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Drugs

Cocaine and Cancer: The Deadly Connection You Don’t Know About

Despite cancer death rates declining over the last couple of decades, the wide group of diseases continues to be among the leading causes of death worldwide. 14 million new cases of cancer were discovered in 2012 and there were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths that same year. The number of new cancer cases that will arise in the next 20 years will increase to 22 million.

  • The most common cancers of 2016 were breast cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, prostate, colon, and rectal cancers, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma of the skin, thyroid cancer, endometrial cancer, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, leukemia, and pancreatic cancer.
  • Cancer mortality is higher among men than women with 207.9 per 100,000 men and 145.4 per 100,000 women.
  • Roughly 39.6 percent of men and women, at some point during their lifetimes, will be diagnosed with cancer (based on data from 2010-2012).
  • In the United States, national spending for cancer care totaled almost $125 billion in 2010 and has the potential of reaching $156 billion by 2020.

There are many contributing factors that increase one’s chances of developing cancer. Things like diet and nutrition, hormonal changes, sun exposure and genetic history are all risk factors. Many don’t realize that substance abuse is also a major contributor to cancer and one that is preventable.

Can cocaine give you cancer?

The threat of cancer is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the dangers and negative consequences of drug abuse, but it is a huge risk when it comes to many different substances of abuse.

Cocaine is the illicit substance that is currently being found to link directly to cancer and is a very powerful and addictive stimulant drug that is made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. One reason for this is that it is a common practice among cocaine dealers to mix in or add other substances to the drug in order to increase the amount of product being made and distributed while increasing their own profits. Sometimes the substance that is being added to cut the cocaine is in fact carcinogenic. Carcinogens are substances capable of causing cancer in the living tissues of the body.

Phenacetin, a carcinogenic substance, was found in a certain line of cocaine being sold in the United Kingdom. Being exposed to that particular substance has shown to increase the risk of kidney problems and cancer.

You may also be wondering “Does crack cause cancer?” Whether you are snorting coke or smoking crack, both can be laced with cancer-causing carcinogens. Smoking crack can have serious long-term side effects such as cancer of the lungs, throat, or mouth and cause respiratory diseases that are most commonly related to the inhaling of smoke. Smoking crack pipes can also cause blisters and burns on the user’s mouth, lips, and fingers which can lead to permanent damage like dermal marks and scarring. It also leads to permanent lung damage by restricting the movement of oxygen to the lungs which can cause scarring, a chronic cough, trouble breathing, and pain.

Cancer / Cocaine Study

Recently, a study was done at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Medicine. The researchers who were conducting the study found that men who use cocaine are twice as likely to develop intermediate- or high-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), than that of individuals who abstain from using the drug. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is cancer that starts in the white blood cells called lymphocyte, which is part of the body’s immune system.

Rebecca Nelson, a doctoral student at USC School of Medicine, recently said in an article published by the British Journal of Cancer, that for those individuals who use cocaine more frequently, which means they have used it on at least nine or more occasions, the risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma more than triples that of nonusers.

Nelson worked on the study with co-authors, who are USC School of Medicine faculty members, Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine; Alexandra Levine, MD, professor and chief of hematology; and Gary Marks, MD, associated professor of preventive medicine.

The researchers examined 378 Los Angeles citizens who were diagnosed with NHL. The patients, who were between the ages of 18 and 75, were paired with healthy controls of the same age, ethnicity, sex and social background. Researchers questioned the controls and patients about their use of alcohol, tobacco, and 10 recreational drugs which included cocaine, marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, magic mushrooms, barbiturates, quaaludes, LSD, PCP and “poppers” such as amyl nitrate and butyl nitrate.

Professor of preventative medicine Leslie Bernstein said, “In general, the patients used more drugs than controls, but less alcohol.” Researchers also discovered that men reported using drugs on a much more frequent basis than the women did. After considering other factors, such as medical history, the researchers were able to find a link between cocaine and cancer.

Nelson went on to say, “We saw a similar increased risk for the cancer in women using cocaine, but there were so few female drug-takers in the study that it’s impossible to draw any conclusions.”

For the first time in medical history, a direct link has been found between cocaine and cancer, said Bernstein. The authors of the study theorize that cocaine may trigger white blood cell activity and growth, as a result speeding up the propagation of possible genetic errors that can lead to cancer. Bernstein notes that the study will need to be repeated before any scientists can say with certainty if it is cocaine itself that is prompting the disease or if some other factors, still unknown, are also playing a role.

Cocaine damages many physical and mental aspects of the user such as damage to the inside of the nose, runny nose, nosebleeds, increased heartbeat, constricted blood vessels, heart attacks, and can cause behavioral changes like:

  • Unusual excitement.
  • Aggression.
  • Paranoia.
  • Poor judgment.
  • Delusions and hallucinations.
  • Depression and/ or apathy.
  • Unusual sleep patterns.
  • Agitation and irritability.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Lack of concentration and/or focus.

Cocaine can cause dental damage from users grinding their teeth and clenching their jaws. Their teeth can also become so weak that they chip and break and may even fall out. Permanent sores and scars are also a potential as addicts tend to pick and scratch at their skin, whether from a hallucination or general itchiness as a side effect of taking the drug.

Prolonged use of cocaine also causes a significant amount of damage to the brain over time as cocaine triggers a large release of dopamine in the brains neuro-receptors that control pleasure and movement. Normally the brain controls the release of dopamine in response to something that may be a potential reward or pleasure, such as the smell of good food. And if it were operating normally, it would then recycle back into the cell that originally released it, shutting off the signal in the central nervous system. Cocaine inhibits dopamine from recycling which causes an immoderate amount to build up between nerve cells. This overabundance of dopamine disturbs the brains communication signals and causes what is most commonly referred to as a “high”.

cocaine abuse

Behavior and Addiction: The Relationship Between Cocaine Abuse and Impulsivity

One of the most commonly-abused illicit stimulant drugs, cocaine is highly addictive and abusing it in any form can have devastating effects on the body and brain, possibly causing long-term physical complications and unexpected behavioral changes. Cocaine drug abuse is a serious issue that at the very least can lead to serious health problems, and at the worst can lead to addiction, overdose or death.

If you recognize the signs of cocaine abuse in a loved one, such as irritability, fatigue, dilated pupils or unusual impulsive behavior, contact the substance abuse recovery counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today by calling (877) 474-7029. With the experts at BRS Rehab on your side, you can help your loved one achieve lasting recovery from cocaine abuse or addiction.

Cocaine Drug Abuse

Cocaine is a powerful illicit drug derived from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine is a highly addictive drug that disrupts normal brain communication and causes a euphoric high that keeps users coming back for more. There are a variety of ways people can use cocaine, the most common being snorting cocaine powder through the nose or rubbing it into their gums, dissolving the powder in water and injecting it into the bloodstream, and smoking cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal. Regardless of the route of administration though, cocaine rapidly increases the supply of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain, and people who use the drug often take it repeatedly within a short time period, at increasingly higher doses, to maintain their high. The result is a host of behavioral effects, including:

  • Extreme happiness
  • Increased energy
  • Mental alertness
  • Hypersensitivity to sight, touch, and sound
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness and increased movement

What to Know about Cocaine

The reason cocaine is so addictive is because the drug acts on the pleasure center of the brain, and with repeated use, cocaine can actually cause lasting changes to the brain’s normal functioning. Cocaine acts as a central nervous system stimulant, and the way the drug alters the brain’s functioning is by increasing levels of a natural chemical messenger called dopamine. Dopamine plays a key role in a portion of the brain called the limbic system, which produces pleasurable sensations in response to certain behaviors and actions, such as sex and food consumption.

While these types of activities produce relatively modest boosts in dopamine levels, cocaine use triggers extreme pleasure boosts by preventing dopamine from being recycled back into the cell that released it, which causes excessive amounts of the chemical to build up between nerve cells. When dopamine levels are significantly increased in this way, the associated feelings of pleasure and euphoria also increase dramatically, and this rewarding feedback loop only reinforces the likelihood of future cocaine use.

