Substance Abuse

Weed Nails: New Fashion Trend Uses Crushed Marijuana For Manicure

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Manicure designs have never been as outrageous as the recent trend in the world of vanity where “cannabis manis” have captured quite a number of followers. Known as weed nails, this emerging fashion trend makes use of crushed cannabis leaves mixed with glue or varnish as nail paint. Some women have even resorted to gluing cannabis leaves onto their nails.

The trend began in 2016, leading to roughly 3,000 Instagram posts using the hashtag #weednails.

Deadly Nails Salon, a popular salon in Melbourne, became famous for using dead insects for nail art. These days, they’re now open to applying weed nails by embedding cannabis into acrylic nails to keep up with ever-increasing demand on such nail design.

Experts have raised concerns with regards to “glamorizing” the use of cannabis. Despite more U.S. states approving the substance for legal use, marijuana is still categorized as a Class B drug in the U.K. and Schedule I in the U.S.

The rise in the number of women posting their cannabis-inspired nail art has alarmed Dr. Henry Fisher, policy director for drug policy online advocate Volteface. In a news release, Fisher raised his concerns that posting photos of these cannabis-designed nails could encourage the youth to use marijuana irresponsibly.

Similar to how alcohol drinking is being glamorized on screen and in social media, Fisher warned that putting the spotlight on cannabis use might harm the younger generation, and this practice should not be sensationalized.

[Photo by thespoiled710babes via Instagram]

Substance Abuse

Carfentanil Emerging As Canada’s New Drug Problem

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British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall has expressed his concern over the confirmation that among the 1,766 urine tests conducted over a two-week period last month at several drug treatment facilities in different areas in Canada such as in Vancouver, New Westminster, Surrey Richmond and Maple Ridge, 57 were positive with carfentanil.

Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is primarily used as a sedative for large animals. Just a few grains of this substance can be fatal to humans. Carfentanil is said to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl, 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 4,000 times more potent than heroin.

The drug has penetrated the street drug scene in Metro Vancouver. This is a clear sign that drug supply has tremendously increased. Weekly reports to the provincial health ministry and the B.C. Center for Disease Control were submitted by LifeLabs, as reported in a news article.

Authorities believe that it must have started its widespread trading in November 2016 when the number of overdose deaths began to increase although authorities were then unsure of the possible cause of the deaths. There were about 914 people reported who died of illicit drug in B.C. last year.

Substance Abuse

Kratom Alternatives for Pain Management

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The status of the proposed kratom ban remains unchanged as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has temporarily put on hold the banning of the said substance until the Food and Drug Administration is finally done with further testing of kratom to exactly determine its effect. As a result, some people turn to kratom alternatives to address their pain.

In this article, we will discuss some common kratom alternatives, what they can do, and if they are legal.

Status of Kratom in the U.S.

When DEA sought the help of the public by sharing their thoughts about banning kratom, 99 percent of the respondents opposed to the idea. Their primary reason was simple: kratom has helped manage their chronic pain without having to use pain medication. Users claim that kratom produces milder side effects compared to other opioid analgesics.

Amidst the debate between kratom users who continue to promote positive claims about the substance and government agencies who are unsure of its safety, kratom remains legal. However, once DEA decides on banning the kratom, it will be categorized as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Among the drugs under this category are heroin, cocaine and ecstasy, all of which have been proven to have no medical benefits and have a high potential for abuse.

The government is burdened enough with so many cases of drug addiction, and so completely eradicating the issue may not be an easy task. Despite this, precautionary measures are being taken to ensure the safety of everyone. This is the reason why kratom, which has opioid-like properties, is being monitored by world governments as the emerging drug to join the list of commonly abused substances.

Benefits of Kratom Use

Kratom, a tree that is common in Southeast Asia, may be associated with the plant family of coffee. Kratom leaves are crushed in order to extract its opioid properties.

The analgesic property of kratom is helpful in the following cases:

  • Management of chronic pain
  • Treatment of anxiety or depression
  • Energy booster
  • Management of symptoms from opiate withdrawal

A low dose of kratom can become a stimulant to make a person feel happy, strong and alert. On the other hand, if given in high doses, the user may feel lethargic. This may be helpful in treating insomnia.

