Is Drug Addiction A Mental Illness?

Is Drug Addiction A Mental Illness?

Is Drug Addiction A Mental Illness?

Mental illness and drug addiction very often overlap one another that it’s difficult to tell which is which. The National Mental Illness Alliance has estimated that more than half of people who are suffering from mental illnesses are also dealing with alcohol or drug abuse. The drug mental illness relationship makes it doubly hard for professionals to treat those who are diagnosed with this type of condition.

Is Drug Addiction A Mental Illness?
Addiction, whether to drugs or alcohol brings about certain chemical changes in the brain. The individual’s normal needs and desires often give way to a single focus on obtaining drugs or alcohol and using it. This is a compulsive-type behavior which fundamentally changes control impulses that are observed in patients who have mental conditions.
The DSM classifies drug use disorders into 2 types- drug dependence and drug abuse. Drug dependence is quite similar to addiction. Drug abuse revolves around harmful consequences regarding constant use, but it doesn’t necessarily mean compulsive use, tolerance or withdrawal, which are elements that make up addiction.
How about the question on whether or not addiction causes mental illness? The answer is not clear. Though closely related, there’s no solid indication on how addiction may cause mental illness and vice versa. The Institute of Drug Abuse has stated that drug abuse can certainly lead to mental illnesses. Heroin, cocaine and other mind-altering drugs such as meth can cause massive changes to how one thinks, which can lead to a mental illness if used long-term. The patient may exhibit excessive anxiety, cognitive impairment, depression and noticeable mood disorders. The tables could be turned around as well, with patients suffering from mental illnesses taking to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope and manage the symptoms. In some cases mental illness and drug addiction both come from one risk factor, i.e., social instability, impaired relations with families, trauma and genetic makeup.
Getting Help For Drug Addiction and Mental Illness
Individuals who take street drugs, misuse medical prescriptions, drink heavily and suffer from a mental illness will find it difficult to get help. The good thing is that there are now facilities who specialize in dual diagnosis and offer specialized treatment and rehabilitation for addiction and mental illnesses. The only downside is that these facilities are few and far in-between.
Those who are suffering from a mental illness will have to overcome a lot of obstacles when they seek treatment for drug addiction. Small scale help groups and addiction treatment centers may not be equipped to handle a dual-diagnosed patient. Moreover, certain types of behavior may be hard to understand. Examples include symptoms of patients who have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. People who are suffering from a mental illness may not be able to interact well with peers and counselors. Furthermore, people with chronic mental illnesses will find it almost impossible to keep regular appointments and meetings especially if they do not have a reliable means to get around.
Types of Treatment Available
Care for dual diagnosis patients will require compassion, utmost support, clinical insight and extensive training, among some. The doctors and counselors who treat patients suffering from dual diagnosis must have empathy and understanding for both the drug addiction and mental illness alike.
Traditional drug addiction treatments have little to no effect to those who are dually diagnosed. Heavy emotional disclosure and straight protocols may prove to be too much for someone who has a mental illness. Psychotherapeutic medications are discouraged because it can add to the addiction. Sometimes specialized treatment classes advocate the use of anti-depressant medication which counteracts the positive effects of sobriety.
According to the National Mental Illness Alliance, treatment for those who are dual diagnosed may begin with addressing the mental problem first. Counselors and doctors should do the treatment in a slow, progressive manner, which takes the patient’s emotional and mental stability in account. Drug addicts who are diagnosed with a mental illness may not even be aware that they have a severe addiction. Furthermore, they may react violently or deny all facts when faced with direct confrontation.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness and finding solace in drugs, then the best thing to do is seek help immediately. Compassionate addiction treatment is available and is very effective in dealing with patients suffering from dual diagnosis.
Benzodiazepines: What You Should Know Before You Fill Your Prescription

Benzodiazepines: What You Should Know Before You Fill Your Prescription

Benzodiazepines: What You Should Know Before You Fill Your Prescription

The crisis surrounding opioid remains in full swing, but that’s not to say opioids are the only class of drugs that hurt people. Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium, or Versed, are a group of drugs that are recommended for people who fight anxiety and panic disorder. Prescriptions for and overdoses that are caused by benzodiazepines, which depress the nervous system, have increased a lot over the last two decades.