Cocaine Dependence and Withdrawal

Over time, the brain’s reward system becomes accustomed to the surplus dopamine triggered by cocaine use and no longer produces the same amount of pleasure as it did when the drug use first began. In turn, users may begin taking more and more cocaine over time to achieve the same pleasurable effects as before, which only further affects the brain’s production of dopamine. When dopamine levels fall below this “new normal,” i.e. when the individual stops using cocaine or uses it less frequently or at lower doses, withdrawal symptoms kick in. Some common withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine use include:

  • Depression
  • Slowed thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Unpleasant dreams and insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Restlessness
  • A general feeling of discomfort

Unfortunately, the severity of cocaine withdrawal symptoms only gives the user a stronger incentive for continued use, and it’s when this incentive becomes compulsive, meaning cocaine use becomes the focal point of the individual’s daily existence, that the risk of cocaine dependence and addiction is highest. Cocaine-dependent users face a higher risk for other substance use disorders, as well as personality disorders, depressive disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, which gives you an idea of the scope of the adverse effect cocaine abuse has on the brain and body.

The Role of Impulsivity in Cocaine Abuse

The very nature of drug addiction is the inability or diminished ability to control impulses to use, and cocaine addiction is often characterized by risk-taking or sensation-seeking behavior, as well as poor decision-making. Among the adverse effects associated with cocaine abuse is an unusually high level of the trait known as impulsivity, or a tendency to act quickly and without adequate thought or planning in response to internal or external stimuli. High levels of impulsivity result in addicts preferring smaller, short-term benefits over larger, delayed gratification.

According to one 2012 study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, cocaine use can increase an individual’s tendency towards impulsivity by altering the brain’s normal functioning, thereby decreasing their ability to delay reward. There is also research suggesting that people who already have unusually strong tendencies towards impulsivity may be predisposed to cocaine use and addiction.

Cocaine Abuse Facts

In 2014, an estimated 1.5 million Americans aged 12 and older were reported to be current (past-month) cocaine users, and that same year, more than 5,400 people died from a cocaine overdose. Sadly, because cocaine triggers feelings of euphoria and pleasure during use, many people continue taking the drug despite serious negative consequences, such as financial problems, difficulties with personal relationships, adverse physical side effects, or trouble at work. Cocaine is so powerfully addictive and has such as a strong effect on the body and brain, that even former users can suffer the effects of cocaine abuse. For instance, research shows that during periods of abstinence, when cocaine is not being used, the memory of using cocaine or exposure to certain cues associated with past drug use can trigger strong cravings, which increases the risk of a cocaine relapse.

Cocaine’s powerful and short-lived stimulant effects are the main reasons the drug has such a high potential for abuse. The effects of cocaine typically appear almost immediately and dissipate within a few minutes to an hour. However, taking large amounts of cocaine at once or using the drug over a long period of time can intensify its effects, possibly resulting in bizarre, unpredictable and even violent behavior, coupled with an increased risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects. Some possible long-term effects of cocaine abuse include:

  • Heart failure
  • Respiratory failure
  • Stroke
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Seizures
  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Auditory and tactile hallucinations
  • Delirium or psychosis
  • Organ damage
  • Significant weight loss
  • Movement disorders
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Brain damage
  • Severe depression

Due to the stimulant effects of cocaine, use of the drug triggers a number of sensations and physiologic changes in the body, which can spiral out of control when a person uses too much of the drug, possibly leading to an overdose. A cocaine overdose can be intentional or unintentional and occurs when an individual’s drug use causes a toxic reaction that can lead to serious adverse effects or death, even for first-time users.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Today

Cocaine is such a powerful drug that tolerance and addiction can occur after just one use, and the changes in the brain brought on by cocaine abuse can be long-lasting. Fortunately, there are treatment options for cocaine addiction that can help addicts understand and change their compulsive drug-seeking behaviors and achieve long-term recovery. At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, cocaine addiction treatment centers around the recovery needs of the client, with personalized programs designed to treat not just the addiction itself, but the underlying causes of the addiction as well. If you or a loved one is struggling with the effects of cocaine drug abuse, get professional help at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services by calling (877) 474-7029 today.

cocaine and careers

Are Executives Choosing Cocaine Over Their Careers

Drug and alcohol abuse is a problem factor in our country make no mistake, one of which is considered to be our most difficult health problem at this time. At this point, drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse, in general, is a brutal and harsh issue of the very worst kind, and it is getting worse with each passing year to the point where it borders on being a national emergency.

As addiction has gotten so concerning and so serious, we as a nation have begun to study this problem far more seriously in an effort to really get a handle on it and to get a good idea of where exactly this problem is going in our country.

Executive Cocaine Use Studies

Research has been done on cocaine use and the findings are as follows:

  • Studies show that, in a big way, cocaine is making a huge comeback in our country, in spite of our efforts to do something about it and to take it down a notch. As it stands though, and after what seemed like years of becoming less and less of an issue, cocaine is now back and with a vengeance.
  • Studies show that about thirty-five percent of Americans of the age of eighteen or older have tried cocaine at some point in their lives. This is the sad truth of it. There are a lot of people who have had a run in with this drug at some point.
  • As cocaine has become more common and popular, crack cocaine has also come on the market and has become a lot more common and popular too. Now, studies show that crack cocaine is almost more common and more regular than powdered cocaine is, which is upsetting and worrisome, to say the least.
  • Cocaine abuse and addiction is truly a hardship. Studies show that about half of those who try heroin at least once will become addicted to it. Sixty-five percent of those who try meth once will become addicted to it. But no less than seventy-five percent of those who try cocaine will end up becoming addicted to it, which just goes to show how terribly addicted this substance really is.
  • Studies show that there are currently well over ninety-five thousand American youths who are addicted to cocaine. This is just in the age group of 16 to 28. Nationwide, cocaine addiction statistics number in the high six figures.

What Happens When You Do Cocaine

What does cocaine do to you? How does cocaine affect the body? What happens when you do cocaine? These are all questions that unfortunately people who take cocaine usually do not ask or find the answers to. In fact, more often than not such people will just consume and take part in cocaine abuse without a care in the world, not caring that they are consuming the single most addictive drug known to mankind, and not knowing that there is a good chance that cocaine abuse will also be the end of them.

Unfortunately, cocaine use and abuse are all too common amongst executives and people higher up. Cocaine has often been thought to be a gentlemen’s drug of sorts, and that is concerning and risky, to say the least. This is a substance that causes intensive and worrisome hardship for people, yet business executives and CEOs are becoming addicted to it left and right. When this happens, such people need to get off the habit as quickly as is possible. For more information on how executives can get help for a cocaine addiction, reach out to Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at 1 (877) 474-7112.

Combining Painkillers and Alcohol

Managing Chronic Pain: The Dangers of Combining Painkillers and Alcohol

It may not be the smartest way to deal with pain, but the use of alcohol as a pain reliever has a long history in this country, the most likely reason being that while alcohol may be readily available, useful medication is often not. Even people who already take prescription medications to treat chronic pain sometimes use alcohol to intensify the pain-relieving effects of the medicines, a dangerous combination that can result in severe or even deadly consequences. If you are suffering from chronic pain and you have been combining painkillers and alcohol to relieve your symptoms, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to find a safer way to manage your pain.

Combining Painkillers and Alcohol

Many over-the-counter and prescription medications carry warnings about the risk of taking the drugs with alcohol, which can cause serious health problems. Combining painkiller drugs and alcohol, for example, can increase the risk of respiratory depression, particularly among older individuals, possibly causing them to lose consciousness, stop breathing and die. Despite this threat, alcohol abuse remains a serious public health concern in the United States, particularly among those experiencing chronic pain symptoms. In fact, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that approximately 28% of people with chronic pain use alcohol to alleviate their symptoms, whether it is an acute pain associated with a toothache or constant suffering from arthritis or a recurring injury.

The likely reasoning here is that many people see alcohol use as a means of dealing with stress, and chronic pain can be a significant stressor. And while alcohol doesn’t have any direct pain-relieving properties, laboratory studies have shown that alcohol can reduce pain in humans and animals. Alcohol is a depressant, after all, meaning it depresses the central nervous system and slows down vital functions, which explains the slurred speech, unsteady movement and slowed reaction time we typically associate with alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol to relieve chronic pain may affect the central nervous system in such a way that it results in a mild amount of pain reduction, but it ultimately increases the risk of other serious complications.

