The Tweaking Crystal Meth Epidemic

Crystal meth addict standing in front of graffiti wall besides trash bags

How Long Does Crystal Meth Stay In Your System If Snorted?

Also known as crank, crystal, speed and rock candy, crystal meth is the silent epidemic placed on the back-burner due to so much attention devoted to the opioid epidemic. But since 2009, there has been a 53% increase in crystal meth reports and a 20% increase in seizures secondary to crystal meth from 2013 to 2014.

Meth is manufactured in laboratories using l-ephedrine or d-pseudoephedrine plus lithium in a condensed liquid ammonia, red phosphorus and hydrochloric acid. It can be smoked, snorted or injected; either way stimulates the central and sympathetic nervous systems.

The first stage of a meth high is called “the rush.” The user experiences a racing heart, dilated pupils and an elevated blood pressure. This stage lasts from 5-30 minutes and only occurs if smoked or injected.

The second stage of a meth high is called “the high.” The user experiences hyperactivity, rapid thinking, aggression, confusion and incoherent sentences. Meth users will use the drug for several days at a time to avoid crashing. Users also don’t eat and sleep, resulting in weight loss.

The last stage of a meth high is called “tweaking.” This is the most severe form of intoxication; usually users at this point have gone days without sleep. They may experience paranoia, unpredictability and psychosis. Some users become delusional and believe that there are bugs crawling on their skin, so they start skin-picking, resulting in multiple skins marks known as “meth sores.”

The crash” follows the high. The user will experience exhaustion and long periods of sleep. Because the experience is unpleasant and the psychological addiction is strong, the crash is followed by more meth use and the cycle starts all over.

The half-life of meth is about 10-12 hours; 50% of the drug has left the user’s body in approximately half a day. Snorting or smoking meth results in a shorter half-life as opposed to injecting it. Meth can show up in your body three days after the last use.

Users who have used meth for a longer period of time will have meth in their system for greater than three days because it takes their body longer to eliminate it. Age and health also play a role: the younger the user the higher the metabolism and the healthier the user the more efficient the elimination process by the organs.

The DSM Ready Movement is here for mental and emotional support; together we can help each other overcome our problems!

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The Female Angel’s Warning

Blurred photo of a woman using Salvia Divinorum

Salvia Divinorum

Salvia Divinorum is a psychoactive mint plant native to Mexico; the Mazatec Indians have used it for centuries for spiritual divination and shamanism. In present day, it is used as a recreational drug for its mystical and hallucinogenic experiences. It is not obtainable in all states; over half have made it a schedule I drug. The long-term impact of salvia use remains unclear.

Salvia is extremely fast-acting and has a low addiction potential and incidence of side effects. There are no reported overdoses. The active ingredient is salvinorin A, a kappa opioid receptor agonist. Kappa opioid receptors regulate human perception, which is exactly what salvia does to the user.

Mazatec Indians have referred to salvia as “Herb of Mary” and believe that the plant is an incarnation of the Virgin Mary. Salvia is usually smoked, with the hallucinogenic effects occurring within a couple of minutes; the experience lasts approximately five to ten minutes.

About 1.5% of 12th graders report using salvia. It is usually obtained on the internet or tobacco shops and is used out of curiosity, to get high, for spiritual purposes or for relaxation. Some common street names include Sally-D, Diviner’s Sage, Magic Mint and The Female.

The effects of salvia include:

  • Visual distortions of bright lights
  • Delusions (i.e. believing the laptop is mad at you because the lamp is shining its bright light on it)
  • Hallucinations (believing that you, the house and the grass outside are one, or believing that a female angel is telling you to put the bowl away)
  • Uncontrollable laughter
  • Recollection of childhood memories
  • Out-of-body experiences
  • Contact with entities or other dimensions
  • Loss of contact with reality

The side effects of salvia include:

  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Lack of coordination
  • Loss of memory
  • Tiredness

There are no current medical uses for salvia but current research is attempting to better understand how salvinorin A effects the brain and whether there is any potential for future medicinal use.

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The Chemical Compound Of Nicotine

Addicted blonde woman wearing blue hoodie and smoking a cigarette

Nicotine Effects

Nicotine is a toxic yellowish liquid that is the active ingredient in tobacco. It acts as a receptor agonist at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. In small doses it acts as a stimulant, but in larger doses it blocks the action of autonomic nerve and skeletal muscle cells.

