Getting High During Social Distancing

Person holding unrolled cannabis joint with grinders on table

Is Your Brain The Real Enemy?

With so much time on your hands, your brain begins to beg you, “Please give me some candy so I can feel bomb!” The problem with listening to your brain’s demands is the same problem when you listen to a child’s continuous requests: you give up power as they gain more control. Getting high during social distancing is certainly very tempting but you have to resist your brain’s desires.

The coronavirus pandemic is a perfect time to develop a drug addiction; hence, why you have to redirect your mind away from substances. With so much free time on your hands and mixed feelings regarding the current social situation, substances become an avenue of escape; a destination that is often hard to return back from.

Getting high helps you to enhance your isolation at home. It makes activities such as cruising the web, watching YouTube videos, having sex, eating and putting on a Netflix show much more enjoyable. That’s because substances hijack your reward center in the brain and release great amounts of dopamine; much more than naturally released when having sex with an attractive partner!

That’s why half the world is addicted to a substance; it’s like candy for adults. Just as children love sugar highs, adults love a state of intoxication. Since we are little, we have been programed by society to enjoy getting high. The difference between those who do and don’t comes down to many factors, including the current COVID-19 pandemic!

Getting high may truly make your social distancing experience more enjoyable; no one is denying that. But are the consequences worth it? When all of the smoke clears up and the coronavirus dies down, will you want to be in a position of stepping out in public with an addiction on your hands? If you do end up in that position, the real enemy was your brain who convinced you all along to get high and you fell for it!

So don’t allow your brain to become your enemy. It does not always look out for what’s best for you; the brain is quite selfish! The human brain is so smart that it comes up with ways of tricking you into giving it what it desires. And once you give it a glimpse into the world of getting high, it will take full advantage of the dopamine rushes by keeping you hooked on drugs as much as it possibly can.

Control your mind and you will be in a good position to carry forward.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Domestic Violence While High On Crack

Low-angle photo of hanged shoes on wire next to buildings during daytime

The Crack Shack

The impact of drugs on the human mind is so powerful, that an addict will often remain in an abusive relationship despite the adverse consequences. It’s very sad to hear about such stories, but they are quite common. Imagine a female crack addict who presents to the emergency room because her husband beat her with a broom. Domestic violence while high on crack is not a joke.

Many women who remain in abusive relationships continue to use drugs and return to their husbands despite being severely beaten. Usually their partners abuse drugs as well. In this case, crack is cheap, alters the mind and gives users more energy and confidence. When a crack husband beats on a crack wife, this is to show a force of authority.

Both of their self-esteems are already low from poverty, disease and addiction. For the husband, by demonstrating a dominating role, he starts to feel a little better about himself. The wife on the other hand has no place to go, so she comes back crawling to the husband, who is situated in the crack shack higher than a kite.

When the wife comes back, the husband looks at her like a cockroach invading his territory. But rather than stomping on it, he accepts her back for company and pleasure. But as soon as his mood goes berserk again, he reverts back to stroking his ego by beating her. This pattern can literally happen dozens of times with no end in sight.

The sad part of this situation is the wife who shows up to the psychiatric emergency room depressed and suicidal; even psychotic at times from her excessive drug use. What usually happens is that she’ll get admitted, become consistently medicated for a week or two at most and then discharged back into the community. She may be referred to a rehab but she probably won’t follow up.

Guess where she’ll end up? That’s how powerful drug addiction is. The crack shack stays open 24/7.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Addiction Is Stronger Than Love

Drug addict using syringe on yellow rock on spoon

My Strange Addiction

For many people who first start using drugs, the thought of one day becoming addicted does not cross their minds. It all starts with in the moment curiosity, excitement and even fitting in. Some feel initial nerves about trying the drug, but the adventure of exploring new territory is greater than the fear. Once they cross that invisible line, for many, addiction becomes stronger than love.

Once someone is hooked on a drug, the necessity to acquire more of it becomes greater than the love that they have for themselves or others. At first it’s the high: something out of this world that they glorify and start to believe is the greatest thing in their life. They start to chase the high because it provides them with a more entertaining and pleasuring mindset, than they would otherwise experience from other activities.