Prescription Drug Abuse

The danger here lies in the fact that alcohol doesn’t mix well with medications, and people who suffer from chronic pain may face more immediate problems associated with the use of alcohol, especially if they are taking a painkiller medication. What’s more, prolonged, excessive exposure to alcohol can increase pain sensitivity. The increase in sensitivity could be the reason some people continue drinking, to avoid withdrawal-related increases in chronic pain, and may even result in small fiber peripheral neuropathy, a painful type of nerve damage that can cause a tingling, “pins and needles” sensation in the extremities. Whatever short-term relief from pain alcohol use may offer, it is far outweighed by the risks associated with combining painkillers and alcohol for chronic pain relief.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Today

Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States, and there appears to be a common theme of patients self-medicating with alcohol and painkiller drugs as a means of coping with pain. For those suffering from chronic pain, it’s important to understand that mixing prescription painkillers and alcohol can have potentially deadly consequences that outweigh any possible pain-relieving effects of the combination. If you regularly use alcohol with painkillers to relieve chronic pain, it may be time to speak to a professional about the benefits of substance abuse treatment for alcoholism or painkiller addiction. Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to talk to a qualified addiction recovery counselor about your treatment options.

cocaine side effects

The Dangerous Effects of Cocaine Use

One of the most widely-used and abused illegal substances in the United States, cocaine is a potent, addictive substance. It enhances the activity of the central and peripheral nervous systems, resulting in increased energy and alertness in users. As a recreational drug, cocaine produces an intense feeling of euphoria that can last from a few minutes to a few hours. When a cocaine user becomes dependent on the pleasurable feelings caused by the stimulant drug, his or her body will experience an adverse reaction to periods without it. If you recognize signs of cocaine abuse or addiction in yourself or a loved one, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services to learn about the benefits of participating in a cocaine addiction recovery program.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that you can find in many forms, including a white powder, paste, or a solidified, rock-like substance known as “crack cocaine.” Depending on the way you use the drug, snort, smoke or inject, cocaine can deliver a rapid-onset, rewarding high that accompanies some pleasurable effects, including an increase in energy, feelings of euphoria, elevation in mood, and an inflated sense of self-esteem. Since cocaine temporarily suppresses appetite and decreases the need for sleep, some people also use the drug to lose weight, remain alert, improve their concentration, or accomplish a demanding task.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

While cocaine can deliver a range of pleasurable effects for users, the stimulant drug also renders a host of unwanted short-term consequences. Some common adverse short-term effects of cocaine use include:

  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Adverse Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

Whether it’s occasionally used for a short duration, or for extended periods of time, any use of cocaine can have negative consequences on the health of users. Some possible lasting health effects of cocaine include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Nosebleeds (from snorting cocaine)
  • Unrelenting headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Seizures
  • Addiction
  • Overdose
  • Death

Signs of Cocaine Abuse and Addiction

Regular cocaine users may develop a tolerance for the drug which means their body has built up a resistance to cocaine, and they will need increasingly larger amounts of the stimulant to get the same effect from it. Repeated cocaine use may result in dependence, which can lead to a cocaine addiction, occurring when the user feels compelled to keep using the drug, despite adverse personal and professional consequences associated with the substance abuse. Unfortunately, cocaine is a highly addictive drug and users who become dependent on it may exhibit telltale signs of addiction, like:

  • Neglecting or abandoning what were once life priorities
  • Getting in trouble with the law
  • Exhibiting uncharacteristically risky behavior
  • Continuing to use cocaine despite significant negative consequences
  • Experiencing troubled personal, professional, and social relationships

How to Address a Cocaine Addiction

Recovering from an addiction to cocaine can be extremely difficult, and the cravings that accompany cocaine withdrawal can be intense, but with the proper care and support via an outpatient or residential rehab program, cocaine abusers can overcome their addiction and regain control of their lives. If you are a frequent cocaine user, and you think you may be addicted to the stimulant drug, contact the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services to find out how one of BRS Rehab’s proven substance abuse programs can help.

mdma abuse

The Dangerous Effects of MDMA Abuse

One of the most popular drugs used at dance parties, raves, and nightclubs, MDMA, or ecstasy, is known as a “club drug.” MDMA is a psychoactive drug abused by teens and young adults seeking the pleasurable high for which ecstasy is known. Because of its widespread use among adolescents and young adults in the United States, many people don’t realize that MDMA causes a host of adverse health effects. Two dangerous effects of MDMA abuse are overheating and dehydration. These two conditions can lead to muscle tissue injury, kidney failure, high blood pressure, heart failure, and death. If you or someone you know are struggling with an addiction to MDMA, consult the substance abuse counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today.

What is MDMA?

MDMA is a synthetic drug that acts as both a stimulant and a psychedelic, producing in users an energetic effect, as well as enhanced enjoyment from tactile experiences and distortions in time and perception. As a recreational drug, MDMA is typically taken orally as a tablet or capsule. Its effects can last between three and six hours. The effects depend on the individual taking it, the dose and purity, and their environment. Once taken, MDMA absorbs rapidly into the bloodstream, where it exerts its primary effects in the brain by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another. By doing so, MDMA produces a “high,” or rewarding stimulant effects that keep users coming back for more.

Warning Signs of MDMA Abuse

MDMA has become a popular drug among adolescents and young adults in the nightclub scene. Some of its popularity is because it produces pleasurable feelings of emotional warmth, decreased anxiety, mental stimulation, and self-confidence. Other effects of MDMA abuse are empathy towards others and a general sense of well-being which can occur within an hour or so after taking a single dose. However, there are also adverse psychological effects associated with the use of ecstasy similar to those experienced by amphetamine and cocaine users. Some common symptoms of MDMA abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lack of appetite
  • Impulsiveness
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Muscle cramping
  • Restlessness
  • Involuntary teeth clenching
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Sadness
  • Significant reductions in mental abilities
  • Reduced interest in and pleasure from sex

Long-Term Consequences of MDMA Abuse

Because of its stimulant properties and the types of situations in which people take this drug, MDMA is associated with vigorous physical activity for extended periods of time. Such an amount of activity can lead to one of its most significant adverse effects, a noticeable rise in body temperature called hyperthermia. Hyperthermia can lead to muscle breakdown, kidney failure, and heart failure. Some other adverse long-term MDMA effects may include:

  • Lasting brain damage affecting thought and memory
  • Psychosis
  • Convulsions
  • Damage to parts of the brain that regulate emotion, sleep, and learning
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Addiction
  • Death

Overall, the adverse effects of ecstasy are modest and are not associated with severe medical conditions in normal users. However, in some cases, the use of ecstasy can lead to an overdose. An overdose can happen, especially when a user combines it with alcohol or other drugs. Mixing substances is common considering much of the ecstasy and MDMA sold on the street contains a variety of additives, including methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine, caffeine, ephedrine, and over-the-counter cough medicines and pain relievers. Symptoms of an ecstasy overdose may include seizures, panic attacks, loss of consciousness, high blood pressure, and faintness.

Contact the Substance Abuse Experts at BRS Rehab

MDMA is considered to be one of the most widely used club drugs in the world. While ecstasy is not as addictive as other illicit drugs, like methamphetamine and heroin, it still poses a significant health risk to those who take it illegally. Despite this risk, ecstasy use remains prevalent in the United States. In 2010, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that an estimated 695,000 Americans aged 12 or older were current MDMA users. Current means they had used an ecstasy-type drug during the previous month. If you believe a loved one is abusing MDMA, contact the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to find out how you can help.

ecstasy abuse effects

Ecstasy Abuse and its Effects

Ecstasy is a popular “club drug,” because it produces feelings of euphoria, emotional warmth, and other extremely pleasurable effects in users. However, many regular users are unaware of the serious risks ecstasy abuse effects poses to their health, especially when taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs. If you or a loved one is abusing ecstasy, and you think professional help is needed, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (269) 704-7247 to speak to an experienced substance abuse counselor about the available treatment options.

What is Ecstasy?

