoms it’s easy to see how doctors can be misled. Especially when you consider that there could be even further complications of this illness – including pleurisy with effusion or water in the lungs, inflammation of the heart muscles or myocarditis membrane or pericarditis. The malady could even prove fatal. Actually kissing parrots, not washing your hands after handling birds (and their feeding dishes) before you sit down to lunch, and staying in extremely close proximity to them could make you a victim of psittacosis a week or two after contact, that’s how long the incubation period is. Occasionally, however, you could just get a mild ‘flu-like indisposition which might pass off by itself.

But why take chances? The disease can be diagnosed by getting an x-ray done; this shows a pneumonia-like picture. There is also protein in the urine. But the confirmatory test is a blood culture which reveals the causative bacteria. Otherwise, the overall picture of the disease can be confusing, since Psittacosis could be mistaken for Tuberculosis and Infectious mononucleosis as well as the other conditions listed above. Tetracycline is the best drug for this disease.

BEWARE OF PUSSY’S CLAWS!

Chances are you’ve heard of an ailment called cat Scratch disease, but is there really such a thing? Yes, there is, rare though it may be. All you need is a cat, sharp claws, some provocation and – OUCH! She’s raked her nails into you! What happens next? A tiny, pimple-like swelling may appear at the site of the scratch, approximately three to ten days later. Two weeks after this, the lymph glands in the neck (or armpits or groin) become swollen and painful. Very often, this is all that happens. But in some patients there may also be high fever, headache, nausea and exhaustion. Only five per cent develop a body rash that resembles measles.

A skin test confirms the diagnosis. A biopsy of the swollen gland may also be done as additional confirmation.

This ailment cannot be transmitted from one person to another, so there’s no need to isolate the sufferer. Usually, no treatment is needed, apart from giving medicines for the fever. The outcome is excellent. The swollen glands disappear spontaneously in two to six months. The subsequent immunity to this disease lasts a lifetime. On the whole, this is a very rare disease, so you needn’t throw out your poor feline.

WATCH OUT FOR THOSE LEAPING FLEAS

One can get a skin irritation from the fleas of dogs, cats and rats. Several people show no response to a flea bite, but in those who are sensitive, the flea’s saliva causes a tiny, raised, reddish swelling. There is intense itching, so they scratch the affected area again and again, introducing infection into the skin, which ulcerates or develops pustules. This condition is known as Flea Dermatitis. One can control the fleas by keeping the house and all pets scrupulously clean (oneself too!), regularly delousing one’s pets and their beds with powders or by using flea collars. The dermatitis is treated with soothing creams and anti-allergy pills.

STAY AWAY FROM MR. CATERPILLAR!

Caterpillars do seem to appear in the most unexpected places – like the chair in which you’re just about to sit, or on your sweater hanging out on the clothesline! Before you can say ‘hairy horror’, one has brushed against you. And left its stinging bristles deeply embedded in your skin. You feel a terrific burning pain in the area. Redness and urticaria (hives) develop. And the more you scratch, the deeper you push the hairs in. some enterprising victims employ dough, which is rolled in a to-and-fro motion over the area. Let me tell you an even better method, a sure-fire one – using sticking plaster. Just fix a strip of it to the skin where the hairs are embedded, press, lift off one end and pull sharply – presto, all the bristles come out and the itching soon subsides.

If left alone, the inflammation usually subsides in 24 hours, but in some people a severe allergy develops which may have to be treated with I.V. Calcium Gluconate. In less serious cases, anti-allergy pills and soothing creams help after the hairs have been pulled out.

There are millions hits on the internet search drive for Wellness – from mental to physical health, cardiac fitness, cancer, yoga, how to overcome certain ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, stoke, and tips on weight loss and how to grow taller, with many other ideas getting honorable mention. It takes quite a bit of research to find any one site that has so much to offer on all these fronts, let alone one that can combine all the needs for your innermost wellness – joy, bliss and beyond. For wellness’ sake you can stop looking out there, and take some time for yourself, a sort of one-stop-shop: BalancedLifestyleWikipedia.

Also, stay informed about genuine reviews of the trendy products like Lean Belly Breakthrough, Grow Taller 4 Idiots, bioptimizers masszymes and many more to nourish and transform your everyday self.