Normally, a patient is given massive doses of opioid analgesics to relieve pain, but this can cost a lot of money. Worse, long-term use of opioid medication may lead to addiction, dependence, and tolerance.

Some cases of addiction start with legal use of prescription drugs. The effect of prolonged use may turn into physical and psychological dependence, which in turn is another situation that needs to be addressed. Advocates claim that kratom is a good alternative to otherwise addictive opioid drugs.

Kratom is used both for therapeutic and recreational purposes. As therapeutic aid, it is reported to provide an analgesic effect, thereby inducing euphoric effect that may lead to less inhibitions. Kratom can also act as a CNS stimulant.

Kratom is also gaining popularity as a legal mind-altering substance throughout Europe and the United States.

kratom leaf

How Kratom is Consumed

Fresh kratom leaves can be chewed, although veins must be removed first. Dry kratom leaves can also be crushed to produce a powder which can be mixed with food or beverages.

Kratom has a bitter taste, and so some individuals add sugar or honey to mask out its unfavorable taste.  It can also be smoked by rolling the leaves.

A pure form of kratom can be achieved by completely evaporating the water from kratom leaves. This pure extract may be swallowed or dissolved in water. This form is more expensive than plain leaves.

Effects of Kratom Use

It may no longer be a surprise if kratom takes the place of traditional opioids prescribed to patients suffering from chronic pain, especially for the following conditions:

  • Scoliosis
  • Arthritis
  • Chest pain
  • Migraine
  • Broken bones
  • Damaged muscles

Best Kratom Alternatives

Considering the legal seesaw surrounding kratom, people should be aware that the effect of this substance is still questionable. In line with efforts to provide the best care possible with regards to pain management, the general public needs to know other ways on how to control pain using already existing and much safer substances.

Here are some of the common kratom alternatives that are either safer or more recommended by medical practitioners:

L-Theanine

The first on the list of kratom alternatives is a natural component of teas from Camelia sinensis. This substance is said to promote relaxation without sedation, making it effective in relieving stress. Its effect is noticeable 30 minutes after ingestion.

It is said to improve mood and concentration and can help decrease anxiety and stress. Apart from this, it is also helpful in reducing muscle fatigue and pain.

Marijuana

For so many years, the question on the status of marijuana has finally been put to an end. Most states in the U.S. have already come up with their own marijuana laws involving the use, manufacture and trade of the substance. However, its use, possession, sale, cultivation and transportation remain to be illegal under U.S. federal law.

By following each of the state’s conditions with regards to the usage of cannabis, the use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes remains as an option for managing chronic pain, most especially for people diagnosed with cancer.

The effect of marijuana upon ingestion may be evident in as little as 5 minutes. Imagine how a person suffering from Parkinson’s disease would be relieved from uncontrollable tremors. Upon ingestion of a single dose, the patient’s whole body relaxes a few minutes after, and there seems to be no trace of trembling, not even on one hand.

Kava

Kava is a root found in the South Pacific Island that is used for both medicinal and religious purposes.

Kava produces a calming effect by introducing changes in the brain similar to the effect of medication like diazepam. It is also good as an alternative in the prevention of convulsions and can be used as a muscle relaxant. It is considered to be a non-addictive substance, and using the substance is considered to be a lot safer than using opioid-like substances.

Kava roots are traditionally prepared as tea and are also available as dietary supplements that come in either tincture or powder form.

The use of kava roots relieves the following conditions:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Spasm
  • Muscle tension
  • Pain

It can also be helpful in treating people suffering from insomnia to promote deep sleep. However, special precautions should be noted when taking kava roots:

  • Alcohol should not be consumed together with kava.
  • Since it has a sedating effect, driving or using heavy machinery may compromise thinking or decision-making.
  • It can affect the color of the skin and nails.
  • It can cause some allergic reactions.

Long term use of kava may lead to liver problems, facial swelling, shortness of breath and scaly rashes.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm comes from the mint family. Its leaves are used for medicinal purposes either alone or in combination with other herbs.