Here are the things you should note about benzodiazepines before filling your prescription.

Like every prescription drugs, some people in certain circumstances can benefit from well-used prescription benzodiazepines. People who suffer from chronic anxiety and panic attacks can get relieved temporarily from their conditions in the short-term use of this drug. Benzodiazepines are not innately wrong, but they often pose a possibility for abuse that physicians should think about before writing a prescription.

Becoming dependent on benzodiazepines is easy. Depending on benzodiazepines can occur when the prescription is used at higher doses than what is recommended, creating cravings in between treatments and creating withdrawal symptoms if you try to withdraw. Despite getting them from a doctor, benzodiazepines prescriptions that are misused can be as deadly as heroin.

As you try quitting benzodiazepines, you’re in for a rude surprise. The same symptoms your prescription was expected to treat, i.e., anxiety and panic attacks will return in a more significant form as your body begins to react to the drug’s absence. Symptoms of withdrawal usually occur three or four days after your previous dose and can last for many days. The only safe way to detox from benzodiazepines is under the watch of a physician.

Benzodiazepines addiction medications can be avoided with the perfect precautions. You should always take all medication you are prescribed based on your doctor’s orders and the guides on the bottle. Never make away with any leftover pills. Talk to your doctor regularly before you change the way you take your medication. Pay attention to potential interactions, especially with alcohol, to avoid fatal injury or an accidental overdose.

Always feel free to ask your doctor about this class of drugs and possible treatment options before he/she writes you a prescription. You deserve the best, most effective treatment for any debilitating mental or physical condition you’re battling. Also, make sure you cautiously weigh the likely benefits of any prescription medication with the possibility of addiction and abuse before agreeing to a treatment plan with your physician.

If you’re considering taking a prescribed benzodiazepine to help in controlling your anxiety, try other tools or skills you could develop that can help alleviate your suffering. Locate a psychotherapist that can be trusted and create robust portfolios of favorite pastimes that help you relax better, confident, and at ease. Reach out to loved ones even when you’d rather not. With additional social connections, assistance, and healthy ways to fight anxiety when it surfaces, that prescription might not be necessary after all.

Addiction And Mental Illness Correlation

Addiction And Mental Illness Correlation

Addiction And Mental Illness Correlation

Research shows that that a good number of individuals with mental disorders also suffer from substance abuse and vice verser. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), individuals suffering from mental health disorder account for the consumption of 38% of alcohol, 40% of cigarettes and 44% if cocaine.

Dr. Stephen Gilman an addiction psychiatrist from New York University observes that substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders often take place simultaneously. Researchers do not know however why this correlation exists. According to Dr. Gilman, about 50% of individuals suffering from addiction also suffer from a mental illness. And about 20% of individuals suffering from mental illness suffer from addiction problems. These numbers tend to be higher when specific mental conditions are looked into such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and antisocial personality disorders. The numbers are higher in patients suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

A research conducted at the New York University indicated that:

  • Individuals suffering from alcohol addiction exhibited symptoms of schizophrenia when they went into withdraw after abruptly quitting alcohol.
  • Drugs and alcohol can lead to changes in one’s brain and these changes can lead to mental and personality disorders.
  • Most alcoholics also suffer from anxiety and depression. Alcoholic men in particular tend to suffer from antisocial personality disorders as compared to their non-alcoholic counterparts.

