ecstasy and teens

Your Teenager and MDMA (Ecstasy): Understanding the Party Drug

Teenagers are often highly experimental and risk-taking individuals. At times, their desire to try new sensations can lead to drug taking. Feelings of depression, anxiety or a need to fit in with a social group can also be factors in drug consumption. Along with alcohol and marijuana, MDMA or Ecstasy has become one of the most popular drugs of choice for adolescents. Understanding what it is, why it appeals to this age bracket and what the side effects are can assist you in determining how to deal with your teenager’s drug habit.

What is MDMA?

MDMA is the clinical term for the chemical substance more commonly known as Ecstasy, as well as Adam or the Love drug. It is produced in laboratories, sold as pure MDMA or mixed with other drugs from caffeine and amphetamines, to cocaine, heroin and speed. The substance works similarly to the drug Prozac in stimulating the seratonin receptors in the brain. According to the MDMA association, the drug “is usually taken orally as a tablet, a capsule or a powder.” The pills often look like candy. They have pictures or logos stamped on them to appeal to youth.

Why is it Popular?

MDMA is considered to be a party drug. It is usually consumed at large gatherings such as raves. <href=”#MDMA_abusers”>When someone is on Ecstasy, they can be suffused with feelings of warmth and emotional intensity. Teenagers report increases in energy, euphoria, talkativeness, high sociability and the capacity to dance or engage in sexual activity for an extended period of time. They can also experience a racing heart, a clenched jaw and nausea or dizziness. At times they hallucinate. The “effects of MDMA last 3 to 6 hours,” states the MDMA site, though teens will often take more than one pill to lengthen the effects. Additionally, the drug is cheap. One pill can cost as little as five dollars in Canada.

What are the Side Effects?

When on Ecstasy, the greatest danger for a teenager is dehydration. The drug saps bodily fluids and, as it is often taken in over-heated and crowded environments, the dangers of dehydration increase. Fainting or blacking out is also common. Over-consumption of water at these times can be deadly too, while alcohol taken in combination with ecstasy is to be avoided. For days after the drug is taken, your teenager may suffer from depression, difficulties sleeping and concentrating, and mood swings including bouts of aggression and potential paranoia. Long term effects for addicts can include liver or brain damage. A survey from the US Drug Enforcement agency “indicates that 6.3% of high school students reported using MDMA at some point in their lifetimes.” These statistics appear to be on the rise. If your teenager is using ecstasy, discuss counselling and anti-depressant options with them and your family doctor.

crack addict

Can One Live with a Crack Addict? The Unlikelihood of Healing from Crack

Crack addiction devastates families, jobs, relationships and health. Unfortunately, treatment programs are rarely successful and tough love is the only true option.

Crack addiction is the most terrible drug dependency there is in North America today. Crack is initially cheap to buy, easy to prepare and smoke, and instantly makes the user into an addict. Once addicted, less than 10% of crack users stop smoking the drug for good and change their lives. The remainder continue to go on binges which destroy their families, health and futures.

Why is Crack so Addictive?

Unlike cocaine or heroin, which is usually snorted or injected, crack is smoked from a pipe. Those individuals who already smoke nicotine or marijuana, are already susceptible to readily falling into the crack smoking habit. If they are prone to other addictions, especially to social drugs like alcohol, then their transition to crack is that much more straightforward.

Crack is often very easy to obtain and a rock can be bought for as little as $40-60. Of course, the high only lasts approximately seven minutes, thus the user quickly needs more crack. Crack binges often persist for several days before the user runs out of money. Then they either start selling or pawning things, including their bodies, or they begin to steal. At times, they straighten out when the money is gone for at least a period of time. By this point, they may have fallen into sex trade work or pornography, addiction to other drugs and a state of uncleanliness, poor nutrition, weight loss and insomnia.

Crack rarely causes withdrawal symptoms, apart from irritability and other minor reactions, thus it’s easier for the user to convince themselves that they don’t have an addiction or that it isn’t a serious problem. Of course, over the long term, crack use can cause a devastating range of symptoms, leading inevitably to heart failure and death.

Can Crack Users Recover?

Those who love the addict who has turned to crack are faced with a terrible decision. Does one listen to the user’s pleas for assistance, help towards recovery, perhaps with a 12-step program, respond to their implications of guilt, have hope? Or does one reject them and attempt to create a new life apart from them? Many people will give a crack addict a chance. The first time they fall into the habit, it’s easy to believe that they are sincere in their desire to quit. They may go to rehab, change their routine, cut up their bank cards, destroy their phone books or make other vital alterations to prove to their partners and families that they wish never to return to crack.