It is also useful in treating digestive disorders like flatulence, vomiting, stomach bloating and upset stomach. It can also help control pain such as headache, toothache and menstrual cramps and can also be effective in treating hysteria.

Others have used lemon balm to help with their sleep problems, and it is found to be helpful to treat anxiety as well. Lemon balm is also reported to be effective for the treatment of Alzheimer’s diseases and ADHD. It is also found to reduce the growth of certain viruses.

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort comes from a plant called Hypericum perforatum. It has been used as treatment for depression. It comes in tablet or capsule form but may also be sold in tea bags and tinctures.

There is solid scientific evidence to back up the efficacy of using St. John’s Wort to treat the following conditions:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Burning mouth syndrome
  • Depression
  • Nerve pain
  • OCD
  • Post-operative pain
  • Somatoform disorders

There is, however, a small percentage among St. John’s Wort users who experience unfavorable symptoms like:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sedation
  • Stomach upset
  • Fatigue
  • Sexual dysfunction

The effectiveness of St. John’s Wort may be reduced when taken with the following:

  • Oral contraceptives
  • Theophylline
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Digoxin
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Some anti-HIV drugs

Phenibut

The chemical found in phenibut is similar to the brain chemical GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid.

Phenibut is used for the treatment of sleeping disorders, stress, anxiety, fatigue, fear, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, irregular heartbeat and alcoholism. It is also useful in improving memory and thinking.

It provides mild to moderate sedation and stimulation, which allows an individual to be relaxed and focused at the same time. With that being said, it decreases inhibition, lowers stress without impairing judgment or decision-making capabilities, and provides pain relief.

The over-all effect of phenibut may be similar to a small dose of MDMA. However, despite providing that “good feel” effect that can be effective to treat anxiety and depression, phenibut may produce side effects that are easily surpassed by its health benefits. Therefore, there should be no cause for alarm when using this substance.

The effect of phenibut can be felt 15 to 20 minutes after ingestion.

Salvia Divinorum

Some people consider salvia divinorum as a good kratom alternative. However, this substance produces an analgesic effect but is not as potent as kratom. In fact, this may not be considered as a true alternative to kratom because of its lower efficacy.

One of the downfalls of using salvia divinorum is its hallucinogenic properties, which makes it prone to abuse.

Final Word

A lot of people have learned to love kratom, as they see it as the miracle cure to end pain. However, as the FDA has not submitted its recommendation with regards to its safety, users should find legal kratom alternatives to help manage their physical conditions.

The kratom alternatives mentioned above may be of help to a certain extent. Like any other substance, taking the right amount or dose necessary to relieve pain should be exercised, rather than become irresponsible in taking huge amounts of pain meds. Bottom line, don’t exchange pain relief with drug addiction or dependence by abusing these kratom alternatives.

Substance Abuse

Federal Agency to Reassess Sentencing for Synthetic Drug Use Cases

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Cases concerning synthetic drug use are causing confusion among court justices. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, producers of synthetic drugs create their products based on their stronger counterparts such as marijuana and cocaine. However, while synthetic drugs mimic the effects of other drugs, manufacturers can alter the chemical make-up to avoid prosecution.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission is in the process of conducting a two-year study on synthetic drugs in order to update the drug quantity table that judges use in when dealing with sentences involving synthetic drug use. In drug cases, judges consult the table in order to have a starting point as a basis for the sentence depending on the amount of drugs that are involved in the case. Afterwards, they factor in other aspects like such as criminal history, level of responsibility, and the like, according to a news item.

While this method may be easier for cases involving heroin, cocaine, and marijuana – all of which are permanent substances listed on the table – synthetic drugs pose a greater challenge, as they are not listed on the table. In cases where synthetic drugs are involved, judges consult the table and try to match the synthetic drug to the most similar drug on the table based on components such as chemical make-up and pharmacological effects. They then use the information to calculate a quantity that is equivalent to marijuana, cocaine, or heroin in order to have a basis for offense.

However, the calculations can cause confusion and delay the process. Judges struggle with the formulas and sometimes see no basis with the ratios given to them by chemistry experts. There is a move to reassess the table in order to properly deal with synthetic drug cases in the future.

Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

West Virginia Starts Talking About Marijuana Legalization

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Marijuana legalization continues to be a hot-button topic this year. In 2016 alone, Four states approved the use of recreational marijuana while four states approved medical marijuana. Along with that, twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia now have marijuana laws and eight states plus District of Columbia have legalized small amounts of marijuana for recreational use by adults.

This provided the stage for police authorities and cannabis advocates to hold a debate on marijuana legalization and talk about the steps to be taken in drafting a medical marijuana law in West Virginia. National coordinator of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s National Marijuana Initiative John Shemelya and Charleston Police Department investigative services bureau chief Lt. Eric Johnson expressed concern on how marijuana legalization could have an effect on children. Surveys revealed that youth who reside in medical or recreational marijuana-legalized states were likely to engage in marijuana use in the past month, as reported in a news release.

A 2014 study was also mentioned wherein medical cannabis laws were linked to a lowered rate of overdose mortality. It was reported that West Virginia experienced a rise in overdose rates in 2015.

Mike Pushkin, sponsor of the cannabis decriminalization bill, has received phone calls from individuals who have benefited from using medical marijuana after the legislation. According to Pushkin, the marijuana industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that the state sees no revenue from.

Substance Abuse

More Than 99 Percent of Respondents Oppose Kratom Ban in Latest DEA Comment Solicitation

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The discovery of kratom as a potential pain alternative to opioids has stirred the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regarding its potential for abuse. Because of this, the agency recently sought the help of the general public by asking their opinion on whether the kratom ban should be pushed through.

The initiative aims to determine how DEA will proceed, whether to eventually prohibit the use of kratom or to allow its legal use in the United States.

Based on the summary by the American Kratom Association (AKA) and the American Coalition of Free Citizens (ACFC), 99.1 % of comments submitted to the DEA website expressed support in keeping kratom among all other legal drugs. Only a small percentage of the respondents were in favor of DEA’s kratom ban proposal, as reported in a news item.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still in the process of conducting several tests to know the safety and potential medical use of kratom. Along with the public comments, DEA will use the results of the tests to decide on whether to proceed with the kratom ban or not.

Majority of those who expressed opposition to the proposed kratom ban were identified as health care professionals, veterans and law enforcement officials. Many of them see kratom as the solution to alleviate chronic pain and other potential medical concerns that the controversial plant may be useful for.

Commenters who said no to the kratom ban said that kratom is safe to use and can be a successful treatment option for opioid addiction.

Substance Abuse

Kratom Extract 101: Know The Different Forms of Kratom

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Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical tree that is native to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Thailand, etc). Its bitter leaves contain psychoactive opioid compounds that have been used for decades in select regions of the world because of its mood enhancing effect and pain relief. It has been used as both stimulant and depressant, and is available in kratom extract and other forms.

While a kratom ban is pending until further scientific recommendation and evaluation from the Food and Drug Administration are submitted, the substance remains legal in the United States. However, a number of states are already taking regulatory or legislative action to ban kratom locally.

The substance is usually being sold in green packets online and labeled as “not for human consumption”. Kratom is also known as:

  • Biak-biak
  • Herbal Speedball
  • Ithang
  • Kahuam
  • Ketum
  • Thom

In this article, we will discuss important information about kratom extract and how it is available in the market. (NOTE: We are not in any way promoting the use of the substance.)

kratom ban DEA

Uses of Kratom

Used in folk medicine, kratom provides relief to chronic pain, helps to cure diarrhea, and is used as treatment for opiate addiction. Users also claim that kratom is effective in treating arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Being a naturally occurring opiate compound, kratom has the ability to alter the mood and mind, leading it to become one of the most common recreational drugs as of late.

It is also said to provide medicinal effects such as:

  • Energy booster
  • Anti-leukemic
  • Anti-malarial
  • Blood sugar stabilizer
  • Anti-inflammatory

Kratom has been used as herbal alternative in controlling withdrawal symptoms from opiate addiction. However, there is still no clear evidence that it can be an effective and safe treatment.

How is kratom consumed?