Nicotine is highly addictive based on drug-reinforced behavior; the process of associating a drug with a certain behavior. For instance, you may start off smoking one cigarette at a party. The next time you attend a party, you may smoke a couple of more cigarettes.

The next time you have a beer at your friend’s house, you may smoke a cigarette for the first time away from a party setting. Afterwards, you make smoke a cigarette every time you drive to your friend’s house! Your brain attempts to enhance every behavior that is related to previous nicotinic behaviors; this is the addiction!

Nicotine creates a psychological dependence in the user; every previous activity under the influence of nicotine will make the user want to repeat that activity with nicotine again. Nicotine has a way of making behaviors more enjoyable; the second that you inhale the first puff, you feel an immediate sense of relaxation as if your stress is being sucked out of you.

Take a look at Mayo Clinic to understand nicotine dependence. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 400,000 deaths per year in the United States and more than 41,000 deaths from secondhand smoke. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. That is 10 years stolen by nicotine!

The DSM Ready Community is here for anyone who is suffering from an addiction. Through support and the sharing of our stories, we can get past any roadblock that life brings us!

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World On Drugs

Two people sitting in a drug alley spray-painted by graffiti

Why You Should Not Try Drugs

The temptation to try substances stems from our burning desire to alter our consciousness and view reality from a different lens. The problem is not the alteration of consciousness, but the drugs themselves.

Other tools such as meditation and the emotion of happiness can also alter our consciousness; they provide non-harmful ways of viewing the world from a different lens. Meditation allows you to escape reality by directing your energy to your thoughts and presence, while pure happiness magnifies and enhances the present moment into something pleasurable.

Drugs, on the other hand, are tools with a high potential for developing psychological and physical addictions; some more than others. It is not worth exploring these tools for the sake of your sanity; losing touch with reality or becoming dependent on a substance defeats the whole purpose of your original quest to alter your consciousness.

The DSM Ready Movement is about promoting a natural and healthy lifestyle, where we come together to achieve happiness and success through the sharing of our experiences!

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Drugs, Drugs And More Drugs

Melted building secondary to drug use

The Reward System’s Slippery Slope

A substance use disorder is a psychological disorder in which a person continues to use a substance despite the negative consequences. Substances are groups of drugs that have similar effects on your brain, body and behavior. The worldwide prevalence is around 16% and men are more likely to be diagnosed.

Examples of substances:

  • Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor)
  • Tobacco (cigarettes, snuff, cigars, e-cigarettes )
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea)
  • Stimulants (cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine)
  • Cannabis (marijuana, hash oil)
  • Sedatives (benzodiazepines, barbiturates)
  • Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP, psilocybin, peyote)
  • Opioids (heroin, methadone)
  • Inhalants (markers, glues)

Substances are addictive because they activate the brain’s reward system. Your reward system makes you feel pleasure by releasing a neurotransmitter called dopamine from the ventral tegmental area when you perform activities necessary for survival, such as eating, drinking and having sex.

When you begin to use a substance, your reward system releases much greater quantities of dopamine, hijacking your reward system and motivating you to use the substance again. Once a person’s reward system is hijacked and he or she turns into an addict, other important needs such as sleep, saving money and being responsible no longer matter as much.

Examples of negative consequences:

  • Tobacco (cancer, heart disease, lung disease, smoke breaks interfering with work)
  • Alcohol (liver disease, drunk-driving, embarrassments and hangovers)
  • Cannabis (lack of motivation, psychosis, social isolation)

Impaired control over substance use means that a person is taking a substance in larger amounts, has unsuccessful efforts to cut down, spends a large amount of time obtaining and using the substance and experiences cravings.

Social impairment means that a person may start to fail at work or school, have recurrent use despite social consequences and give up on recreational or occupational activities because of substance use.

Risky use means that a person uses a substance in dangerous situations and continues to use despite physical or psychological health problems.

Tolerance to a substance means that a person experiences diminished effects with use of the same amount and needs an increased amount to achieve the same effects.

Withdrawal to a substance means that a person experiences physical or psychological side effects when the substance is no longer in the body.

The causes of substance use disorder:

  • Genes (account for 60% of a person’s vulnerability)
  • Environmental (growing up in a drug-infested neighborhood, poor parenting, peer pressure)
  • Developmental (children or adolescents who use drugs have a greater risk because their brain is still developing until approximately age 25)

There is no cure for substance use disorder. The treatment is tailored to the individual depending on which substance he or she uses and what support is available. Examples include medication assisted treatments such as 12-step meetings, naltrexone for alcoholics, Suboxone for heroin addicts, nicotine replacement for cigarette smokers, inpatient rehabilitation and individual therapy with counselors and psychiatrists.