Ecstasy, also known as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), is a synthetic drug that alters users’ mood and perception, or awareness of surrounding conditions and objects. Chemically similar to hallucinogens and stimulant drugs, ecstasy produces feelings of increased energy, emotional warmth, pleasure, and distorted sensory and time perception, making it a popular drug in the nightclub scene, particularly at all-night dance parties, or “raves.” Ecstasy is most often taken as a tablet or capsule, though some people snort the powder or swallow the drug in liquid form, and the popular street name for ecstasy – Molly – refers to the pure crystalline powder form of the drug, which is typically sold as capsules. Much of the supposedly “pure” MDMA found on the street contains potentially dangerous additives like cocaine, over-the-counter cough medicine, ketamine, methamphetamine, or synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”), which can pose a risk of serious adverse health consequences, especially if the user doesn’t know what he or she is taking.

Risks of Ecstasy Abuse

There are some reasons why ecstasy abuse is dangerous, even for first-time users, the most notable being the effect the drug has on the brain’s essential chemical functions. Ecstasy abuse can damage the nerve cells that produce serotonin, a chemical in the brain that regulates emotions, mood, memory, sleep, and cognitive skills, and may even cause permanent brain damage. People who take ecstasy in combination with alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs, significantly increase their risk of adverse side effects, which may include:

  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Muscle cramping
  • Involuntary teeth clenching

Long-Term Ecstasy Abuse Effects

Because ecstasy use produces feelings of emotional warmth and pleasure and promotes closeness and trust, people who use the drug may be more likely to take part in unsafe sexual behavior, increasing their risk of contracting or transmitting hepatitis or HIV/AIDS. There are other long-term side effects associated with ecstasy abuse, and even infrequent users may experience adverse effects in the days or weeks following use of the molly drug, including anxiety, sleep problems, depression, paranoia, irritability, impulsiveness, aggression, decreased appetite, and memory and attention problems. High doses of ecstasy can also affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature, which can result in a dangerous spike in body temperature possibly leading to liver failure, heart failure, kidney failure, and even death. There is also research suggesting that ecstasy may be addictive, and some users have reported experiencing symptoms of ecstasy withdrawal after they stopped taking the drug, including a loss of appetite, fatigue, depression, and difficulty concentrating.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services for Help

With its combination of stimulant and hallucinogenic effects, ecstasy can temporarily relieve users’ anxieties and inhibitions, while giving them an enhanced sense of empathy and emotional closeness with others, which makes them want to continue taking the drug. Unfortunately, studies show that the adverse effect of MDMA on the brain and body can be long-lasting, and the number of ecstasy-related emergency room visits and deaths is on the rise in the United States. If you know someone who is abusing ecstasy, and you think they may benefit from treatment at a  rehab facility, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at our toll-free number to get them the help they need.

ritalin addiction

The Signs and Symptoms of Ritalin Addiction

Ritalin addiction is a serious problem in the United States, and with the increasing diagnosis of behavior disorders like attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the drug is becoming more and more available to children and young adults, and its recreational use is on the rise. If you recognize signs of Ritalin abuse or Ritalin side effects in yourself or someone you love, it may be time to call for help. Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (866) 497-9665 to speak to a professional substance abuse counselor about how Ritalin addiction can be successfully treated.

Ritalin vs. Adderall

Ritalin is the trade name for a powerful prescription drug called methylphenidate, which is a stimulant commonly used in the treatment of ADD and ADHD. Another potent medication commonly prescribed to treat such behavior disorders is Adderall, which is made up of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and acts upon the central nervous system in similar ways to Ritalin. Compared to Ritalin, Adderall is considered more addictive, due to the fact that it stays active in the body longer than Ritalin does, but Ritalin is associated with more adverse side effects, particularly with long-term use of the drug.

Ritalin Addiction Symptoms

When Ritalin is abused, users can experience a “high” that does not occur when the drug is taken as prescribed. For example, when Ritalin is snorted, the euphoric effects of the drug can mimic those associated with cocaine, and when it’s injected, these effects are significantly heightened, which can lead to a pattern of dependency and addiction. Some common symptoms of a Ritalin addiction include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Impaired vision
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Agitation

Ritalin Abuse in the United States

Ritalin has been classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse possibly leading to several psychological or physical dependence, and people who take Ritalin without a prescription or in excess of the dosage prescribed by a doctor typically do so to stay awake for long periods of time, to improve their focus and alertness, to lose weight, or simply to get high. Ritalin is designed to increase levels of dopamine in the brain, which produces a feeling of euphoria, in addition to suppressing appetite and increasing energy and wakefulness, and this is what makes it a popular drug for teens to abuse.

Sometimes referred to as a “smart drug,” Ritalin is often used recreationally by high school or college students looking for ways to improve their performance in school. In fact, statistics show that roughly 20% of students at Ivy League schools report misusing prescription stimulants like Ritalin in an effort to boost their competitive edge. Unfortunately, frequent, sustained Ritalin abuse can have serious long-term consequences for users, possibly causing them to experience paranoia, auditory hallucinations, repetitive OCD-like behaviors, or a tendency towards violence. Other possible Ritalin side effects include heart rhythm problems, psychosis, slowed growth in children, and addiction.

Contact the Experts at BRS Rehab

In the United States, roughly 11% of children between the ages of three and 17 have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and are currently taking prescription stimulant drugs like Ritalin or Adderall to improve their concentration and control their impulsive behavior. Unfortunately, because these powerful medications are so readily available to treat conditions that many believe are over-diagnosed, Ritalin addiction has become a serious problem in the U.S. If you or someone you know is addicted to Ritalin, the substance abuse experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services can help. Call BRS rehab today at (866) 497-9665 to find out what treatment options are available for Ritalin addiction.

cocaine use and heart

How Cocaine Use Affects Your Heart

There are a number of ways using cocaine can adversely affect your health, but the effect of cocaine on the heart, in particular, is something anyone using the drug should be concerned about. If you know someone who is addicted to cocaine, and you think they may be at risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, like a heart attack or heart disease, don’t hesitate to call for help. The addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services can help cocaine users overcome their addiction problem and avoid potentially life-threatening cardiovascular complications.

Cocaine’s Effect on the Heart

The powdered form of cocaine is either inhaled through the nose (snorted), or dissolved in water and injected into the bloodstream, and there is another form of the drug called crack cocaine, which has been processed to produce a rock-like crystal that can be smoked. Cocaine acts as a stimulant, pumping adrenaline through the body, which causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. These changes may result in a type of chest pain known as angina, which can signal the onset of a heart attack. Cocaine use can also cause damage to the heart muscle, possibly leading to cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, enlarged heart ventricles, weakened aorta walls, endocarditis, and other serious problems. Even infrequent cocaine use can result in higher blood pressure, thicker heart muscle walls, and stiffer arteries, all of which can increase the risk of heart attack. Other adverse cocaine effects involving the heart may include blood clots, vascular thrombosis, respiratory arrest, and heart disease.

Cocaine: The “Perfect Heart Attack Drug”

One of the most significant dangers associated with cocaine use is the fact that many people have no idea how using the drug can adversely affect their heart. In an Australian study presented at the 2012 American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, researchers documented the cardiovascular problems experienced by seemingly healthy cocaine users, which persisted long after the effects of cocaine had worn off. The researchers named cocaine the “perfect heart attack drug,” because it caused young, otherwise fit individuals to suffer massive heart attacks, and increased the risk of high blood pressure, aortic stiffening, thickening of the heart muscle walls, and other cardiovascular problems by as much as 30 to 35 percent, even among individuals with no prior history of heart problems. “Despite being well-educated professionals, they have no knowledge of the health consequences of regularly using cocaine,” said lead study author Dr. Gemma Figtree. “It’s the perfect heart attack drug.”