Kratom is distributed in many forms. For those using them in their native regions, the central vein of kratom leaves are removed and freshly chewed. Dry leaves can also be used but should be crushed into powder so they can easily be swallowed. Kratom is also prepared as a tea, which is strained and then ingested.

Kratom powder is another way of preparing the substance, which can be mixed with water and other kinds of liquids such as milk or fruit juice. Some would prefer mixing it with chocolate milk to minimize the bitter taste. Sugar and honey may be added to the mixture to make it more palatable.

Some individuals would make a paste out of powdered leaves and mixed with yogurt to mask the unpleasant taste.

Other kratom users, meanwhile, would smoke the leaves. It is also possible to produce kratom extract by evaporating the water from a prepared kratom tea. The kratom extract may be swallowed pure or dissolved in water.

What are the effects of kratom use?

Kratom can be used as a stimulant when given in low to moderate dose, and can be used as a depressant if given in higher doses. This is because of the presence of active alkaloids that act as opiate receptor agonists.

As the popularity of kratom increases, advocates are supporting the idea of replacing popular pain medication with kratom to relieve chronic pain, specifically in relation to the following health issues:

  • Chest pain
  • Damaged muscles
  • Backache
  • Migraine
  • Arthritis
  • Scoliosis
  • Abdominal soreness
  • Broken bones, scrapes and burns

 

Kratom Strains

Kratom strains may be divided into three colors: : green-vein, red-vein and white-vein. This is based on the color of kratom veins and stems, the differences of which determine the unique effects and chemical composition of each strain.

During the grinding process, however, the veins and stems are taken out.

Red Vein Kratom

This is the most popular kratom strain and is widely available in the market. Red kratom grows abundantly than the other strains.

This strain produces a calming effect, thereby providing its user with peace of mind and optimism. It is suitable to use by individuals who have difficulty sleeping (insomnia).

This strain is known to provide relaxation and relieve pain. It helps to relax the muscles, which may take the place of pharmaceutical painkillers. The red kratom strain is also used in controlling opiate withdrawal symptoms.

For pain relief, the choice is the red-vein kratom strains such as Indonesian, Bali, Maeng Da and Borneo. It is given in moderate to high doses.

For drug withdrawal relief, red-vein strains from Bali, Borneo, Indo and Maeng Da given in moderate to high doses are recommended by kratom advocates.

White Vein Kratom

This strain is known for its stimulating effect and mood-enhancing ability. The effect, however, will depend on several factors such as lifestyle, tolerance level of the individual, and the quality of kratom extract or strain used.

This strain is popular for its euphoric effect, and some people have resorted to replacing their morning coffee with a white-vein kratom. Users vouch for its effectiveness in increasing concentration, stamina and motivation during the day.

Green Vein Kratom

Described as the type of kratom whose effects are in between the white vein and the red vein, green vein kratom is a mild energy booster. Some prefer to use this strain to relieve mild pain and discomfort. This strain does not lead to drowsiness, which makes it possible for users to work normally.

Others would mix all three strains together to provide a balanced effect, which decreases the anesthetic effect of the red vein and the overstimulation of the white vein.

People with mild anxiety would take the green strain to help them against social fears. Its effect would let the user feel less inhibition, thereby being able to talk more freely, and becoming friendlier and more cheerful.

The white-vein and green-vein kratom strains of Maeng Da, Malaysian and Thailand are ideal for treating depression. For anxiety, the common strains used are the red-vein kratom, specifically Indo, Bali and Borneo variants.

Kratom Extracts

Kratom extracts are produced to improve the potency of kratom in order to produce a stronger effect in relieving chronic pain. Kratom extracts are available in different types, differing in the level of potency and method used in the extraction of kratom.

Water-based Kratom Extract

The process of extraction starts from extracting the alkaloids from the leaves by dissolving them in water. It is then strained and ground to produce the powder form. Water should completely evaporate, and a brownish material that is more rich and concentrated should remain.

This type of extract can be used in combination with plain leaves to increase the potency. It can be dissolved in water easily.

The downside of this type is that it is more expensive than plain leaves and that the high potency that a person may desire can only be achieved if used in combination with plain leaves.

