The Destructive Nature Of Binge Drinking

Two young women holding beer bottles and binge drinking

Slowly Killing Your Happiness

Binge drinking is defined as 5 drinks for men in one sitting at least once in the last 30 days, and 4 drinks for women in one sitting at least once in the last 30 days. The psychological rush that binge drinking brings is what reinforces the behavior. It is not the same as drinking every day like an alcoholic does.

Binge drinking brings upon a rush before one even consumes the first drink. Just the thought of “going out tonight” and getting intoxicated reinforces the behavior. This is followed by “pregaming” or drinking multiple drinks before arriving at the event. The pregaming part can be especially addicting!

Pregaming is exciting because it sets up one’s mindset for the evening, especially if one is in a good mood to begin with! The act of “chilling” with your friends and slowly becoming intoxicated while sharing stories is very pleasurable. This usually lasts for 1 hour at most, followed by the actual partying.

Once at the final destination, large amounts of drinks are consumed to the point of becoming drunk. At this point, one slightly loses touch with reality and is in a state of mind focused only on pleasure. This pleasure can be flirting, dancing, talking or sexual interactions.

The worst part is the hangover the following day. Besides the physical symptoms, the hangover can put you in a depressed mood, make you feel guilty or anxious and just makes you feel bad in all possible ways. The hangover day has basically one goal: to get through the day and wake up the next morning at one’s baseline.

What is destructive about binge drinking is that “this weekend” I did this, so “next weekend” I would like to do that! Memories are a very powerful experience, whether good or bad. It is memories and experiences that motivate one to keep binge drinking; the more one does it, the greater the tendency to repeat the behavior.

Avoid binge drinking. If you enjoy alcohol, then just stick to a few drinks at most.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

America’s Playground: Hooked On Drugs

Drug addict holding cash and cigarette in hand

Welcome To The Candy Shop

Many chronic mentally ill patients who have been discharged from the hospital continue to abuse synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or Spice. It is readily available at bodegas, online or through the hands of drug dealers. There is no apparent good reason given by psychiatric patients for their usage of K2, besides its cheap price tag.

But countless times, whether sunny or rainy out, you can witness the flashing siren lights of a speeding ambulance rushing towards the hospital. You know right away: another K2 medical emergency. Many of these patients admit that they are addicted to the substance.

K2 is just synthetic marijuana: THC synthesized in the laboratory and mixed with other chemical compounds. Its users don’t care what chemicals make up K2; as long as it gets them high and gets them high quick! Many of these users will sit outside all day and just pass K2 joints in circles.

It’s a tragedy to see poor people waste their brain cells on this synthetic drug. Many even end up in the ICU on a ventilator and come out to light up again a week later. With vaping, K2, bath salts, “smart drugs” and other synthetic but legal drugs flooding the market, there is no knowing where this drug culture will take us next.

The two main drug epidemics engulfing the United States are heroin and methamphetamine: heroin on the east coast and meth on the west coast. East of the Mississippi, white powder heroin is more prevalent; west of the Mississippi, black tar heroin is more prevalent.

The meth capital of the United States is Fresno, California, with the addiction expanding eastward. But in-between, we have all these minor epidemics which include vaping, K2, alcohol, tobacco and stimulants. Stimulants are definitely on the rise! And yes, alcohol and tobacco are epidemics!

What we have here is America’s playground:

  • Legal deadly killers: alcohol and tobacco
  • Illegal deadly killers: heroin and methamphetamine
  • Legal stingers: K2, vaping and bath salts
  • Illegal stingers: cocaine and other stimulants

Marijuana is not mentioned in the list above because it’s not really a killer. But psychologically, the potential for addiction is great and is still considered a gateway drug by many. And no concrete evidence exists to demonstrate that opioid usage has gone down in states that have legalized marijuana.

This is America’s playground. It’s better to sit this one out, would you agree?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Should Drugs Be Legalized?

People in marijuana legalization rally

Mind-Altering Substances

Drugs have been around since the beginning of time. Even prior to making them illegal, opioids, marijuana and cocaine were being used for their medicinal and euphoric effects. People died back then and continue to die today. People are turning into addicts faster than the U.S. congress coming to an agreement on an important bill.

This begs the question, “does keeping drugs illegal help the population in any meaningful way?” There is a large consensus that the war on drugs has been a failure: addicts continue to rise, drugs continue to flood our streets and potency is only increasing.

Is anyone benefiting from keeping drugs illegal? Criminals are being placed in prison while addicts drop out of rehabs and continue abusing drugs and spreading HIV and hepatitis C. In San Francisco, the city is swarming with homeless people; stories reek of homeless people breaking into stores and defecating on the streets.