Underlying Causes of Mental Illness & Drug Abuse

Studies have shown that there are other underlying factors that could explain the simultaneous occurrence of mental illness and addiction. These include:

  • Studies conducted to compare fraternal and identical twins showed that the likelihood of having disorders in identical twins was higher than in fraternal twins. This shows that genetics could be responsible for some of mental illnesses and addictions.
  • Shared environment. Studies have shown that individuals who are exposed to certain environments are at a higher risk of developing substance addictions and mental illnesses. It is therefore not a wonder that some places have higher cases of mental illness and substance abuse than others. Accessibility to alcohol and drugs in some regions predispose a higher percentage of the population to the risk of developing these addictions, which could ultimately lead to mental illnesses.
  • Chemical deficiency. In situations where addiction and mental disorders occur simultaneously, neuro-chemical factors have been involved. Individuals who suffer from anxiety and alcoholism tend to have lower levels of the brain chemical serotonin. Research has also shown that mental disorders and addiction are linked to the dysfunction of monoamine oxidases, a group of chemicals found in the brain.


Many experts agree that diagnosis in cases where a patient is exhibiting both symptoms of addiction and mental illness is often difficult. For a proper diagnosis to be made, an individual would have to be substance free for no less than two weeks. Ideally, doctors treat both the psychological and addiction symptoms simultaneously. As a result, cases of misdiagnosis are not uncommon. For instance, an addict may exhibit symptoms that are mask bipolar disorder. Having a good medical history of the patient can help doctors identify the underlying issues and offer the appropriate course of treatment.

Understanding the Basics of Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attacks

Understanding the Basics of Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attacks

Understanding the Basics of Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attacks

Anxiety disorders are by large the most frequently occurring mental disorders in today’s world. When most of us become anxious, we tend to feel tense, uncomfortable, and upset. Anxiety disorder is a type of mental illness characterized by high anxiety and extreme tension and discomfort. Most of the times, the anxiety disorders in most individuals go unnoticed, but when it becomes severe, people get into a state of confusion. Their daily life is hampered, and they can’t do the things the way they usually do.

According to a survey, anxiety disorder is becoming very common, and it affects approximately one in every 20 individuals at a particular time. Most often the anxiety disorders start from childhood and attain unbearable proportions during early adulthood. Most common symptoms of anxiety disorders are as follows:

  • Palpitations
  • Breathlessness
  • Trembling
  • Feeling of chocking
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal distress
  • Dizziness

Anxiety disorders affect the way an individual feels, thinks, and behaves. If not treated in time, anxiety disorders can lead to serious complications and interrupt personal and professional life of an individual. There are severe types of anxiety disorders in the human body such as generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobia, and social phobia.

The main symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder are the unrealistic, uncontrollable, and excessive worry about day-to-day things such as money, health, family, friends or career. Phobias are intense fears of particular situations or objects. These phobias may include the fear of dogs, cats, snakes, heights, closed spaces, spiders and so on. The person is normal if he or she is not in front of the feared object or situation. However, when the feared object comes in front of that individual, he or she becomes highly anxious and experiences a panic attack.

When people experience a panic attack, they feel as if they are about to die. Others feel as if they are getting suffocated and in some extreme cases they feel as if they have a heart attack. The first time you get a panic attack, you will be confused, and you may not be able to recognize it from a heart attack or some other ailment. So, it is advisable to meet your medical professional as soon as possible. Because the panic attacks mimic many types of ailments, the medical professional may perform a thorough physical examination.

The medical professional will first ask the patient about the patient’s past mental health history and recent medical history. If the patient has undergone any surgeries in the past, then the medical professional may ask about the details of that operation. So, whenever you go to visit the medical professional for the treatment of a panic attack, it is good to go along with the details of your past surgeries if any.

Before prescribing any medications for the panic attacks, the medical professional will first ask if you are currently on any other remedies for other ailments. The physical examination that is undertaken by the medical professional to comprises a head-to-toe check of all essential organ systems. The doctor or medical professional do conduct a neurological exam that is specially designed to see if the brain is functioning correctly. Depending upon the complexity of the symptoms, some general tests are also advised by the medical professional. These tests include urine tests, blood tests, X-rays, CT scans, and drug screens.