Kratom Resin

The strongest concentrate of the kratom extract comes in the form of kratom resin. In this type of kratom extract, the leaf undergoes condensation process wherein it is cooked at a certain temperature. After condensation, it leaves a dark mixture that is considered to be lower in quality but much richer in active alkaloids and with a higher potency.

Kratom resin has a higher potency and concentration power, which means it also has more side effects compared to plain leaves.

Kratom Tincture

Kratom tincture is achieved by extracting the concentrated essence of the active alkaloids from kratom leaves and then diluted with alcohol to produce a solution that can be used topically.

It can be easily used and conveniently stored. However, this is more expensive than other extracts and may not be able to deliver a wide range of effects.

Enhanced Kratom

This type of extract is more improved and refined, and generates more powerful effects. It is produced by carefully choosing a very potent extract of kratom that is mixed with a solution and allowed to dry in order to form a powder.

Enhanced kratom has a lower tendency for side effects compared to other types of kratom extracts, and is said to be effective for pain relief. The disadvantage of using enhanced kratom is that it can lead to adverse conditions once using the extract has been stopped. This is also more expensive than plain leaves.

kratom extract powder

Is Kratom Addictive?

Others see the effects of kratom as positive as it can provide relief from pain. However, since it is an opiate, there is a possibility for dependence that may cause unfavorable symptoms after prolonged use.

Just like other opiates, kratom was developed to provide a specific function, and that is to provide pain relief. When substances like these are used as recreational drugs, the effects will affect not only the user but also the people that surround the user. This is the reason why DEA is still in the process of determining how this substance should be properly categorized so that people can be warned of its effects and proper use.

Health & Wellness

Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Menopausal Women Aggravated By Naturally Occurring Heart Fat

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New research was able to pinpoint the type of heart fat that is linked as a risk factor for heart diseases in menopausal women with regards to estrogen level.

The types of fat surrounding the heart include the following:

  • Epicardial fat: This type of fat covers the heart, and is located between the outside of the heart and the pericardium membrane that encases the heart.
  • Paracardial fat: This is found outside the pericardium anterior to the epicardial fat, and has no known protective function for the heart.

Led by Assistant Professor Samar R. El Khoudary of Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, the clinical evaluations involved taking blood samples from478 women aged 51 years old and older who were not on hormone replacement therapy. Participants were from Pittsburgh and Chicago, who enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, according to a news release.

It was found out that a greater portion of paracardial fat after menopause was evident due to the decline in estradiol. The increased epicardial fat, however, was said to be a risk factor related to obesity.

The new study clearly identifies that an increase paracardial fat is not specific to menopause but can also have a negative impact towards the health of women, increasing the risk of triggering coronary artery calcification. A higher presence of epicardial and paracardial fats is evident in postmenopausal women.

Because of this, careful evaluation should be done to be able to determine specific ways on how to help menopausal women avoid heart disease.

What could possibly decrease the heart fat volume is regular exercise, proper diet and by undergoing bariatric surgery. El Khoudary is taking heed in carefully evaluating hormone replacement therapy with regards to its effect on the type of heart fat in the hopes of preventing heart diseases to menopausal and post-menopausal women.

Pregnancy & Fertility

Weight Gain During Pregnancy Won’t Affect Child’s Adult Health, Says Study

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A study done by the University of Aberdeen showed that there is no link between a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy to any health issues during the adult life of her kids. The study, led by Dr. Sohinee Bhattacharya, focused on the long-term effects that weight gain during pregnancy may have on the mother’s offspring.

However, extreme weight gain was linked with an increased risk of cerebrovascular events in the baby. It is suggested that, in such cases, the lifestyle and health choices that the offspring will lead in his or her adult life could decrease the risks. “Only in very extreme cases, where the mother had an exceptionally high weight gain, we found a higher risk of stroke in the adult offspring – however once we took the adults’ lifestyle factors into account – such as BMI and smoking status, this difference disappeared,” Bhattacharya said in a news release.

The researchers were surprised with the results of the study themselves, considering that weight gain during pregnancy is something that doctors warn expectant mothers about. “These findings are quite startling because what they show is that there is basically no relationship between mother’s weight gain in pregnancy and heart disease, or premature death in adulthood,” the study lead author added.