Is this a by-product of keeping drugs illegal? Advocates of drug legalization argue that all drugs should be legalized and regulated by the governments, just like tobacco and alcohol. This would prevent the black market from flourishing and would make certain that people would be getting pure products and clean needles.

Opponents of drug legalization argue that legalizing drugs is just promoting its use and would expose people who hadn’t previously used them. Many people don’t use illicit drugs because of their legality. But if a perfectly legal “Coca Bar” pops up in Chelsea New York, would non-users suddenly try the drug out of curiosity?

Marijuana is the latest drug that is being slowly introduced to the masses in a regulated and controlled manner. As more states and countries around the world continue to legalize marijuana, society will slowly find out in the near future whether legalization works.

But no matter the legality of a drug, your mental, physical and spiritual health always come first!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Alcoholic Mouthpiece

Bartender making cocktail beverage at bar

Thirsty Inner Demons

No matter what your mood is, alcohol has a great potential of helping you spill the beans, whether you like it or not. This disinhibiting substance can make a sorrow person explode, a happy person make a fool of themselves or a mellow person turn into the life of the party.

You have to be careful when indulging in alcohol because you may reveal some very sensitive information that was unplanned for. When this happens, you may be left feeling embarrassed and ashamed of your actions. In return, people may look at you differently and even avoid future interactions.

It’s not wise to consume alcohol if you are in a bad state of mind. This doesn’t apply to all drugs. For instance, marijuana may help relieve stress for someone in a bad state of mind. But alcohol . . . it can intensify your inner emotions and turn you into a monster if too much is consumed in a short period of time.

It’s always best to share your concerns with someone who you can trust while in a sober state of mind. The reason many people don’t is because alcohol gives them confidence to share sensitive information; it provides them a mouthpiece through which they can vomit their emotions.

This behavior may also be reinforcing. One may start to believe the following, “hey, that convo went quite smoothly on that Old Fashioned, I’m going to try that again!” And they do try it again. In fact, they try it again on many more occasions, until they wake up one day and realize that they have turned into an alcoholic.

Control your inner demons the right way and don’t give them a mouthpiece from which to live from!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Cocaine-Induced Depressive Disorder

Depressed woman sitting on wing chair withdrawing from cocaine

When Cocaine Steals Your Happiness

The withdrawal from cocaine can be so intense that users literally become depressed, when the drug is no longer inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine in their synaptic clefts. The depression is not severe enough to qualify for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder; hence the diagnosis of substance-induced mood disorder.

Cocaine causes a very intense but short euphoria which makes the user feel on top of the world; think Al Pacino as Scarface. But because the euphoria lasts 20 minutes or less, this promotes the increased usage of the substance. As the user repeats this behavior over and over again, tolerance develops, followed by withdrawal when the cocaine is no longer consumed.

“The crash” is the intense depressive withdrawal state that a user experiences after cocaine is stopped. Many users will binge on cocaine for weeks or months at a time in order to prevent the crash. But more cocaine only worsens the situation: it reinforces the addictive behavior, destroys the brain and body and no longer delivers an intense high.

Either a user battles through the storm and quits cocaine for good, or goes back to using the drug to avoid feeling depressed. This is the addiction in and of itself. At this point, a user does not even feel that high anymore; the drug basically makes them feel themselves again.

Instead of feeling very low or very high, cocaine makes a chronic user feel “normal.” This is not too say that higher doses will not get the user euphoric again; they will, but never at the level of their first highs which initiated the entire chasing process in the first place. At this point, the user is in a never-ending roller coaster ride.

The roller coaster ride is never-ending because a user often has trouble wanting to stop the joy ride. Instead of taking responsibility by going to work and living a productive life, that has been replaced with chasing pleasure, whether high or low. For the user, the experience of feeling high and enjoying the ride has become more important than remaining sober and contributing to society.

Is it worth trying cocaine? Besides the physiological effects and bodily harm which it does, it also tremendously increases your chances of developing psychiatric illnesses such as depression and psychosis. And you never know how you will react! You may be that one person whose brain loves cocaine and never wants to stop.

Don’t try it. Cherish your god-given happiness.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

State-Specific Memory

Young man with glasses smoking a marijuana joint

Altered State Of Consciousness

State-specific memory is the phenomenon in which events experienced in an altered state of consciousness can be recalled clearly when reentering that state, and not when in a normal and sober state of mind. This can occur with many drugs such as marijuana, benzodiazepines and alcohol.