The goals for a drug addict are to establish a functioning role in society, maintain a drug-free lifestyle and most importantly, to stop using drugs! Because the disorder is chronic, most people require long-term or recurrent treatment to maintain sobriety.

The DSM Ready Movement is here to support anyone who is suffering from a drug addiction! Together, we can empower each other to maintain sobriety and lead a life of happiness and love!

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Why You Are Stronger Than Addiction

Burning cigarette with ashes and defeating addiction

Unleash The Shackles Of Addiction

No matter what addiction you are suffering from, you can learn to defeat it with the power of belief. Feel it inside of you that you want to stop, change things and live a new life! It is not enough to think “yeah I’d like to stop!” Emotions and feelings can be more powerful than thoughts, so utilize them in addition to your thoughts.

Putting all science aside, addiction is nothing more than choosing to be irresponsible and disrespectful towards yourself. You are doing it to yourself; as soon as you come to terms with this fact, you will start to feel the chains of addiction break free.

Learn to surrender yourself to a higher power; doing it your own way has not worked; otherwise, you wound’t be battling an addiction! Allow God into your life and let him help you restore your purity and freedom! Let go of your proud ego, humble yourself and accept help; you will start to notice a feeling of peace overtake you when you allow your ego to dissolve.

Do not try to defeat addiction on your own; it’s doable but it is always more effective to receive help from others. Group think and energy gives all the members the power and will to defeat addiction together; it keeps the members motivated and determined to succeed. And lastly, always feel free to leave a comment so that we can help each other, here on The DSM Ready Movement.

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Cocaine Cowboys

Human anatomy display of cocaine effects on the body

Why Cocaine Addiction Bites

The addiction to cocaine has never ended, despite an ongoing opioid crises. There is concern that cocaine use is on the rise and that a stimulant epidemic may be awaiting the end of the current opioid epidemic. Why is cocaine on the rise and what do people like about it?

Cocaine comes from the coca plant native to South America. It is considered a stimulant like coffee but much stronger. It has a strong psychological potential for addiction; no physical dependence is evident, meaning no physical withdrawal occurs when a user stops using the drug.

Why people like cocaine:

  • It provides a feeling of intense pleasure
  • You become more talkative and confident
  • It provides a full-body stimulation
  • It makes you feel more superior than others
  • It increases your self-esteem
  • You feel more energetic and sociable

Unfortunately, users experience many negative effects with cocaine:

  • Memories of euphoria increase the risk for psychological addiction
  • Anger, paranoia, anxiety
  • Nausea, increased body temperature, increased heart rate
  • Seizures, heart problems and death
  • Psychosis and hallucinations
  • Weight loss, high blood pressure, severe tooth decay

Cocaine has a very short-lived intense high. When users become hooked on the drug, the high is followed by depression and a strong craving for more. Tolerance then increases, resulting in higher doses of the drug needed to achieve a similar effect as before.

Overall, cocaine may see a resurgence in the near future. If you or anyone you know is suffering from cocaine addiction, seek help as soon as possible. With mental health and addiction support services, a place in your heart to stop and The DSM Ready Movement here to listen and provide a caring environment, you can defeat cocaine addiction today!

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Why E-Cigarettes Have Hit A Left Turn

Person in black hoodie vaping

Smoking Mirrors

E-Cigarettes were never meant to be targeted towards the adolescent population. They were in fact designed to be a replacement of cigarettes for long-term smokers. But somewhere along the lines, adolescents started to get their hands on them, resulting in a massive epidemic. Adolescents see these devices as fun, easy to use and easy to hide; vaping can be done in bars, restaurants, malls or even in schools. The vapor has no smell and it disappears within seconds.

Vaping also is considered cool in the adolescent world: teenagers learn to do “vape tricks” and even get paid on Instagram for advertising the different types of E-Cigarettes. What do these companies get out of it? A large growing, vulnerable and immature portion of our population who is throwing money their way and helping the industry strive! It is unfortunate that this industry is taking advantage of our youth, despite the health consequences that come along with vaping.

