Month: November 2017

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.