Risk Factors for Heart Problems

Cocaine is the illegal drug most often associated with trips to the emergency room, and in 2011, 40.3 perfect of illicit drug-related emergency room visits involved the use of cocaine, compared to marijuana (36.4 percent) and heroin (258,482 visits). Cocaine can cause serious heart-related problems for anyone using the stimulant drug, but there are certain types of people who may be more vulnerable to cardiovascular complications from cocaine use, including the following:

  • First-time users
  • Pregnant women
  • Older users with clogged or abnormal arteries
  • People who smoke crack cocaine

Contact BRS Rehab for Help

Cocaine has a reputation for being a casual and fun party drug, but what many people don’t realize is that cocaine use can be deadly, and even when it’s not, the long-term cardiovascular consequences associated with the drug can change your life forever. According to the American Heart Association, cocaine use is responsible for 15,000 deaths every year in the United States, many of which are associated with the adverse effect of the drug on the heart. If you or someone you love is using cocaine, and you think they need help, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (866) 497-9665 to speak to a professional substance abuse counselor about their options.

snorting cocaine effects

The Effects of Snorting Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerful, addictive drug that comes in many forms. The powder form can be snorted or dissolved in liquid for injection. “Crack” cocaine is a form of the drug that has been processed into a hard rock crystal.  Users heat the crystals to release vapors that are then smoked. All three methods release cocaine directly into the bloodstream, where it travels to the brain and causes euphoric effects. The danger of cocaine is that its stimulant effects can cause severe adverse reactions that may result in serious medical complications, hospitalization or even sudden death. If you know a friend or family member is abusing cocaine, don’t hesitate to get him the help he needs. Call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at our toll-free number and speak to a qualified addiction recovery counselor.

Impact of Cocaine on the Body

Cocaine is known as a “party drug,” used as much on the street as it is in the boardroom, but there are important things to know about cocaine effects on the body. Cocaine has the greatest impact on the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord.  It acts as a stimulant and increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. It then causes the user to feel energetic, euphoric, mentally alert, and talkative. However, cocaine users may also experience feelings of anxiety, irritability, restlessness, paranoia, and panic.

Snorting cocaine can have dangerous side effects, as it causes significant amounts of the drug to instantly enter the bloodstream.  The result is potentially life-threatening damage to the lungs, heart, brain, kidneys and other organs. Snorting cocaine also causes damage to the nasal passages. This damage can result in frequent nosebleeds and a loss of sense of smell.  Snorting cocaine will lead to a serious addiction problem within days or weeks after repeated use.

Long-Term Effects of Snorting Cocaine

Pleasurable stimuli will cause the brain to release of dopamine, but cocaine prevents dopamine from being reabsorbed by the brain.  Thus, it causes a build-up of dopamine and triggers an intense feeling of euphoria. The euphoric effects of snorting cocaine typically only last between 15 and 30 minutes, but the adverse effects of cocaine use can be long-lasting, possibly causing irreversible harm to the brain and body. Snorting cocaine is especially dangerous if you don’t know the purity of the cocaine you are taking, and because of this, even frequent cocaine users can overdose on the drug. Some of the most common long-term medical complications occurring with cocaine use include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • Neurological problems
  • Gastrointestinal complications
  • Heart attacks
  • Coma
  • Overdose

In severe cases, snorting cocaine may also result in sudden death, typically due to cardiac arrest or seizures, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 5,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2014 were due to cocaine.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Today

Not everyone who snorts cocaine becomes an addict. However, permanent changes in the brain make it less sensitive to the effects of dopamine and therefore it is harder to get high.  Repeated cocaine use can result in a cocaine addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to cocaine, contact the substance abuse experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to discuss the best course of treatment for your situation. BRS has a number of treatment programs designed specifically for cocaine abusers and can help you or your loved one regain control of your life.

adult cocaine abuse

Cocaine Abuse: Why Adults are Turning to the Party Drug

A popular drug in the 1980s, cocaine has re-emerged recently as the party drug of choice. Furthermore, it not just younger individuals experimenting with illegal drugs, but adults, particularly those over the age of 50. Although alcohol and prescription drug abuse are well documented in older adults, the use of illegal drugs is not. Now that the people who likely used cocaine in the 1960s are approaching retirement age, some are continuing to indulge in illicit drug use well into their 50s and 60s. If you or someone you know are struggling with cocaine abuse or addiction, or if you’re wondering what damage does cocaine do, call today to discuss the available treatment options for adult cocaine abuse with a certified addiction recovery counselor at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

The Glamorous Allure of Cocaine

Everyone assumes that the use of cocaine and other illegal drugs is a problem affecting only the young. However, recent research shows that older adults, particularly those above the age of 50, are also dealing with cocaine abuse. One study of an inner-city population above the age of 50 seen in the emergency department of a major hospital in Los Angeles shows them testing positive for illegal drugs. As the Journal of Addictive Diseases publishes, “cocaine with or without another illicit drug is the overwhelming drug of choice.” The reason why adult cocaine abuse is so prevalent is that individuals perceive it as a safe, recreational “dinner party” drug that is non-addictive. Furthermore, this is one drug that celebrity users are increasingly making appear glamorous.

Health Consequences of Adult Cocaine Abuse

The unfortunate truth about cocaine is that the intense addictiveness can result in individuals continuing their drug habit even when they know about the risks. There are serious health consequences to consider with cocaine use, after all. “Because of its cardiovascular toxicity,” the authors of the Journal of Addictive Diseases study note, “[cocaine] use may cause cardiac and central nervous system (CNS) events in older persons who may already have significant atherosclerosis.” In older adults who may have cardiovascular issues without any diagnosis, the side effects of using cocaine may be even more pronounced, possibly including heart attack, abnormal heart rate, hypertension, and cardiomyopathy.

Individuals can smoke, snort, or inject cocaine. The duration of the drug’s euphoric effects depends on the method of administration. Unfortunately, no matter how one administers cocaine, its side effects can be devastating. Injecting cocaine can cause severe health problems in users, resulting in collapsed veins and bacterial infections of the heart valves and blood vessels. In an equal manner, the symptoms of snorting coke may include damage to the nasal cavity, tissue erosion, nasal septal perforation, and other problems. Even attempting to discontinue the use of cocaine can result in serious side effects, causing withdrawal symptoms like paranoia, exhaustion, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and intense cravings for the drug.

Contact the Addiction Recovery Specialists at BRS Today

Much is unknown about how cocaine abuse and abuse of other illegal drugs may affect older adults. The side effects of these drugs often mimic, and may also exacerbate, conditions that accompany the natural aging process. If you know someone who is struggling with a cocaine addiction, you can help by putting them in touch with the substance abuse counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services. Call to speak to the experts at BRS Rehab today. With the right addiction recovery program, your loved one can overcome his or her addiction to cocaine and live a happy, sober life free from illicit drugs.

vaping

Is Vaping Encouraging Drug Use Among Young Professionals?

Is vaping encouraging drug use among young professionals?  The latest trend among smokers is “vaping,” or using a handheld electronic cigarette that vaporizes a flavored liquid, typically made of nicotine, glycerin, propylene glycol and flavorings, that is then inhaled by the user. Vaping is typically seen as safe, or at least as a safer alternative to smoking marijuana or traditional tobacco cigarettes, particularly among adolescents and young adults. However, there are serious misconceptions about the safety of e-cigarettes and vaping, and many believe that young professionals who vape may be more inclined to begin using drugs. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 926-5530 to speak to an experienced substance abuse counselor.

Vaping Encourging Drug Use is a Valid Concern

E-cigarettes have been around for more than a decade, but their use has skyrocketed recently, due in large part to the fact that e-cigarettes and their accessories have become more easily accessible to the average person. Originally marketed to nicotine users as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, vaporizers, also known as vape pens, are now a popular accessory for young professionals who want to get high without drawing attention to themselves at work. And rather than having to risk shopping for pipes or bongs at a head shop, they can simply go to any one of the vape shops popping up in towns across the country to get themselves an e-cigarette.

Many smokers begin vaping as a means of quitting smoking or reducing their nicotine intake, but, when used by nonsmokers, vaping encouraging drug use is an issue because it may make users more likely to experiment with drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, more than a quarter-million youth who had never smoked before used e-cigarettes, and in a 2014 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers warn that “nicotine use is a gateway to the use of marijuana and cocaine,” and that this gateway model of drug abuse can be applied to the growing use of e-cigarettes.