Previous studies have shown that mothers who were obese during pregnancy bore children who were at great risk of death or heart-related problems. Bhattacharya believes that the data gathered from the study can impact clinical practices, as it was discovered that adult health and lifestyle may have a very important role in cardiovascular health as opposed to it being linked to risk factors earlier in life.

Substance Abuse

How To Help Someone With A Drug Abuse Problem

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Drug abuse has become one of the most pressing issues of societies all over the world. Given that drug addiction has created a lot of negative effects, governments are becoming more and more aggressive in looking for strategies that can curb it especially among the youth. Communities are being made aware of the effects of drug addiction in families, friendships, career, among many others.

There are various reasons why people decide to do drugs, and this is why people should know what drug abuse is all about and what possible solutions can be done to solve the issue.

Here are some of the things you should know about drug addiction and how to handle someone with a drug abuse dilemma:

Who are the people prone to drug abuse?

People suffering from depression

One of the most common reasons why people do drugs is because they feel alone in the struggles they are facing. Depression makes someone vulnerable to drug addiction because it makes a person feel detached from realities.

Drugs act on the processes in the brain, and this is why people who are depressed feel that drugs are an effective way to escape from the struggles they have.

People exposed to an environment of drug addicts

Influence is a major factor in drug abuse. When people are exposed in an environment where others are under the influence of drugs, they can easily adapt to what they see. Practically everyone – regardless of sex, age, and financial status – is vulnerable to drug addiction if the environment is the problem.

Teenagers

Teenagers are going through identity crisis, which makes them vulnerable to peer pressure. Adolescence does a lot to a person psychologically and physically, and this makes the process challenging for teens. Their decision-making skills are being molded at this phase, and this is the stage wherein adolescents tend to experiment a lot.

Without proper guidance from families, especially parents, teenagers can easily be attracted to doing drugs.

Children of drug users

When parents are using drugs, their children will most probably copy their routine especially when they are living in the same home. Children’s exposure to their parent’s drug addiction can result to their curiosity to try it too.

Signs of drug abuse that you should never ignore

signs of drug addiction

It is not easy to tell if someone is using drugs unless physical signs are already visible. Here are the most common signs you should watch out for if you think that someone you know might be engaging in drug abuse:

  • Abrupt weight loss
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors, chills, tingling of fingers and toes
  • Severe sweating
  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Inability to have eye contact
  • Bruises, mouth sores, acne
  • Severe drying of skin and hair
  • Inability to perform usual tasks and activities
  • Slurred speech
  • Tightening and clenching of jaw
  • Nausea
  • Reddening of the eyes
  • Runny or sniffy nose
  • Looks lethargic and drained all the time (especially after the effect of drugs)

It is also important to know the behavioral signs that occur to a person who is engaged in drug addiction. While there are many symptoms depending on the substance being abused, here are the most common behavioral signs that can be observed among drug addicts:

  • Inability for decision-making
  • Lack of focus and coordination
  • Confusion
  • Detachment and interest to spend more time along
  • Secretiveness
  • Being energetic (speedy speech, restlessness, increased volume of voice, exaggerated bodily movements, etc.)
  • Intense mood swings
  • Sudden changes in relationships and social networks
  • Drastic changes in sleeping patterns
  • Aggression and irritability
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Violent behavior
  • Reduced consciousness to reality

Why is it difficult for drug addicts to quit?

When a drug addict decides to quit and do it by himself, the whole thing usually fails. Drug addicts do not have the ability to quit easily because they have lost the capability to make firm decisions for themselves. Because drugs react with and disrupt the normal chemical processes in the brain, it is very difficult for them to fight their impulses and sudden mood swings.

Addiction becomes a brain disease, and this controls the person’s ability to quit. The addict loses sight of the bad effects that drugs can cause because of his or her sense of reality is distorted. Repeated and lengthened drug abuse becomes a routine, and this tricks the brain and the whole body system to feel that the drugs are the reason for one’s positive feelings.