This is because drugs allow you to experience an altered state of consciousness. This altered state provides you with new experiences, interpretations, perceptions, thought processes and behaviors. Part of the reason why drugs are so addicting is that because the user can develop a wonderful and inspiring connection to an altered state of consciousness.

When someone is no longer in an altered state of consciousness, their mind distances itself from the memories formed in that state. One can still remember the memories shortly after the experience, but over time, they slowly begin to fade away. This is not to say that a meaningful trip on psilocybin will not be remembered; it can actually be remembered for a lifetime!

But the small details and sensations of an experience are what slowly fade away; the bigger picture remains. Many users who take DMT will tell you that when they lift off on the drug, they will reencounter “them”; the so-called beings present in many DMT experiences. Once the user reenters this DMT state of mind, “them” becomes more apparent and clearer again.

State-specific memory has to do with revisiting a previous altered state of mind. For instance, when one smokes marijuana and has an awesome experience such as the munchies while watching “Shutter Island”, they will recall this memory when they get high again: “munchies and Shutter Island.”

State-specific memory is fun and enjoyable if your precious experiences in altered states of consciousness were pleasant, fun and meaningful. But many experiences under the influence of drugs can be miserable; aka “bad trips.” For instance, marijuana is known to induce anxiety in many people.

When one smokes a joint and is slowly getting high, they may become bombarded with memories of anxiety symptoms from their previous high; this may provoke new anxiety symptoms in the present high. It works both ways with state-specific memory: good and bad experiences can be recalled and relived.

This is state-specific memory.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Parents Of Addicted Loved Ones

Crying monk statue surrounded by outdoor plants

Stolen Soul

Addiction has no boundaries; it swarms in like swat and gets the job done. In this case, the drug or behavior gets you hooked. The first thing that is stolen is your mind: your reward center in your brain essentially tells you “forget your boring past, I want me some more XYZ.” Then you get more XYZ and the rest is history.

This is followed by your body: it often feels relaxed while using a drug or participating in an addicting activity. This good feeling is provided by your brain; you can’t complain, especially while on opioids. The last thing that is stolen is your soul. By this time, the drug or addicting activity has changed who you are as a person; you have been transformed into a new character.

Parents of addicted loved ones are experiencing a living nightmare. Can you imagine how difficult it is for them to see their son or daughter transformed into an addict? They were once that little boy or girl who was running around in the playground or being tucked into bed for a comfy afternoon nap, looking back into their eyes saying, “I love you mommy!”

But this is what addiction does: it not only destroys the user but the family unit. It is often very difficult for parents to ever accept their addicted loved one back into their life. The great pain which they have experienced has led them to create a barrier from their addicted loved ones, in order to prevent any more suffering.

Addiction is a very difficult mental disease to live with for everybody involved: the addict is clearly suffering but so is the family. Many would argue that the family suffers more because they have to bear the pain and frustration of seeing their addicted loved one collapsing into pieces. At least the addict reaps spurts of joy here and there from their pleasure of choice.

At this point in time, the fight to treat addiction has not been successful by relying just on medications and therapy. This calls for a new action plan: the bringing together of humanity and holding open discussions about how we can help one another stay sober and free of addiction; an international shift in mentality. The DSM Ready Movement is that platform!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Vaping Gone Mad

Young man in hoodie vaping a nicotine-containing product

Vaping Lung Illness

What intended to be the replacement of cigarettes is turning out to be another outlet for lung disease. Vaping works by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol which can be inhaled. The liquid can contain nicotine, THC or cannabinoid oils. The consistent use of vaping is demonstrating that it can damage the lungs of a user.

Over 800 lung injury cases have been reported in over 40 states and 12 deaths have been confirmed in 10 states. The majority of these cases are in the age range of 18-34 years. In addition, the majority of these cases were due to THC-containing products but this is not to exclude nicotine-containing products from the picture.

Many users are beginning to stockpile vaping accessories due to a fear of a federal ban hovering on the horizon. If the federal government is considering banning E-cigarettes, then why are cigarettes still legal? Does this have anything to do with the powerful tobacco companies?

Some people are entertaining the conspiracy theory that because the tobacco companies have lost some profit since the advent of E-cigarettes, that they must be behind this vaping lung injury epidemic. While no such evidence exists, the dots can be connected if the federal government does make vaping illegal but continues to allow the sale of cigarettes.

Many users who were long-time cigarette smokers are very disappointed and worried to hear of a potential vaping ban around the corner. These users claim that their only successful solution to stopping cigarettes has been vaping and that nothing else has helped them. Some of these users are either beginning to stockpile vaping accessories or planning to return back to smoking cigarettes.