In extreme cases, if there are symptoms that are not related to regular panic attacks, then the doctor or medical professional may even ask the patient to consult a neurologist. A neurologist is a professional who is a specialist with the nervous system and its associated disorders.

In most cases, counseling is also done to understand the mental condition of the patient. The doctors or medical professional may also refer the patient to a psychiatrist or a therapist to understand the underlying cause of panic attacks. The psychiatrist or therapist may give the patient some tips on how to handle the panic attacks. Mostly self-help is the best first aid during a panic attack and the patient needs to be made aware of all the self-help methodologies. Proper treatment and proper medical advice inevitably reduce the panic attacks.

Anxiety Medications And The Human Brain

Anxiety Medications And The Human Brain

Anxiety Medications And The Human Brain

We all get normal bouts of anxiety from time to time, which often come in the form of fear, panic attacks, phobia, or social anxiety when we are going through a stressful situation. While there is the difference between anxiety disorders and normal anxiety isn’t always clear, you will know that your everyday anxiety has crossed the line into a disorder that has taken over your life when you experience the following symptoms on a regular basis, and you may need to seek immediate medical advice;

  • Having persistent anxious thoughts that last more than 6 months
  • Being incredibly restless and irritable
  • Finding yourself lying awake, worried or agitated about specific problems
  • Having an irrational, overwhelming, or disruptive fear attached to a specific situation or thing such as crowds, flying, or animals
  • Near-constant muscle tension
  • Chronic digestive problems such as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Experiencing a sudden, gripping feeling of fear and helplessness that can last for several minutes, accompanied by scary physical symptoms such as breathing problems, heart palpitations, sweating or flushing
  • Persistent self-doubt and second-guessing yourself and much more

We are all vulnerable to mild anxiety, which can be a tad disconcerting, but severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating. There is a range of coping mechanisms and approaches to alleviate this disorder. Aside from relaxation techniques, second-line treatment, anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, Zoloft, or Valium are effective in relieving symptoms of anxiety, such as panic attacks, or extreme fear and worry.

However, it is not uncommon for people to build up a tolerance to Xanax if they are taken over a long period of time or even become dependent on them and when use is discontinued abruptly, people will show withdrawal symptoms, such as high blood pressure, shaking, intense anxiety, which in severe cases may lead to death.

This because while these medications are approved for the treatment of anxiety disorders, they fall into the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) category of medications known to increase serotonin in the brain and regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion.

And while this is generally great for reducing symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, prolonged usage of antidepressants has been shown to result in changes in the structure of neurons and cause destructive outcomes such as a reduced blood clotting capacity, a worsening of anxiety symptoms, treatment-induced sexual dysfunction, drowsiness, insomnia, long-term weight gain, as well as increased suicidal behavior in both children and young adults.

Additionally, patients taking SSRIs have been shown to develop insomnia, joint and muscle pain, headaches, skin rashes, nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea.

Prescription anti-anxiety medications may have a calming effect on individuals with anxiety and many people report feeling a great deal of improvement from them, but medications that are designed to have an impact on the neurotransmitter activity of the brain will often times lead to drug abuse or dependence. It is, therefore, important to discuss with your doctor about the potential problems and side effects of these drugs.

Meth and the Brain

Meth and the Brain

Meth and the brain

Methamphetamine aka meth is one of the worst drugs that are being abused in today’s society by individuals of different ages and statuses. As much as the brain may be made to be resilient and tough, the toxicity and stress levels that are brought about by meth abuse are very intense. One of several drugs that has been classified as a central nervous system stimulant. The brain is normally affected in severe ways in which it may take up to years to actually recover fully in the event that one actually comes all the way back. Users of the specific drug need to understand that the injuries it causes are often times permanent and severe to both the body and the mind.

