Category: Addiction Treatment

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.

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.

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.

Why Prescription Drugs Are Addictive

Why Prescription Drugs Are Addictive

Prescription drug abuse and addiction is one of the most inadequately documented types of substance dependency. A prescription drug is any pill or a tablet regulated by law to require a doctor’s prescription before it can be accessed. Prescription drugs generally work by either suppressing or forcing chemical reactions in the head. People who abuse prescription drugs—that is, consuming them in a manner or a dose other than prescribed, or taking medications recommended for another person hazard addiction and other severe health cost. Prescription drugs are one of the most greatly abused categories of substances in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 16 million people in the US found using a prescription drug with no prescription or for a nonmedical intention in the precedent year; about seven million reported doing so in the past month. The condition is getting worse by each passing day.

NIDA states that some of the most frequently abused prescription drugs are:


Opiate medications, or prescription pain relief pills, are very frequently abused in the United States. Some of the most accepted prescriptions include:

  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl

These can be consumed by swallowing, or by crushing them into powder form first then snorting the fine particles or mixing the powder in water and injecting it in veins. When under the control, users often feel euphoric and knocked out. They may also experience burning, nausea, constipation, sweating, and other serious side effects.


Benzodiazepines ( for example Ativan, Valium and Xanax), barbiturates, and sleep medications (including Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta) are all inner nervous system depressants. These meds are abused by swallowing the pills, crushing the pills before snorting the resulting powder, or dissolving and injecting the drug. Use and exploitation of these medications cause major sleepiness, puzzlement, and impaired memory. Because they work by slowing the processes of the central nervous system, too much of these drugs can cause inhalation to discontinue. Furthermore, long-term use of the drugs can rapidly lead to addiction which can be a serious concern.



Stimulant drugs – amphetamine (which include Adderall and dexedrine) or methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta) – boosts the body procedures and create a high in the user. Like other prescription drugs, they are also abused by swallowing huge amounts of the pills, or crushing them before snorting or injecting. They serve to amplify focus and force levels. Unfortunately, taking too much can boost the heart rate and blood pressure too much, causing stroke, seizures, or heart attack. Furthermore, long-term and constant use of these drugs can result in addiction too.

Why they become addictive?

Prescription drugs are more restricted than over-the-counter medications, which can be obtained without a prescription. Generally, only a certified health doctor, dentist, optometrist may engrave the prescription. Registered nurses, medical assistants, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse midwives, emergency medical technicians, psychologists, and social workforce as examples, do not have the right to recommend drugs.

Majority people take medicines only in the method in which their doctors recommend them. However a large amount of people are predisposed to become addicted when they begin to abuse prescription drugs after a genuine recommendation was printed for them by their physician. The remedy may have been written due to constant pain, wound, surgical treatment or sadness.

Prescription drug abuse is mounting. The accessibility of drugs is probably one reason. Doctors are prescribing more drugs for more healthiness problems. The mounting numbers of web pharmacies can make it easier to get prescription drugs with no recommendation.

Most persons don’t start taking prescription drugs with the purpose of becoming an addict. They don’t have any intention of becoming a drug addict. Many individuals take the medication to get some break from their pain. For them it is just like a regular medicine to them to get rid of regular pain. Another effect of the prescription drug is that many provide an enjoyable feeling. In an effort to reduce the pain even further and improve the feeling of pleasure, individuals begin to take more prescription. An acceptance to the prescription drug is steadily developed, so now more and more is required to create the first effect. In this way, the simple pain killers’ pills or medicines become so addictive for them that they become a regular drug addict. The most unfortunate fact is that the story does not end here. After they have found pleasure in these pills or medicines they try to find other more powerful pills to have this kind of pleasure. In this way, their body and immune system gets addictive to more and more high potency tablets and they end up being a professional drug addict.

Numerous prescription drugs have the prospective to become bodily or psychologically addictive. To suddenly discontinue prescription medications could result in severe medical problems, like seizures or convulsions. Pulling out from prescription drugs should be carried only under medical regulation. Withdrawal from sedative medications, in particular, can be life-threatening without appropriate medical control.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid Addiction Treatment

Inmates Offered New Program For Opioid Addiction Treatment

In today’s jails, inmates are struggling with many different types of addiction. Some of these addictions are much easier to treat than others. Opioid addiction, however, is one that can take quite a bit of specialized treatment to break the cycle of using. Luckily, there is a new program that offers opioid addiction treatment to inmates. Read on to learn more about this option and how it can help those who reside in our jails.

Jails are places that are meant to be drug-free, however that is not always the reality of the institutions. Different types of drugs are smuggled in, one way or another, and those that are addicted to the substances continue to use. Not everyone entered jail as an addict, some addicts are created in the facility as they manage to find the opioid or other drugs from their fellow inmates. This can be quite trouble for many different reasons. As inmates become addicted, their body actually needs the drugs to function. Should the drug not be available, it can cause many adverse reactions, sometimes it even results in death.

Since being addicted to opioids is not good for the body, and also not having the drug when you are addicted can cause so many horrible side effects, addiction treatment is crucial. Proper treatment, like the new program that is now available to inmates, helps the addict get the drug out of their system in a safe manner. Going off of opioids cold turkey is not a good choice and with the treatment that is offered, the inmates will no longer have to do that. Plus, once the drug is out of their system, the addicted inmates will receive opioid addiction treatment until they feel comfortable with who they are when they do not use the drug.

The process of treating opioid addicts is not an easy or quick one, which means the jails have taken on quite a good thing as they do their part to help those addicted to the drug. Not only will it be helpful for inmates to learn how to handle their addiction while they are in jail, but hopefully once they have been released, they will no longer feel the need do the drug. But if they do, it is hoped that they will have the coping mechanisms in place to stay away and find other ways to spend their time.

Some of the inmates are resisting the treatment, as is the case outside of jail. However, the option is there for them to join the program once they are ready to admit they have a problem and choose to get better. Making that choice is crucial to breaking free from opioid addiction and going on to live a drug-free life where one is happier and healthier.

It hasn’t been easy to fund the new program, but there are some organizations that are stepping up to help. The jails and the addicts are thankful for the help that has been offered.