Why Young Professionals Use Vape Pens

The main draw to e-cigarettes is that they are sleek and discreet, a much more sophisticated and subtle alternative to tobacco or marijuana cigarettes for young professionals attempting to cultivate a certain image in the workplace. And, because vaporizers are legal, these professionals can vape all day long, from the comfort of their office, rather than sneaking outside for a puff, or waiting until they get home at the end of the day to get high. Some people also find that vaping, when compared to smoking marijuana, doesn’t hinder their productivity or make them feel tired, making e-cigarettes a popular option for young professionals to use at work. And, because water-soluble synthetics can be easily converted into a liquid concentrate that can be vaped, just like nicotine, without producing that telltale marijuana scent, it’s nearly impossible to tell whether a vape pen contains nicotine or marijuana concentrate without actually testing it.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services for Help

Despite the growing trend of e-cigarette use in the United States, the long-term effects of vaping remain unknown, and many believe that vaping encourages drug use. If you know someone at work who vapes, and you believe he or she may be struggling with a substance abuse disorder, don’t hesitate to get your coworker the help he or she needs. Call the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 926-5530, to discuss the available treatment options.

lines of cocaine

Cocaine: The Party Drug Executives Abuse at Work

Cocaine, the party drug, is abused among business executives and this remains a serious problem in the United States. Just last year, a top executive at Chipotle was caught in a police crackdown on a cocaine trafficking ring in New York, and a New Jersey surgeon had his medical license suspended indefinitely after he was accused of using cocaine. Cocaine abuse among business executives may seem like nothing more than a stereotype from the 1980s, where the drug was widely used for after-hours entertainment and as a sweetener for business deals, but research shows that abuse of cocaine and other drugs remains a widespread problem among high-powered execs even today.

The Allure of Cocaine the Party Drug in the Business World

Compared to other illicit substances that users typically associate with at least a little bit of shame or embarrassment, cocaine has a certain mystique associated with it that only adds to its appeal. Plus, cocaine is expensive, it’s somewhat glamorous, or at least glorified, and it’s related to a far more fast-paced, lucrative lifestyle than most other drugs. The use of cocaine is also widely accepted in today’s society, more so than the use of drugs that are associated with more adverse side effects, like heroin and methamphetamine, and the drug is favored by business executives, who are typically seen as high-powered individuals with the world at their fingertips.

Why Business Executives Abuse Cocaine at Work

It’s no wonder that cocaine has become the drug of choice among business executives. “They have the disposable income,” says Dr. Mark Gold, acting chairman of the department of psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine. “They have lives which are often responding to the next crisis. They have access to drugs, drug-using friends, and associates, and they feel that drugs are part of the spectrum of entitlement.” In other words, they work hard, so they deserve it, they have the money to pay for it, and, that anthem of drug users everywhere, everyone else is doing it.

The real reason why some business executives are abusing cocaine the party drug in the workplace is a little more complicated, though. The top three reasons business executives abuse cocaine and other stimulant drugs at work are: to manage mental health issues, to cope with work-related stress, and to deal with the pressures of their job and the economy. Not only do business executives face the pressures of succeeding in a challenging business environment, but they also work long hours and do tedious work for demanding bosses. The ability to escape all of this with just one “hit” is what keeps cocaine users coming back for more.

Adverse Side Effects of Cocaine

Unfortunately, the health effects of cocaine the party drug are far-reaching, even for high-powered business executives who have all the money, power and influence they could ever want. While people who abuse cocaine typically do so in search of the drug’s short-term effects, which include extreme happiness and energy, and a greater ability to focus on a task, other side effects of cocaine include irritability, paranoia, and unpredictable behavior, and long-term cocaine abuse may result in frequent nosebleeds, loss of sense of smell, organ damage, mood swings, and possibly even full-blown psychosis.

Cocaine’s Staying Power in the United States

Even as experts warn about the serious health consequences associated with its use, cocaine, a hip designer drug in the 70s and 80s, remains the party drug of choice for business executives today, and recent reports have warned that cocaine’s staying power has to do with its ability to make users feel like they can accomplish anything. And this is a valuable effect for executives in challenging work environments. According to a 2015 analysis of employer-issued drug tests in the workplace, there have been “steady increases in workplace positivity for cocaine in the general US workforce during the past two years, reversing a prolonged period of decline.”

executives self-medicating to avoid burnout

Why Executives are Self-Medicating to Avoid Burnout

Many business executives today are self-medicating to avoid burnout.  The image that comes to mind when many people think of an addict is a homeless person on the street, dirty and alone, and desperate for his next fix, but the unfortunate reality of addiction is that it can affect virtually anyone, even successful business executives who may turn to drugs to keep from burning out in a notoriously fast-paced, high-powered industry. If you know someone who is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to intervene and get the person the help he or she needs to get sober, before it’s too late. Contact the professional substance abuse counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to find out how you can help.

Top Drugs Abused by Business Execs for Self-Medicating

When it comes to self-medicating or using illicit substances to increase their productivity at work, business executives typically turn to stimulants, or “uppers,” which may temporarily improve their concentration, help them keep up with strict work deadlines, and stave off depression. They may also abuse prescription painkillers to numb chronic pain or other health problems interfering with their ability to focus at work. The most common drugs abused by business executives include:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Vicodin
  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • OxyContin
  • Alcohol

The Dangers of Self-Medication

One common reason successful business executives may abuse substances like cocaine, heroin or prescription drugs is to self-medicate or treat an underlying condition, like chronic pain, depression or anxiety, to stay on top of their game and avoid burning out. Business executives on Wall Street, in the financial services industry, and in other high-powered industries face an immense amount of stress and pressure on a daily basis and are expected to keep their clients happy, negotiate multimillion-dollar contracts, and maintain 110% productivity, all in a day’s work. As a result of this stress, they may turn to illicit substances to get an edge in a highly competitive industry, improve their concentration, numb their emotions, and disguise any signs they are feeling burned out. Unfortunately, in most cases, self-medication only exacerbates the problem they are trying to get under control, and may even result in a lifelong addiction.

Common Signs of Job Burnout

Many business executives in highly-competitive industries feel the pressure of keeping up with the fast-paced lifestyles of their co-workers while ensuring that they are on the path to business success and end up working long hours, become obsessed with their career, and let their health and well-being take the backseat to their performance at work. These are all factors contributing to job burnout, which David Ballard of the American Psychological Association describes as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.” Some common signs of job burnout include the following:

  • Exhaustion
  • Frustration and other negative emotions
  • Lack of motivation
  • Cognitive problems
  • Poor performance at work
  • Problems with personal and professional relationships
  • Making poor health and lifestyle choices
  • Generally decreased satisfaction
  • Chronic health problems

What to Do About Job Burnout

Job burnout often occurs over a long period of time, as the person attempts to cope with chronic job-related stress and the effect it is having on their health, interpersonal relationships, and performance at work. They may begin to self-medicate in an attempt to manage or disguise these problems, which will only make them worse. If someone you know is exhibiting symptoms of job burnout, Dr. Ballard of the American Psychological Association recommends helping them: set boundaries by unplugging from work while enjoying time with family and friends, cultivate a rich non-work life, and practice relaxation techniques, which may include meditation, reading a book, listening to music, or simply taking a walk. For business executives who are self-medicating and it has resulted in addiction, the experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services can help. Call them today.

what to do if your child is using crack

What to Do if You Find Out Your Child is Using Crack

It is never easy when a parent finds out their child is in trouble. If you have been noticing a change in your child, it is important not to ignore the signs and the red flags that are waving right in front of your face. You can teach your child the difference between right and wrong, but for some, learning from experience is the only way to understand the consequences of making mistakes. The moment you begin to suspect that your child is using crack, you might be in denial or make excuses. Get past how you feel deep down inside, and take the appropriate actions to ensure that your sensitive child can recover from their addiction and lead a successful and fulfilling life in adulthood.

Symptoms to Look for if Your Child is Using Crack

Statistics show that about 1% of teenagers who attend high school will use crack cocaine during their high school years. While the statistics may seem very minimal, of the 1% of students who try crack cocaine, a large percentage of these students become addicts because the drug is highly addictive once it hits the bloodstream and leads to a feeling of euphoria that the user wants to feel again. Over time, the addict will require larger amounts of crack cocaine to achieve their high. As the high wears off, an addict can get irritated and crave the intense euphoric feeling until the craving is satisfied. This is particularly because of the way that the drug affects the body’s central nervous system.