Ways Schools Can Fight A Drug Menace

A combination of factors, including the ease with which drugs can be procured, alienation and peer pressure, is driving American teens toward their abuse. As a result, adolescents in high school and college do drugs on the sly. In dorm and frat parties, it has become customary to pool all drugs – stolen from elder’s medicine cabinets, or procured from vendors or pill mills – before going on the adventure ride of a collective high. However, this fun and adventure comes at a cost. As most teens doing drugs are aware of the implications of the misdemeanor once caught, they do not report to the authorities in case a peer overdoses, resulting in tragic loss of young lives.

The problem of drug abuse has spread its deadly tentacles across schools, posing a significant threat to the future of children in terms of impact on their health, academics, career and personal life. In the wake of such a serious implication on the future of the society, many schools, despite the paucity of funds, have put together programs for spreading awareness and keeping drug abuse under check. While some approaches rely on prohibition and punishment, others stress on education and rehabilitation. The objective is to keep drugs off the campus and establish a solid foundation to empower individuals to resist such temptations.

As youngsters prefer engagement to long boring lectures, some of the means adopted by the schools are as follows:

Disseminating knowledge through antidrug assemblies: Antidrug assemblies are engaging means to showcase the grim consequences of drug-seeking habit. With addiction treatment doctors and recovering patients turning up as guest lecturers, students can have a realistic picture of how drugs take them away from their loved ones and cause impairment of cognitive skills, such as difficulty following instructions. Students get the opportunity to clarify their doubts during such sessions.

Educating children as early as possible: Considering the fact that most youths start doing drugs, smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol in school days, or when they are on the cusp of adolescence, it is the best time to drive home the dangers of doing drugs and other addictive substances.

Conducting self-reliance programs: Children who are confident about themselves are less likely to take drugs. Therefore, some programs stress on building the child’s self-reliance in all sorts of social situations. This helps them even under adverse peer pressure to not succumb to the temptation of doing drugs and say no to such activities firmly. Such programs are effective even in the long run as they teach children some essential life skills necessary for abstaining from drugs, alcohol, etc.

Stocking antidotes: As it makes no sense to shy away from the truth that youngsters, especially those in college, will be doing drugs irrespective of the controls, authorities are advised to stock up their supply of opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

Engaging children from families grappling with addiction: Instead of isolating a child with a problematic family, including members addicted to drugs, it is essential to engage him or her in all school or college activities. Irrespective of whether the child reports late to school or has problems with homework, a concerned and supportive school environment will mitigate the chances of the child falling into the same addiction cycle. Children of drug addicted families could also participate as guest lecturers in antidrug assemblies.

Focusing on building teen assertiveness: With the help of a trained child counselor and other professional services, schools could focus on providing training to teens to develop their assertiveness and emotional control level. This is not only handy in career building, but could also help the teen realize his or her worth. Teens who feel sad and befuddled have greater risks of taking drugs to feel successful or empowered.

Get help for drug addiction

Children run the increased risk of falling into the trap of drug addiction due to their emotional vulnerability and undeveloped brain still in the process of developing the key cognitive skills. It becomes essential for parents and teachers to listen and talk to their fears and emotional upheavals, rather than ignoring them as their tantrums.

The Inner Island Of Addiction

Addiction recovery is developing right now. New and older but still effective treatment plans are being researched and honed. Each type of addiction is studied to unlock the chemical hooks that entrap the user.

Prior research on the neurobiology of addiction has focused on the subcortical systems, such as the amygdala and mesolimbic/dopamine system, to understand the motivation to seek drugs. Recent evidence indicates that a largely overlooked structure, the insula, plays a crucial part in the conscious urges to take drugs.

The insula has been highlighted as a region that integrates bodily states into conscious feelings and into decision-making processes that involve uncertain risk and reward. It has been dubbed ‘the hidden island of addiction’ by researchers.

Addiction to drugs is at epidemic levels. Mobile morgues are handling overdose victims in some states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. By itself, cigarette smoking is the most common addictive behavior and is the largest preventable cause of death in the developed world. Some say nicotine is harder to give up than heroin. Its chemical hooks plunge that deep.

Drug addiction is a psychological imbalance that turns into a physical addiction. Compulsive use of drugs that persists despite negative consequences is the hallmark of addiction. Impaired driving is the awful choice many make.

‘Chemical use disorder’ is set of physiological and psychological processes, such as tolerance, withdrawal, constant urges and poor decision making. Each have distinct yet complementary roles in the development and maintenance of addiction.

For now, an addict’s best friend is knowledge. Choosing who to share information with is critical in getting actual help and not a damning lecture. Exposing an issue leads many to immediately shun the user. What has been described as ‘tough love’ has led straight to the cemetery or morgue for thousands upon thousands of families.