Abusers of the specific drug normally try to find different ways in which they may consume the drug to achieve a high like no other. The next dosage always has to feel better than the previous one. This then leads to addiction of the drug which is basically one reaching the point where they cannot function well without using.

Various issues are normally associated with the extreme use of the drug and this may lead to it affecting the Central Nervous system which is inclusive of the brain and the spinal cord which basically control most of the things in the human body. Some short term damages that may occur to the brain and the whole CNS include:

The increased death of neurons as the chronic use of methamphetamine is known to kill most neuron in the body. The toxicity of the chemicals used to produce the drug normally attack the neurons in the body hence making them regenerate at a slow pace which after being damaged are actually not recoverable. This then may lead to brain damage as it affects the hippocampus, striatum, parietal cortex, frontal and prefrontal cortex, a number of subcortical structure and the cerebellum.

Nevertheless, it may also lead to the decreased production of the white matter, glycogenesis, levels of dopamine and serotonin transporters, increase of glutamate calcium in the brain, increased damage to the dendrites and neurons, damage of the cytoskeletal and circulatory system of the brain among many other effects.

In the long run an increased use of the drug may result in the in various cognitive effects such as one may have problems with paying attention, memory loss, movement issues, emotional control, paranoia, hallucinations, violent behaviors, psychological or psychiatric issues and judgment and problem solving just to mention but a few.

As for pregnant women, the use of meth during pregnancy may end up damaging the child’s brain as it is very sensitive. One may actually end up having problems dealing with normal issues as well as may cause the child to have slow responses in various thing and may affect even their performance in school.

Hence, in the event that one has a member of their family or even friend affected by the drug, then there is need for them to take action before things get out of hand and one ends up reaching a point of no return. There is still hope if treated early.

Opioid Addiction and the Brain

Opioid Addiction and the Brain

Opioid Addiction and the Brain

Opioids are drugs such as morphine, OxyContin, percocet, Vicodin, and Demerol among others that are pain medication legally prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Cocaine, methamphetamines, ecstasy, LSD, GHB, Ketamine, heroin, club drugs, or steroids are also opioids but illegal. Opioid drugs work by inhibiting the intensity of pain-signal perception through attaching to opioid protein receptors in the brain, gastrointestinal tract, spinal cord and other organs in the body.

Despite sparse evidence for their effectiveness when used long-term, frequent use of opioids has physically changed the brain to the point where it needs more of them to function normally, and users often become physically dependent, which in some cases can lead to addiction. This is because, in addition to alleviating chronic pain, opioids also activate reward regions in the brain, causing the euphoria very similar to heroin that increases the risk of addiction and overdose even in those who follow their prescription to a tee.

Case and point: a drug such as OxyContin is commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, but according to the Controlled Substances Act, OxyContin is classified as a Schedule II drug because it produces extreme positive feelings of euphoria, sedation, relaxation, reduced anxiety and rewarding sensations in the user, which has a high potential for misuse or overdose when used recreationally. In fact, a significantly slowed respiratory rate can quickly turn life-threatening, especially in overdose circumstances.

While physical dependence is predictable in most cases, not everyone who takes opioids becomes addicted to the euphoria they produce, even those on high doses for long periods of time. In fact, some users develop a condition known as opioid –induced hyperalgesia (OIH) whereby patients become increasingly sensitive to pain as a result of treatment with opioids.

Any addiction forms as a result of repeated stimulation of the brain’s reward system. The unusual levels of opioid stimulation exceed what the brain is equipped to handle at any given time and as a result, alters the brain and produce persistent cravings for opioids.

The brain construes the abundance of euphoric-releasing opioids as a positive familiarity necessary for the body’s survival. And as would be expected in the path of addiction, the development of tolerance and physical dependence occurs, and as tolerance increases, the body’s ability to maintain this stability is outdone, and the body becomes increasingly reliant on the drugs.