But the problem with drugs is that tolerance quickly develops, requiring higher doses to achieve the same high. But with higher doses come more consequences: more money is wasted, more time is spent acquiring the drugs, changes in personality, increased exposure to dangerous situations, ruined relationships, withdrawal symptoms, etc.

Once withdrawal symptoms are experienced, most addicts come to the realization that they either have to stop and seek help, or continue using. Many continue using out of shame of seeking help, “If I seek help, then it’s official that I’m an addict and everyone will look down on me. I can’t let that happen. Gotta keep using.”

At this point, the love, responsibilities and feelings for others are placed aside, and the mission of acquiring more of the drug to prevent withdrawal becomes the aim. Once the drug is acquired, the relationships resurface on their minds, but their family and friends start to notice their change in behavior, questioning what is driving it.

But they cannot divulge their addiction because of shame. So they continue using in the shadows, getting high and maintaining their addiction that becomes stronger than their love for others. The drug has become their new love and nothing can break them apart. They’ll continue using until they’re burned out, overdose, die or hopefully gather the strength to seek help.

Addiction overtaking love is not uncommon in the world of drug addicts.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

What No One Ever Tells You About Addiction — Thought Catalog

Addiction is a brain disease that, through a series of biochemical mechanisms resulting from repeated behaviors, creates an overwhelming, animalistic urge as pressing and intense as the bursting bladder.

What No One Ever Tells You About Addiction — Thought Catalog

Alcoholism

Bottles of liquor lined up on concrete surface outside

Bonding With Liquor

There is much concern in the media about vaping, opioid use disorder and even the legalization of marijuana, but why are we forgetting to address alcoholism? The world keeps spinning and new drugs keep reaching the surface, but alcohol has been around since 80 million years ago, when our human ancestors consumed rotting fermented fruit rich in ethanol.

We’ve been bonding with liquor since the beginning of time; alcohol is the real epidemic that needs to be more carefully addressed! The question is, why do you like alcohol so much to the point of sacrificing your health, relationships, job or even your life? Many people will give you different responses, some honest and some based on denial.

The most uncommonly common answer is, “I just like it!” You have to understand that not all alcoholics have developed their addiction based on the unfortunate circumstance of getting hooked on the drug. Many simply just like the taste, smell and high that they get from alcohol.

When people think of alcoholics, they believe that something bad must have happened in their lives, and that they unfortunately self-medicated with alcohol to the point of becoming addicted. That’s not always the case! Many people also started binge drinking in college for the sake of partying, and eventually lost control.

Many adolescents start binge drinking in high school and eventually lose control. The loss of control over the use of alcohol happens for many reasons. Again, one big reason that is often left out of the picture is the love for the high that alcohol provides. It makes the user feel elated, relaxed, disinhibited and it’s easy to consume: just pour it in a glass and enjoy!

Bonding with liquor can be a truly enjoyable process as compared to other drugs. The ingestion of alcohol is so convenient and there’s always the mental comfort that it’s legal to use. But with other drugs such as marijuana, the act of smoking or even worrying about legality is too much of a pain and concern.

In addition, not everyone likes the feeling of other drugs such as marijuana or opioids, because they still want to be functional while under the influence. With alcohol, one can still go to work intoxicated and no one may have a clue! Alcohol is also very easy to disguise: just mix it with some Pepsi or Coca Cola and you have yourself a concealed mixed drink on the go!

Overall, ease of use, functionality, disinhibition, burial of negative emotions and a pleasantly confident high are the main reasons why alcoholism develops, and why more than 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States.

What are your feelings towards alcohol?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Addicted To Addiction

Closeup photo of green and white signage of person running towards arrow and door

Warning: Addiction Territory Ahead

No matter the amount of pleasure that some people seek and receive, it never seems to be enough. Either more of where that came from is their thought process, or they seek a new form of pleasure. Not every source of pleasure is derived from a substance, but all sources of pleasure have the potential for inducing an addiction.