Here are some signs to look out for if you think your teen is using crack cocaine:

  • Intense and unusual emotional outbursts that include rage and anger
  • An increased tendency to resort to violence
  • Dramatic and unsubstantiated emotional highs and lows
  • The loss of inhibition
  • Questionable sexual behavior
  • Committing robberies or stealing from you and your family members
  • Mood swings combined with flu-like symptoms may be signs of withdrawal
  • Dilated pupils, insomnia, and lack of appetite may be signs of crack abuse

There are many other signs that could be pushed aside as “growing pains” or “just a phase.”  If you find yourself making these statements often, it might be time to start learning more about the crack use and begin paying more attention to your child’s behavior.  If they seem to be spending more time away from home, hanging out with a new set of friends or being secretive and agitated often, your child may already be in trouble with crack.

Steps Parents Should Take if Their Child is Using Crack

Crack use can lead to very risky behaviors. Not only may an addict venture to a dangerous neighborhood in effect to buy crack, but they might also steal or commit other crimes to get money to pay for their habit. Long-term crack use is also very damaging to the body, and this is why you need to take action as soon as you think your child is abusing. Here are a few steps you need to take as a parent who pays attention to the signs.

Teen-Proof Your Home

If you are making the commitment to be proactive, the first step is to teen-proof your home by locking up alcohol and prescriptions. There is such thing as being too trustworthy as a parent, and if you are too trustworthy, you can easily be taken advantage of.  Remember, if your child is using crack, it may be up to you to get them the help they need.

Check Their Bedroom

There is no such thing as privacy when you think your teen is abusing crack. Privacy is a privilege that a teen must earn by proving them. Search your teen’s room for drugs and other items, and if you find anything illegal, you will need to decide how to proceed.

Give Your Child a Drug Test and Start Your Intervention

Just because you do not believe anything does not mean that you cannot sit down and discuss your teen’s obvious problem. If you have given your child a drug test in the past, you might not need to do this to confirm substance abuse. Have a discussion about what you have witnessed and try not to be too critical so that your teen does not shut you out immediately.

You need to find the balance between rescuing your child and giving up when your child is trying to rebel. If you find illegal items in their room, let them know that you will call the police if they are not open to recovering from their addiction. Once your teen is ready to take accountability, get them the help they need by entering them into a rehabilitation program where they can detox and learn how to make better decisions in the future.

You must stress that there are consequences for their actions if your child is using crack. The consequences could be jail, their health, or even their life. Be proactive, be observant, and develop a relationship where your teen feels comfortable coming to you no matter what the problem may be.

colorful collection of ecstasy pills

MDMA: The Dangers of Ecstasy

Few people take the time to research the dangers of Ecstasy before experimenting with the drug.  The substance known as MDMA, better known to many as ecstasy, has become popular among some as a recreational drug. In many countries MDMA is a controlled substance and possession can be punished by fines and even imprisonment. Despite this, ecstasy has grown in popularity and people have ignored both the legal and physical consequences of taking this substance.

Effects  and Dangers of Ecstasy (MDMA)

Ecstasy was first developed to be used in the field of psychology due to its ability to get patients to let down their mental barriers. This practice came to an end when it was made widely illegal despite positive results. The effects of ecstasy are:

  • improved self-confidence
  • feelings of empathy
  • feelings of compassion
  • increased energy
  • diminished aggression
  • increased inner peace
  • euphoria

This drug has recently become very popular among the teen and young adult age groups for use at “raves” or other party scenes where recreational drugs are abundantly used and abuse.

Dangerous Side Effects of MDMA

While ecstasy has a variety of positive benefits during use, there are also some very dangerous side effects associated with the substance as well. When coming off of a trip, many people experience, fatigue, irritability, impaired concentration, depression, and paranoia. Additionally, prolonged use of the drug or overdose can lead to disastrous consequences such as hallucinations, panic attacks, damaged heart, damaged blood vessels, stroke, and organ failure.

As you can see one of the dangers of ecstasy is that it may have some positive effects initially, but once the high wears off, it can lead to some pretty nasty consequences. This can lead to an individual seeking more and more of the drug until they’ve developed an addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with an ecstasy addiction, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help people overcome their MDMA substance abuse problem before it’s too late.

syringes and drugs contributed to drug-related deaths

Drug-Related Deaths Become Commonplace

Every year, hundreds of thousands of individuals die from drug-related deaths, ranging from diseases which are transmitted through drug needles (e.g. HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis), and drug overdoses that cause permanent organ damage and mortalities. According to a 2011 study, nearly 9.3 million individuals over 12 received treatment for drug or alcohol addictions. Drug addictions not only place a dent on the addicted people and their families but also on society as a whole. The NIH reports that drug and alcohol abuse total 700 billion dollars in financial loss, which includes lack of productivity at work and health care costs.

Drug-Related Deaths Skyrocket in the US

Drug abuse continues to be one of the major leading causes of death in America. Nationwide, it is known that drugs such as marijuana and crack cocaine can lead to various diseases. However, millions die every year for such reasons. Why is this the case? There are some reasons. The first one is that drugs become hard to fight off once one begins using them. Many drugs such are marijuana are labeled as “gateway drugs,” meaning that they lead to trying other substances. Because of the addictive nature of these substances, the users have a dependency on them, so they keep coming back for more. Drugs cause dopamine (a neurological chemical in the brain that releases senses of pleasure and euphoria) to skyrocket, adding their addiction. Unfortunately, it is sometimes the case that drug abusers cannot distance themselves from drugs before death looms. Therefore, drug-related deaths become commonplace.  Sadly, many of these deaths were preventable.

Another reason why this is the case is that drugs are often portrayed as a panacea for all types of issues that an individual may face in their lives. Some of the common motivations that one may begin drugs and thus on the track for potential substance abuse are financial problems, relationship problems, family issues, or depression. Drugs release dopamine, which causes the individual consuming the substance to experience transitory happiness amidst a life of grief, stress, and anger. Once they build a dependency on the drug to feel happy, they use them more often, and an addiction begins to develop, possibly leading towards death. The fact that drugs are seen as an ideal method to feel happiness in times of hardship is related to the high number of deaths caused by such addictions.

A Major Issue Nationwide

Drug-related deaths remain a major problem in the United States, and around the world.  Being that it is the #1 cause of preventable death, learning about drug addiction should rank as high priority on everyone’s agenda to help as many people as possible avoid this deadly condition.

cocaine side effects

Cocaine Side Effects You Might Not Know About

There are some cocaine side effects you might not know about, so we will outline some of the information here.  Of all the drugs being trafficked all over the world, cocaine rates second. National statistics show that 11.6% of people 18-25 years old do cocaine; the figure for people 26 or older is 16.50%. In 2008, statistics showed that just under 15% of all Americans had tried cocaine at one time or another. At the time of the research, 1.9 million were using. Six percent of those people had tried it by their senior year of high school. The highest amount of users falls into the 18 to 25-year-old range.

What Are the Cocaine Side Effects?

The signs of the basic cocaine side effects that start out as minimal in the beginning are changes in sensory sensations like losing their sense of smell and taste, sneezing, having the sniffles or even a congested nose. This can also lead to congestion of the chest if they have been snorting cocaine. This will then lead to nasal pain (because of the snorting) nosebleeds, sore throats and the breakdown of their inner nose. As the drug use gets worse, they can then move on to more serious side effects like having convulsions and seizures if they do too much cocaine or have a cocaine addiction. They can also get confused and have hallucinations where they are unable to tell if things are real or not. This is caused by the effects on the brain.

Cocaine users also have times when they are happy, they have a lot of energy and have an unreal sense of being invincible and overconfident. They begin to think nothing can happen to them, nothing can touch them. Other times they become agitated, irritated, are very nervous, antsy and being so restless that nothing makes them happy. They may have trouble being able to urinate or have incontinence. Usually, they are not eating very well, if at all, so there may be some dizziness, weight loss, stomach irritation, nausea or vomiting. They may feel light-headed, their heart racing, they break out in a sweat and have mood swings. One minute they are fine, the next they are angry or mad. They may experience numbing in their hands and feet, trouble breathing, and weakness in their muscles. As they build up a tolerance to the drug and need more, the symptoms and problems will become worse and will increase the amount of everything they do such as their speech increases; they are unable to sleep sometimes for days at a time and they seem to have spasms. They can be very argumentative and become very aggressive and paranoid.