These ‘accidental addicts’ are the product of a profit-driven drug industry that is crippling our country. Oxycontin was introduced with a ‘low risk of addiction.’ My little sister ‘accidentally’ believed them and took what her doctor ‘accidentally’ prescribed. We buried her two years later.

There is no more time to blame the user until we preserve the innocent victims. Treat addiction as an imbalance, instead of a moral failing, that must be addressed by professionals. MAT-medication assisted therapy-is new but starting to prove effective in curbing active addiction.

Every addict tells the same story. Not one planned to get up, ingest a soothing chemical and completely destroy his life and everyone around him. It is a nightmare that is shared in recovery groups around the world.

Addiction treatment is like fishing in the boat with Jesus. If you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work, cast your net again. This time, a treatment option that works may be within reach. Be ready for it.

Intense Physical Activity Predisposes Teens to Substance Use Disorders

Regular physical activity is important for everyone as it boosts self-esteem, keeps active and energetic and lowers the propensity to serious illnesses. For teenagers, who go through a lot of hormonal changes and hence the issues related to mood and emotions, regular workouts help them deal with the physical and emotional challenges of everyday life. However, according to a new study, teens engaged in regular and vigorous physical activity are prone to develop substance abuse problems.

Members from the Royal Australian and New Zealand School of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) conducted a survey on nearly 3,500 teenagers and concluded that those who worked out for more than four days a week were susceptible to develop substance abuse problem. The researchers analyzed the physical activity of 14-year-old teens and then evaluated their mental health outcomes at 21 years.

Lead author Dr. Shuichi Suetani said that teens who engaged in high-intensity workouts were susceptible to drinking alcohol as young adults. This was found to be true especially for young girls.

Differing opinions

Dr. Matthew Dunn, senior lecturer in public health at Deakin University, and Dr. Mark Hutchinson, professor at Adelaide University’s Medical School, found that exposure to alcohol and drugs takes place because of environmental and societal pressures as well.

Dr. Dunn said that there is nothing new when it comes to sports and consequent exposure to harmful substances. He said that multiple sociocultural things could drive a teenager toward drug or alcohol abuse. As per him, if a teenager is a part of a club or a team that receives sponsorship from an alcohol company, there is an understated pressure to drink.

As per him, when an individual is around athletes and peers who abuse alcohol and other substances, one gets inevitably drawn to try these addiction-forming substances. However, when children are under supervision, they are less likely to go astray.

Dr. Hutchinson said that exclusive sports clubs and competitive environments could be the gateway to substance abuse. He is of the opinion that teens who follow the group mentality by mimicking other people’s unhealthy behavior could be damaging their future.

Children are impressionable and do not know how to say no to such advances or make sensible decisions. Moreover, their brains are still in a developing stage, so they can suffer from the consequences in a more serious way than adults. The affected teenagers may ultimately require affordable drug and alcohol treatment at good addiction facilities.

The RANZCP research also established that the serotonin release during an intense workout could be responsible for pushing the teens towards alcohol and other substances but the finding was refuted by Dr. Hutchinson because of dearth of data supporting the view.

Talking to teens about substance abuse

Teenage is a vulnerable time when many young boys and girls are not yet capable of making informed choices and are likely to feel disoriented later. Parents can play a pivotal role in guiding their children about the perils of alcohol and substance abuse. It is important to talk and keep the communication channels open.

Some ways in which parents can address this issue are:

Get involved in the child’s life without intruding. Set rules for partying, homecoming, friends’ time, play time and other activities. When children know that they are being monitored closely, they are less likely to indulge in substance abuse.
Parents should remind teens about the deleterious effects of alcohol and substances on physical health, academic and sports performance, social interactions as well as family and romantic relationships.
Parents should encourage their teens and show appreciation even when the achievement is small. Positive reinforcements can go a long way in keeping them away from negative influences.
Children should be encouraged to pursue a hobby, try a new activity and volunteer. Their screen time should be minimal and parents should know all the friends and acquaintances their child is mingling with.

Road to recovery

Use of alcohol and other substances can be detrimental to the functional and structural abilities of the brain, especially during the adolescence. It’s a phase full of emotional upheavals and physical transformations that increase the likelihood of indulging in wrong habits. Substance abuse can lead to legal troubles, financial woes, drop in grades, unsafe sexual practices and much more. It is therefore prudent to stay away from substances and seek immediate help when required.