Whether you smoke cigarettes or vape, it is definitely possible to successful quit both! The pleasure of smoking is all in the user’s mind. If you start putting yourself first and not your pleasure center, you will slowly start to overcome the reinforced behavioral patterns of smoking. But it takes time and a lot of determination.

Don’t waste your mind, body and soul fighting a nicotine or THC addiction. Go out there and enjoy life naturally as we were intended!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Drugs Are The #1 Killer Of Teens In America

Male teenager smoking marijuana joint

Distracted By Altered States Of Mind

Whether it’s marijuana, K2, oxycodone or vaping, they all distract the mind of the individual user. America is not only experiencing a drug epidemic but an identity crisis epidemic. And it starts with children and teenagers; the time when bad habits are formed and either ditched or held on to for many years to come.

Teenagers have a very different mentality than children and adults: they are focused on discovering themselves and identifying with their peers. This is where drugs come in like superglue; they stick to a teenager’s mind and almost never let go. With the advent of marijuana legalization, it is much easier for teenagers to find marijuana use acceptable.

About 10-15 years ago, teenagers were hiding their marijuana use like a homosexual hiding his sexual orientation in the closet. There was no talking about marijuana to your parents or family members. But nowadays, because of the widespread acceptance of marijuana use by state governments, teenagers are no longer experiencing any fear or pressure; they can use the drug more freely.

Drug chemists continue to remain innovative by synthesizing new and more powerful mind-altering drugs. K2 for instance is known as the “poor man’s marijuana.” About 5 dollars a baggie, it will get you just as high or higher than marijuana but at a greater expense: the potential for seizures, kidney failure, heart attacks, paranoia and hallucinations.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100x more potent than morphine. A regular dose of what an addict believes to be heroin, ends up being their last breath of life while injecting fentanyl. The pushers don’t care about the deaths they’re racking up in the communities. The saying goes, “it is more addicting to sell drugs than to consume them.”

We are experiencing an identity crisis epidemic where teenagers no longer find as much pleasure in being themselves while sober; they become distracted by the altered states of mind provided by drugs. And this pattern has a great potential for worsening if parents and state governments do not adopt a stricter approach on the drug culture.

Legalizing marijuana? Vaping epidemics? K2 booms? Is this the culture we are promoting for future generations?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Junk Virus

Heroin needles and trash on soil

Public Health Problem Number One

The stories are endless: violence, burglaries, robberies, overdoses and deaths. Heroin has penetrated almost every street corner in the US; the new neighbor on the block is not here to play. It chews you up and spits you out; you’re lucky if you come back out fresh enough to survive.

The junk virus made its grand appearance after its synthetic army was unleashed by the medical community: the opioids. These include demerol, methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl, percocet, percodan, vicodin and many more. Once the army was sprinkled onto society and its pricey tag maintained, heroin was slowly whispered into the addicts’ ears.

There was no malicious agenda by the medical community to unleash opioids onto the masses. There was simply a poor regulatory system and overwatch by the federal government. Physicians prescribed the medications based on professional opinion, but they were not quick enough to realize the enormous addictive potential they had.

Once physicians realized that patients were returning for multiple prescriptions, they began to turn them down. So patients began to window-shop for new physicians, juggling multiple at a time for that extra Rx. This lasted for some time until patients came to the realization of the expense of their new addiction.

And that’s when hurricane heroin hit the U.S. by storm: stronger, better, easier to obtain and cheaper! Call it the drug dealers’ economic boom but the recession of the people. Addicts were happy but also suffering: the high was great but the withdrawal and expense hellish.

And junk virus officially became an epidemic with no promising cure and no treatments successful enough to make a dent. Addicts were simply transitioned from an opiate to an opioid: heroin to methadone. Some addicts were switched successfully, others continued to use both and some just returned back to heroin.

Today, junk virus is still active and strong abut a new parasite has entered the market: meet furious fentanyl. 100x more potent than morphine, fentanyl is taking over cities like the great plague: heroin is vanishing from cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore and being replaced with fentanyl.

Addicts no longer know what they are getting. But they are quick to suspect their batch to be fentanyl if they are getting much higher than expected. Even if they want to stop, they can’t for two main reasons: they’re hooked and their drug dealers no longer have heroin. So the epidemic persists.

Public health problem number one is also public enemy number one: synthetic army + hurricane heroin + furious fentanyl. When you have such a deadly epidemic killing our people, it is fair to say that we are in the midst of fighting a domestic terror war. Are you ready to reclaim your mind?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)