The physiological adaptations to chronic exposure to a drug are what leads to dependence and are not really part of addiction. Addiction, on the other hand, involves various changes in the altered brain biology and is distinguished by a very obsessive drug seeking, the inability to control drug use, and a compulsive drug use that prompt the destructive behaviors of addiction.

Misuse of prescription opioids is a risk factor for transitioning to heroin use and other life-threatening drugs. Building a new life which is not connected to drug addiction is a challenging task only a good counselor or therapist can guide anyone through.

Addiction; A Brain Disease

Addiction; A Brain Disease

Imagine telling a person that they have a relapsing brain disease because they are an alcoholic or a drug addict? In fact, how does one know that they have an addiction in the first place because there is really nothing wrong about having fun and feeling enjoyment anyway, right? Well, there are a series of conditions you can use to determine the severity of addictive behaviors that involve chemical dependency such as:

  • How much priority you give to either drugs or alcohol consumption
  • Does taking drugs make you feel better, more in control or does not taking them make you feel worse?
  • How often do you take drugs and how long can you stay without them?
  • What are your initial emotional and physical response, do you feel anxious or panicked without them?
  • Has doing drugs or consuming alcohol disrupted your life and your relationships and have you lost interest in things you once liked to do?

All of these signs point to a much bigger problem – addiction. It takes center stage over your better judgment and negatively impacts the quality and health of your life by controlling your impulses, pleasures, anxieties, fears, or your preferences.

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disorder characterized by taking a drug more often than the prescription calls for or an obsessive drug seeking and use. Scientific research shows that all drugs of abuse have some unique mechanisms of addiction that are tied to changes in brain structure and function. Drugs change the process of communication between nerve cells in the brain, ultimately altering a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

For instance, a drug like fentanyl is typically used to treat patients with chronic pain or to manage pain after a surgical procedure. However, people can now get street fentanyl, produced in surreptitious laboratories and are often mixed with heroin or cocaine, then sold in powder form or spiked on blotter paper to either be swallowed, snorted, or injected. High doses of potent opioids such as fentanyl can mimic the physical effects similar to those of heroin that may lead to respiratory arrest, unconsciousness, coma, or death.

Another extremely toxic and dreadful drug that produces an initial rush of euphoria and a massive boost of energy is methamphetamine. The long-term health effects of this drug are neither glamorous nor beneficial, because, in addition to the adverse damage to a user’s physical appearance, meth releases a flood of dopamine nearly four times more than cocaine that not only destroys the body’s dopamine receptors and the ability to experience pleasure, but it also impairs motor coordination similar to those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Heavy use of meth also leads to behavioral changes and psychotic propensities including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, and delusion, while others become socially isolated as their addiction deteriorates. As meth use increases, an addict’s body becomes more susceptible to diseases that lead to death. Therefore, understanding addiction as a brain disease may help us all grasp the plight of those struggling with dependency.

The Opioid Epidemic and Its Effects on Americans Life Expectancy

The Opioid Epidemic and Its Effects on Americans Life Expectancy

Drug-related deaths caused by opioid overdose are rising faster than ever particularly for Americans under the age of 50. Suffice it to say that while any addiction lowers any life expectancy significantly, continued use and abuse of prescription medication that acts on the nervous system to relieve pain can lead to physical dependency and severe withdrawal symptoms.

OxyContin, Vicodin, Codeine, Methadone, Roxanol, Demarol, Percocet, Ritalin, you name them and probably someone you know has used and abused them knowingly or unknowingly. Opiate addiction is a fast-growing issue, and the addiction can develop in a matter of one to two weeks of regular use but this does not stop the over prescription of opioid painkillers being sold in pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices to unsuspecting Americans who as research would show, 91 people, die every day from prescription opioid and overdoses.