As a result, the addict will keep on looking for ways on how to get the dose he or she needs to maintain the euphoric feeling. This is especially true for those who are facing struggles in life and have turned to drugs as a way to escape from realities.

The benefits of early intervention

early intervention talk

Drug addiction gets worse through time. The negative impact on health, family, relationships, and career also get worse if drug addiction would not be given the right attention and treatment.

While a person will not easily admit that he or she is suffering from drug abuse, early intervention should be done as soon as the drug addiction is discovered. The longer it is delayed, the more a person and the people around him or her will be vulnerable to the risk of drug addiction.

Early intervention from experts will save the person from drug addiction and the results that it may cause if it continues. Therefore, anyone who thinks that a friend or a family member has a drug addiction should immediately consider encouraging the person to seek help from someone who can help and understand the situation.

Discussing the issue with the addict

drug abuse how to talk to a recovering addict

First off, it is important that you encourage a drug addict to accept and acknowledge the problem. There are some cases that drug addicts themselves make the important step of initiating to face the issue by discussing it with his or her family members and friends.

Open doors for the person to discuss the reasons why he or she decided to do drugs. Then, keep on reminding the person that you will do your best to extend the help he or she needs.

Motivate the person to also discuss the issue with other family members and friends; try to do this by saying that the burden will be lighter if it will be solved with the people the person loves. From there, you can easily convince the drug addict to seek the help of an expert to clearly define the possible solutions that can be done.

It is not easy to convince an addict to get an expert advice, but you should always take the extra mile to push him or her to do it. An expert will be very straightforward with the person’s needs, either it is a rehabilitation treatment or if it is a program that should be implemented at home.

Of course, it will always help to monitor how a person is doing. Take the time to ask questions, and give more time to listen to the answers the person will give. Always take the effort to make the person feel that you are ready to talk about everything, whether it’s about a new hobby or some plans to go on a vacation.

Discussing the issue with the drug addict is not enough; you should also discuss how he or she is doing all through the treatment.

Helping recovering addicts in treatment

The first thing you have to do is to understand the effects of the substance someone is taking so that you will get a better picture of the whole thing, and it will be easier for you to explain to the person what he or she is going through throughout the process of getting treatment. Getting someone screened by an expert also helps, and this is for you to know the emotional, physical, and mental status of the person for you to easily track improvements.

Recovering addicts should be made aware the stages of the treatment that he or she will go through to make the person understand that the process will be a challenging one but is possible to accomplish.

Take the time to talk to the person. Ask how he or she is feeling, because you will easily tell that there is progress by the way a person shares his or her stories. Make sure that other friends and family members are involved in the process too, so that the person will feel that there is a strong support system and that he or she is not alone.

Anyone who has tried doing drugs is vulnerable to relapse. Therefore, the person should be exposed to things like new hobbies, traveling, going back to school, and working out so that his or her mind will not go in that direction again. The people around the recovering addict should monitor the activities of the person so that it will be easier to fight the possibility of the person’s relapse.

Groups involved in drug abuse intervention and treatment

groups addressing drug abuse

Family

Family is a major part of one’s support system. The whole process of drug addiction treatment would not be successful if a person is not getting the support he or she needs from the family.

Family members, especially the immediate ones, should be involved in the treatment process so that the person will not feel that he or she is neglected or forgotten by the family. It is highly recommended that families dedicate time for activities with the recovering addict. Activities can be some sort of a new hobby, sport, or getting involved in charity work.

Community

The community is also vital in one’s battle to fight drug addiction. This includes the person’s friends and people from the local church.

Usually, communities implement their own strategies to divert people’s attention from drugs. This is a good venue for someone to survive drug addiction, because being active in the community creates a sense of responsibility. Treating drug addiction should be done not only by the individual and the family, but also of the surrounding community.

Self-help groups

What better way to learn how to face the battle other than learning from people who are going through the same thing? Self-help groups are a good way for recovering addicts to understand their situation. This gives the person a venue to share his or her experience without being judged.

Conclusion

Addressing drug abuse in someone you know may not be easy, and it takes a lot of patience and understanding. However, given the right mindset and emotional posture, you could very well be the person that a recovering addict needs to be with.