What Are the Permanent Side Effects of Cocaine?

There is a lot of damage to the brain over time with cocaine abuse. The users may have some psychosis and they may even cover up some forms of mental illness. They do not know for sure if this is because of the cocaine or if they had them before and used the cocaine to cover it up. There may be some permanent psychological damage that causes long-term or permanent problems. The part of the brain that controls pleasure is definitely damaged and will affect their capability to feel pleasure in sex or any of the things they used to enjoy doing. This can bring on depression and periods of over-the-top sexual behavior and other extreme choices of activity that used to give them pleasure. It may come out in other extreme actions and other addictive behavior as well.

Physical Effects of Cocaine

The physical side effects of cocaine use can be bad; it can damage your heart, cause you to have a heart attack, and give you high blood pressure. If you snort the drug, you can cause damage to your nose, larynx, throat, and can cause permanent damage to your nose and throat to the point where you may have to have surgery to repair the damage. You can have problems with constant pneumonia, bleeding, scar tissue in your nose, bronchitis; you can develop asthma and breathing problems. If you are smoking the drug, it can cause damage to your lungs, and cause cancer in your lungs, throat, and your respiratory area.

Lack of concentration and being able to focus can come from permanent brain damage, and the possibility of a stroke can be brought on as a result of the high blood pressure. There can be permanent damage to the teeth from grinding their teeth and clenching up their jaws, as well as breaking off of their teeth or teeth falling out. There can be permanent scars and sores on their face and other parts of their body from picking and scratching their skin during hallucinations where they think that they have things crawling on them. Even after cocaine use has ended they can still have the symptoms of cocaine use and can continue to have cocaine side effects physically and mentally.

Dangerous Trends in Drug Abuse

Dangerous New Trends in Drug Abuse

Trends in drug abuse is an increasingly common problem all over the world. New trends and new drugs seem to be emerging every second. It’s almost impossible to find somebody who hasn’t been affected by substance abuse. One of the most important things when it comes to drugs is always to stay informed. Knowing the trends and drugs that are out there and their effects could be the reason someone says no to drug use.

Trends in Drug Abuse Include an Increase in Fentanyl Use

Fentanyl is an opioid 30-50 times more potent than heroin, as well as 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. Baltimore has launched a public health campaign due to the surge of deaths caused by this drug. Nationwide, the DEA has also released an alert about this drug. The city is even distributing naloxone, a drug that can reverse an overdose, to drug users in case of an overdose.

Increase in Cannabinoid Overdose

Cannabinoids are chemically similar to THC, hence the name, and are even legal in some places. Examples include Spice and K2. These drugs have been shown to be incredibly dangerous. 160 patients were hospitalized in for two weeks in April of this year. It’s gotten so bad that Maryland has released a public health notice, giving the several other names one way call this drug.

Increase of Flakka Use

This is a new drug circulating in Florida. It’s similar to bath salts and can be ingested anyway. It’s extremely dangerous because of the fact that it causes hallucinations, paranoid, and hyperstimulation. Users become violent. Suicide has been linked to this drug, as well as heart attacks.

HIV Outbreak Linked to Opana

There was an HIV outbreak in February in Indiana due to the use of the drug Opana. This drug is a prescription medication; it’s an opioid prescribed to treat pain. The outbreak was linked to sharing needles with other drug users.

Caffeine Powder

This new trend has to be among the most strange as well as the most dangerous. Caffeine powder is legal and available online. It’s attractive to anyone looking to perk up, including high school students. However, one teaspoon is equivalent to 25 cups of coffee, a lethal amount. A high school student died after overdosing on this powder.

You can keep up with all the latest drug trends on this US government website: Emerging Trends. It’s frequently updated and provides a good list of things to not only educate yourself about but be aware of and look for if you’re a parent or a teacher.

For how dangerous it is, new trends in drug abuse is extremely common. Permanent disabilities, as well as death, can come from abusing certain drugs. Drug abusers are always looking for more, so new trends come out all the time. Keeping yourself informed could help you stay away. If you’re already abusing drugs, seek help immediately from someone you trust. Although it’s saddening knowing how much substance abuse affects us, good treatment programs all around the world are a definite upside.

man and woman discussing facts about rehabilitation programs

Myths vs. Facts About Rehabilitation Programs

If you or someone you love is dealing with addiction, you want to find effective rehabilitation programs quickly. Dealing with this issue can feel isolating, but it’s important to remember you are not alone. In fact, over 23.5 million Americans need help each year due to drug or alcohol problems according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Understanding the Facts About Rehabilitation Programs

There is a lot of information floating around about rehabilitation programs that simply isn’t correct, so read on to discover the facts behind these myths.

Myth 1: My situation isn’t bad enough to need a rehabilitation program.

On TV and in the movies, drug and alcohol addiction are often shown in extreme cases. This can make people think they don’t need rehab because they aren’t homeless, filthy, facing jail time and unemployed.
However, you don’t have to hit rock bottom before you seek help. In fact, you can save yourself from continuing a downward spiral by beginning your rehabilitation program as soon as possible instead of waiting for things to get worse.

Myth 2: I won’t be able to handle the process of rehabilitation.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at the thought of making such a major life change. When you find yourself thinking that you can’t handle rehab, it’s important to remember that the substances you are using take away from your ability to think clearly and rationally.
There are sure to be plenty of highs and lows during the rehab process, but you can put yourself at a huge advantage by choosing inpatient treatment. Don’t try to detox alone. Instead, surround yourself with competent professionals who can use the latest therapies to increase your chance of getting clean and staying clean.

Myth 3:  If I choose inpatient treatment, I’ll be isolated from everyone I love.

Although policies vary among different facilities, your loved ones will be an important part of your recovery process. Addiction does not just affect the person who is using drugs or alcohol. Instead, it’s a family problem that has an impact on everyone.
An inpatient facility allows you to get away from the stresses and triggers of your everyday life, but that doesn’t mean that you will be completely isolated. During your recovery, you’ll need the support of your friends and family members more than ever. An excellent rehabilitation program will not only work with you but also focus on teaching your loved ones how they can best support you in reaching your rehab goals.

Myth 4:  It’s impossible for me to enter a program because I have a full-time job.

Maintaining employment is important, but you won’t necessarily have to sacrifice your job to get the help that you need. In fact, your right to treatment is protected in many cases by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
You should not let the fear of losing your job keep you from overcoming your addiction. Without help, the behavior and decisions that are a part of your addiction will put your employment at jeopardy, so starting a treatment program can ultimately help save your career.

Myth 5:  Once I complete a rehabilitation program, I’ll be completely cured!

This myth sounds good, but unfortunately, the power of addiction cannot be eradicated by some magic program. An excellent treatment facility will give you the tools you need to detox and make choices that get your life back on the right path.
However, addiction is a disease. Once you’ve completed your program, you’ll need to keep making good decisions and surround yourself with those who support you and want the best for you. Inpatient treatment is not an automatic cure, but it’s the first step to a life that can be lived free from the bonds of drugs and/or alcohol.

Myth 6:  All rehabilitation programs are the same, so it doesn’t matter which one I select.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no “one size fits all” program for addiction issues. Many facilities use some of the same programs, but that doesn’t mean that they are all the same.  Before you choose a facility for treatment, don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions, including:

  • Is this program accredited?
  • What therapies are available?
  • Is support available for my loved ones?
  • How long does the program last?
  • Will I receive support once the inpatient portion of treatment is complete?

There are many excellent facilities available, but it’s important to choose a program that is a good fit for your specific needs and budget.

Benefits of Inpatient Treatment

If any of these myths are keeping you from seeking treatment, research the facts about the benefits of getting treatment at an inpatient facility. Knowledge is power, and participating in high-quality rehabilitation programs are one of the best decisions you can make.