However, the sad fact is that the majority use crack again, within weeks, months or years after quitting. A stressful event may trigger their renewed addiction, or a damaging personality disorder, but, in the end, there’s no excuse that a user can make for their deadly habit, no one they can blame but their own weakness that has lead them into using a drug over which they have no true control.

Love will not heal them. One has no choice but to leave and hope that when they hit rock bottom they will seek assistance and eventually live a normal life, to accept that their drug use is not one’s responsibility, regardless of how much one may care for the individual. Families and spouses get readily caught up in the user’s web of deceit, cruelty, lies, hunger for money, sex and power. Cut ties with the crack addict to survive.

opiate addiction

From Heroin to Oxycontin – The Evolution of Opiate Addiction

For some time now, addiction clinics and local law enforcement throughout North America have been witness to a disturbing and rising trend involving the use of opioid narcotics. This family of drugs, which includes morphine and codeine, are made from the opium poppy and act upon the opioid receptors in the brain (the same sensors that natural endorphins bind to). It’s this rewriting of brain chemistry that makes them so dangerous. Years ago, the granddaddy these was heroin. It was, and still is, an insidious substance, primarily because of the feeling of well-being that accompanies the physical high.

It’s ironic that heroin was originally created as a non-addictive alternative to morphine, so named because of its “heroic” painkilling properties. However, doctors soon realized that—in terms of addiction and withdrawal—they had something far worse than morphine on their hands. As the decades wore on, heroin clearly established itself as the undeniable king of life-devastating substances. Famous individuals, both in recent years and in decades gone by, have succumbed to its empty charms; Jim Morrison, River Phoenix, Janis Joplin and John Belushi all had a reputation of “dancing with Mr. Brownstone”, and paid dearly for it. But as terrible as heroin was, its dirty reputation as a horrific life-destroyer was always there to protect would-be abusers. Many individuals who smoked pot or dropped acid admitted that they would not touch “Captain Jack” with a ten-foot pole.

A New Trend: Oxycontin and Other Prescription Narcotics

Recently, however, there has been an alarming shift in North America. Instead of turning to the hugely illegal charms of heroin, addicts are now spending much more money and effort acquiring prescription narcotics that do much the same thing for them. Medications like Percocet and Dilaudid are being used more and more as recreational pharmaceuticals, and are just as likely to be found on the street as they are behind the counter of your local Walgreens or Shoppers Drug Mart.

But the prescription narcotic most closely associated with addicts is the infamous Oxycontin. Originally designed to treat major forms of chronic pain—in terminal cancer patients, for instance—this harmless-looking pill is designed to release a steady dose of oxycodone (the same medication found in Percocet) over a 12-hour period. Addicts have learned to crush the pills so that they can get the full amount of active ingredients in one swift dose, either by swallowing it or injecting it. The resulting high is remarkably similar to heroin, and abuse of this drug can be deadly.

Why Users Prefer Pills

Many drug addicts feel Oxycontin is a much safer choice than heroin. Because it is a factory-made product, users can be certain of the exact amount of active oxycodone they are receiving in each dose. The strength of street drugs, on the other hand, can vary widely from dealer to dealer and location to location; this is one of the most common reasons for accidental overdose. In addition, individuals can be certain that Oxycontin has not been cut with another drug or some other dangerous substance, such as strychnine. What you see is what you get.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

For friends and family members of Oxycontin addicts, luckily there are many signs and symptoms that they can look out for. These include psychological and social symptoms (addicts are typically great liars, and may be making excuses to explain where they may have spent a large amount of money) as well as physical symptoms, such as sluggishness and apathy. Signs of withdrawal are even more obvious; a heavy Oxycontin user can get extremely ill if deprived of their drug for even a short period of time.

It’s unfortunate, but the sheer strength of these prescription narcotics has been one of the biggest problems of all. Many individuals who would never have become addicts in the first place have found themselves physically dependant on these pills after their doctor has over-prescribed them. Addicted patients resort to doctor-shopping, stealing the pills and passing fake prescriptions. Although many parts of the United States and Canada have taken action to fight Oxycontin addiction, there is still a very long way to go.

Addiction and its risk factors

Addiction – Effects and Risk Factors

Addiction may include but not be limited to the addiction to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, internet, shopping, smoking, and video gaming. Addiction can be psychological, physical, or both. Addicts grow tolerant of a behavior or substance which means they need more of it to produce a desired effect.