The FDA recently reported that 35 people have had seizures from E-Cigarettes by accidentally or intentionally ingesting the liquid cartridge. 35 is a minuscule number, but will this be the beginning of a large study proving that E-Cigarettes decrease the seizure threshold in its users? And what consequences will this have on users who have a family history of seizures but are too addicted to stop vaping? In addition, vaping does not mean that one’s lungs are not harmed.

E-Cigarettes may be slightly safer than cigarettes due to the lack of combustion which results from lighting up the tobacco in cigarettes; however, they still contain a number of harmful chemicals: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, acetaldehyde, acrolein and formaldehyde. These chemicals are toxic to cells and can cause lung disease as well as cardiovascular (heart) disease. Acrolein is a herbicide used to kill weeds; it can cause COPD, asthma, lung cancer and acute lung injury.

E-Cigarettes have not been found to be effective in helping smokers quit. Nicotine is the addictive culprit. E-Cigarettes have only replaced the mode of inhalation, from smoking to vaping, but nicotine is still present when one inhales vapor; hence, the addiction never clears the smoke. The DSM community is about promoting excellent mental and physical health, and with knowledge and honesty, we can lead the way on promoting a healthier and more vibrant society.

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The Addiction Epidemic Of K2

A man lighting up a k2 joint

K2: A Parasite Of The Brain

K2 or Spice is a drug sold in convenience stores across the United States. It is made up of synthetic cannabinoids that bind to the same receptors in the brain that THC in Marijuana binds to. It is mass produced by chemists in China and other countries, resulting in mass-importation on the black market.

However, this garbage of a drug causes seizures, bizarre behavior, psychosis and even death. This is because the chemists alter the chemicals after the DEA bans the last batch’s chemical properties. In return, users never know what they are inhaling.

The drug continues to remain easily accessible because of the changed chemistry of new batches that enter the market. It is very unfortunate that people lower their standards and use drugs that are chemically manufactured and which serve no purpose. Supposedly, the high is similar or more intense than Marijuana, but why do people choose to smoke a fake version of Marijuana that can cause them to have seizures?

The answer is because addiction comes in many shapes and forms; it is like a demon creeping in the alleyway, waiting for its next victim to terrorize. That is why we must come together and better understand how to defeat addiction. Consciousness may be universal, and by coming together, we can create a better and more thorough understanding of our thoughts; sort of like a “world wide consciousness.”

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What Is Gambling Disorder?

People gambling on a poker chip table

When Casinos Hijack The Reward System

Imagine coming from a successful family: your dad is a lawyer, your brothers are physicians and you’re spending endless nights in Atlantic City gambling your life away, hoping to earn more money . . . deciding at 5am that you no longer have energy and you run back to your hotel to crash, only to wake up at 6pm and start all over again. In addition, you consume alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine; anything that can give you that extra edge. Welcome to Gambling Disorder.

Gambling Disorder is a real diagnosis experienced by millions of people worldwide:

1) Gamblers need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to experience a desired excitement. $100 dollars no longer does it. $1000 dollars no longer does it. $10,000 is the next magic number, until they crash and burn.

2) Gamblers become restless and irritable when they crash and burn. They attempt to stop but can’t. The loss is on their mind. They believe that next time will be different. And so they return back to gamble more hours of their life away.

3) Gamblers have made many unsuccessful attempts to cut back. The virus has struck their mind and their circuity has been hijacked: they need to win more money so they can feel good again. Not gambling actually makes them sad.

4) Gamblers think of ways of obtaining money for which to gamble with. Some forge checks, some steal, some use all their money from their jobs. It’s a never-ending cycle.

5) Gamblers gamble when distressed: anxiety, guilt, helplessness, depression. Their mental health takes a toll; they will sacrifice their well-being for the hope of winning money.

6) Gamblers “chase one’s losses.” They will return the next day to make up for what they lost. Say goodbye to your job, your family and your friends.

7) Gamblers lie. They cannot reveal to people that they have an issue. The only people who know at first is the employees at the casino. But they don’t care. It’s a business.

8) Gamblers lose relationships. Their friends and families give up on them. They have a failed marriage, a failed career. Their addiction as taken over them.

9) Gamblers have desperate financial situations. They ask others for money. They do anything to go back to the casino. They have lost it.

This is the life of a person with Gambling Disorder. We must come together and help these people live a normal life again. Stigma and pointing the finger are not the answers. This is a mental disease that needs grave attention. We are in this together.

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