Prescription opioids are used to manage moderate to severe pain associated with surgery or injury such as back pain or osteoarthritis or health conditions such as cancer. Despite serious risks or evidence in their long-term effectiveness in alleviating pain, there has been an unrestrained increase in the acceptance and use of prescription opioids.

Drug-related overdoses have killed more American people than vehicular accidents or guns. This because the body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced or stopped and to avoid feeling sick, people will either up the dosage and some reported cases, combining them with drugs such as heroin or even alcohol to get a quicker fix.

Because opioid receptors regulate pain, which makes them powerful painkillers, they are debilitatingly addictive, and in addition to the serious risks of addiction, abuse, and overdose, whether taken as prescribed, opioid dependency has a number of physical side effects and withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Increased sensitivity to pain tolerance
  • Symptoms of withdrawal when the medication is stopped
  • Dry mouth, severe nausea, and vomiting
  • Chills, shivers, itching and profuse sweating
  • Confusion and depression
  • Sleepiness and dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Lower sex drive, energy, and strength
  • Hallucinations
  • Dilated pupils
  • Body tremors
  • Feelings of hostility or paranoia
  • Dangerously high body temperatures and irregular heartbeat
  • Suicidal thoughts

Opioids are vital, and when used appropriately they can improve the quality of life, particularly for cancer patients and those with suffering from debilitating pain, but it is a losing battle when weighed against the risks of overdose and addiction. Even though withdrawals aren’t necessarily fatal, there are cases of deaths during the withdrawal phase that occurs either from severe dehydration that leads to electrolyte disturbance or when the throes of withdrawal destabilize the addict’s body, leaving it susceptible to various health complication.

There is a lot being done to raise awareness of the American opiate dilemma because not many know that it is an epidemic on the rise and those people in the bondage of opiate and drug addiction can also seek treatment, specifically detox as well as opiate replacement therapy.

Does Your Child Suffer From Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Does Your Child Suffer From Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) is a term used to describe a range of conditions that occur to a person whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. People that suffer from this may have physical problems or suffer from impaired vision and hearing. Also, they tend to have difficulty in learning and communicating.

In a nutshell, the effects are usually physical and mental problems. There are various types of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorders, yet, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is considered the most severe.

Causes of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

When a baby is a womb, it is still developing its organs, regardless of the trimester. That includes organs such as the brain and the liver. That said, when the mother consumes the alcohol, it passes through the placenta to the baby.

Due to the baby’s undeveloped liver, the alcohol is not well processed by the baby. Hence, the ability to cause physical damage to the baby’s organs. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is also known to cause miscarriage.

The alcohol inhibits the proper circulation of oxygen and nutrition that the baby requires.

Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

As previously mentioned, the effects are usually physical and mental problems. However, they also include social and behavioral problems. That said, the severity of the symptom varies. Let us take a look at some of them.

Physical Symptoms

There a few distinctive features that tend to stand out, and one needs to look out for. They include:

  • Small eye openings
  • Thin upper lip
  • The head is smaller than usual head
  • They are shorter than normal in terms of height
  • The ridge between the nose and upper lip (The Philtrum) is smooth
  • Vision and hearing impairment
  • Heart defects and problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Slow physical growth
  • Abnormal bone growth

Social And Behavioral Problems

  • Poor time management
  • Problems making new friends or maintaining friendships
  • Poor task management
  • Difficulty setting goals and keeping them

Mental Problems

  • Brain size is smaller than usual
  • Growth of brain is slow
  • Very hyperactive
  • Problems maintaining attention
  • Difficulty in learning, especially with Math
  • Problems in speech, as well as learning any language
  • Problems with coordination
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble remembering anything (Memory problems)

Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

You should not drink at all when pregnant. It is advisable that you steer clear of any form of an alcoholic beverage if you are pregnant, or working towards pregnancy. Most women often realize that they are pregnant three months later.

Staying completely away from alcohol is the best prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This includes all types of wines and other alcoholic beverages.