Effects of Addiction

Addiction can lead to overdose, impaired driving, arrest, loss of relationships, loss of jobs, or contracting a disease. It can have a range of adverse effects on brain, body, and health. Addicts sometimes experience withdrawal when they quit using substances. Withdrawal is a painful physical or emotional reaction an addict experiences when they discontinue using. The emotional and physical aspects of withdrawal can be extremely painful.

Some people struggle through relationships with addicts, which is extremely difficult and destructive. Most addicts are so deeply entrenched in their addiction, they are unable to recognize and accept help. Sometimes people who try to provide support for the addict end up becoming enablers and don’t even realize it. The ugly truth about enablers is that they are only harming their loved one by enabling them.

Risk Factors for Addiction

There are many reasons why some people seem more susceptible to addiction than others. Some people have “addictive personalities,” which is dangerous. These people may be addicted to smoking, drugs, alcohol, relationships, sex, gambling, etc… People with addictive personalities easily become addicted to almost anything. These people over-consume, use, and perform substances and actions that are harmful to their personal and professional lives.

Risk factors for addiction may include a family history of addiction, history of abuse, psychological disorders, etc… Research has proven that alcoholism runs in families, for example. Research has also shown that people who suffer abuse (sexual, mental, physical, or neglect) have a higher propensity for developing an addiction if they fail to receive intervention (counseling, etc…).

Tough Love

Tough love is always more difficult for the enabler than for the addict. Feeling sorry for addicts will not help them. You may need to “let the addict go” before they are able to recover. It is difficult not to fall back into the role of enabler once you have freed yourself, but you must be able to set appropriate boundaries and guidelines to be effective and allow the addict to improve.

Types of addiction

Addicted – Types of Addictions

Is everyone addicted to something? What types of addictions are there? Many individuals aren’t even aware that they have become an addict. Some individuals, who are in desperate need of help, don’t have any idea how to reach out and get the treatment they so desperately need. Then there are those people who are stuck in denial; lacking the strength and knowledge to face the truth.

What Does it Mean to Be an Addict?

An addict is someone with compulsive physiological behavior. This compulsive behavior consists of forming a habit in which a person feels physiologically dependent on. There are many types of addictions and some are more harmful than others, but they all have compulsive tendencies.

What Are the Most Common Addictions?

There are many various addiction types and not all of them have the same affects. However; they can all cause individuals to become physically and emotionally dependent on the habit or substance. Below is a list of the most common things people become dependent on.

Addiction to Prescription Pain Killers – Opioid pills are prescription drugs used to block specific receptors in the nervous system, helping individuals with the ability to tolerate certain pain levels. When these types of drugs are used continuously, a physical dependency will definitely begin to develop. This can lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop the medications. It can also cause individuals to gain a high tolerance for the medication, in which individuals often feel the need to increase the dosage and abuse the medicine, taking more than the amount prescribed. Many common side effects of being addicted to pain killers include constipation, respiratory depression and sedation.

Alcoholism – Alcohol abuse can be very dangerous. For those who don’t drink the substance daily, withdrawal symptoms are less likely to happen. However, this doesn’t take away the dangers of developing a tolerance, running into legal problems and much more. The side effects of being addicted to alcohol include developing a mental health disorder, heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver and much more.

Addicted to Sex – There are many types of sex addictions; the most common being a masturbating addict. Many people use intercourse or masturbation as a stress reliever and this can lead to it becoming a major coping mechanism. There are programs that help sex addicts, however; it can be a very embarrassing dependency to get treatment for. Many people who have this type of compulsive behavior are often stuck in denial. Without help, the effects of being a sex addict can lead to a down spiral in relationships and risky behavior.

Being Addicted to Strange Things

There are many uncommon compulsive behaviors and weird addictions, in which many people could never imagine. A show called “My Strange Addiction” that plays on TLC, tells the true stories of secret addicts with the most bazaar habits. Some of these people are addicted to eating toilet paper, chalk and comet (cleaners). Some individuals have a strange habit of sucking their thumb as an adult, running or tanning. The strangest dependencies are as weird as people could possibly imagine and many people keep it a secret for years.

Facing Reality

The first step to getting help is facing the truth head on and stepping out of denial. So many addicts are stuck in denial, refusing to see the truth. There are so many types of addictions; but the good news is that there are plenty of treatment centers and therapists who can help people find ways to receive the help that they need. Life is short and everyone deserves the chance to be set free of compulsive behaviors and dangerous dependencies. It’s never easy, but with a little dedication, the possibilities are endless.