Why are some people more prone to developing an addiction? What is an addiction? Why do we feel the need to provide ourselves with pleasure? These are all fundamental questions that need to be answered in order to better understand ourselves, and the decisions that we make in our everyday lives.

An addiction is a state of mind that involves a person becoming dependent on a source of pleasure. Dependence is a state of relying on or being controlled by something. People can be dependent on alcohol, drugs, sex or even other people, known as dependent personality disorder!

Some people are more prone to developing an addiction because it has a great deal to do with their personality traits and genetics. If their relatives had addicting personalities, there’s a high chance that their genes were passed onto them; genes have a great influence on personality. Some people also enjoy pleasure more than others: what might be “fun and cool” for one person hitting a fat J, might be “amazing and dope” for another.

The “amazing and dope” person could be that one person who develops Cannabis Use Disorder, Severe. The same applies with sex, eating, gambling and any other type of pleasure that happens to be very reinforcing. Reinforcing means that you want it over and over again, because of the intensity of the pleasure; your behavior for seeking a particular activity is credited, strengthened or reinforced with pleasure.

We feel the need to provide ourselves with pleasure because it’s human nature to feel rewarded and happy. Without pleasure, life would be mundane. Depression and suicide rates would probably be astronomically higher than they already are. But keep in mind that pleasure can also lead to a mundane, depressing and suicidal state of mind!

At the end of the day, pleasure is innate in all of us. We need pleasure to survive. But what we don’t need is that invisible line that we are all susceptible to crossing over into addiction territory. You’ll never actually see the line, but you’ll be bombarded with warning signs and flashing lights! When this happens, stop and return back from where you came from. It means that you’ve overdone it with pleasure.

Don’t overdo pleasure; it’s much sweeter in moderate amounts.

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)

Alcohol State Of Mind

Rock glass filled with green alcohol in front of bar

Giving Up Alcohol For A Month

Ethanol has a very sneaky way of slithering into your life; sometimes it’s present for an appropriate and lovely evening, while at other times, it’s joining you on a midday binge. The legality of the substance is a deception. Alcohol is one of the most addicting and deadliest substance known to mankind.

It’s excellent at disinhibiting you and allowing you to flow in and out of conversations; even with strangers. For some shy folks, alcohol is their miracle drug; they have finally found a solution to shedding away their personality and replacing it with a new and improved one.

Of course, any “new and improved” personality brought upon by alcohol is part of the deception of the slithering potion. Paradoxically, your perception of a new and improved personality is often painful and disgusting for others to bear and tolerate. Family and close friends suffer when they see a loved one robbed of their true self.

And that’s what alcohol does best: it makes you grandiose, boosts your confidence, disinhibits you and makes your surroundings more enjoyable but at the expense of your true colors. When a person crosses the invisible line from social drinking into pathological drinking, they have left their true self behind.

Giving up alcohol for a month is a good start! But prior to arriving at thirty days of sobriety, it is important to take baby steps:

  • Step 1: decrease your quantity of alcohol during weekdays
  • Step 2: decrease your quantity of alcohol during weekends
  • Step 3: drink a lower quantity of alcohol on fewer weekdays
  • Step 4: drink a lower quantity of alcohol on fewer weekdays + weekends
  • Step 5: avoid drinking alcohol during weekdays
  • Step 6: avoid drinking alcohol during weekends
  • Step 7: avoid drinking alcohol for an entire month
  • Step 8: avoid drinking alcohol for an entire six months
  • Step 9: avoid drinking alcohol for an entire year
  • Step 10: avoid falling back down to step 1

When alcohol senses that you are trying to break up, it will attempt to hit you harder by introducing insecurity, uncertainty, depression, anxiety and withdrawal symptoms into your life. This is alcohol’s way of keeping you hooked; any indication that you are trying to break free and the hook digs deeper into your soul.

To avoid battling alcohol addiction, you must avoid ever experiencing an alcohol state of mind. For some people, they will never get addicted. But for most who expose themselves to large quantities, the addiction was born prior to their first sip; their mind knew that one day their nucleus accumbens and ethanol would toast together.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Why E-Cigarettes Have Hit A Left Turn

Person in black hoodie surrounded by smoke

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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