Drugs Love Suicide

Woman smiling while holding rolled-up dollar bill near line of cocaine

Hooked On Pleasure

Ever since the coronavirus swept the world off its feet, the mention of the opioid crisis vanished. Even before that, the alcohol crisis and nicotine crisis were still at play but no one ever spoke of them except the families affected by the victims. The point is that the drug culture has not gone away and may never go away; humans are too susceptible to developing a drug addiction.

But it’s not only the drugs themselves that pose a great danger to humanity; it’s the mental illness that lives in the shadows, waiting to infect the next person in line. Since mental illness has no boundaries, everyone is at risk, but those who abuse drugs are at a greater risk of experiencing a mental illness. The problem with mental illness and drug use is that there is no guarantee that the mental illness will go away or not reoccur after one stops using drugs.

Think of a drug as a double-edged sword: one side feels amazingly good while the other penetrates your mind too deeply, inflicting potential long-term wounds. In reality, the entire sword inflicts a wound because what is interpreted by the user as “feeling good while high,” is actually a process of planting seeds for a mental illness; the only difference is that this process is quite often painless in the moment, only to become excruciating in the near future.

One thing is for sure: drugs love suicide. There is no drug that is good for you and marijuana is not an exception. Anything that alters the mind also opens it up to the possibility of encountering a mental illness on any given day; “You have finally arrived” the drug states to the mental illness. The mental illness replies back, “I knew it was a matter of time. Thanks for taking care of business. You can go now . . . or stay . . . whichever.”

But the user is the one who doesn’t want to let go of the drugs, only empowering the mental illness in the first place. You get the picture? This is why drug addicts are prone to suicide; even if they want to escape their hellish addiction, they often become too powerless in the process. If it’s not by a great psychiatrist, luck or God’s saving grace to be freed, many end up overdosing or killing themselves.

We need to continue to raise awareness for drug addiction and not look down upon our fellow humans. We can all agree that we live in a sinful world torn by wars, viruses, hatred, division, mental illness and addiction. The last thing that we should be doing is pointing the fingers at others and stating, “You worthless piece of shit. You’re good for nothing!” This is never going to help us advance the human race.

We welcome all drug addicts and people with mental illness. This is The DSM Ready community.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder

Three same female faces with red glitter under eyes

Holding On To Drugs

Substance abuse, mental illness and medical complications go hand in hand; rarely do you have one without the other in the psychiatric world. In other words, a psychiatric illness without a medical comorbidity is possible, but oftentimes, there’s something at play behind the scenes, even if it’s something as common as high blood pressure. Don’t automatically assume that someone who abuses drugs does not have a medical illness; sometimes the drugs are there to mask the physical symptoms or even the psychiatric symptoms!

And don’t assume that someone who has a psychiatric condition does not abuse drugs; the psychiatric condition can be secondary to drugs. This is the case with substance-induced depressive or psychotic disorder. Substances are capable of inducing temporary psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety, panic disorder, depressive disorder or a psychotic episode.

The key word is “temporary” because once the patient has metabolized the substance, the psychiatric condition tends to dissipate. This is because it was the chemical component of the drug that was inducing the symptoms in the patient’s brain. Once the drug is out of the body, the symptoms tend to subside and the patient returns back to a normal state of mind. But there are many cases where the psychiatric symptoms persist and that is the big danger that comes with abusing substances.

The problem with chronic drug users is that their addiction can repeatedly bring back a psychotic state of mind throughout their episodes of binging. But even when they experience auditory hallucinations of voices commanding them to kill themselves, they continue to go back to using their drug of choice. In other words, they’ll enter a hospital for a few days to become mentally stable after metabolizing the substances in their system, and then be discharged with the same intent of continuing to use their drug of choice.

The hospital is a temporary lodging station for their psychosis to clear up. For instance, someone who is experiencing psychosis from cocaine most likely will not want to stay home and continue to experience frightening psychiatric symptoms; they have all the desire in the world to obtain professional care under the supervision of psychiatrists while in the hospital.

But that’s the disappointing theme with drug addicts: even after obtaining a successful medical and psychiatric treatment, they tend to go back to their old behavior of getting high. Drug addiction is often more deadly than depression with suicidal ideations because drugs impair the user’s judgment, impulse and even insight, increasing their chances of actually harming themselves. On the other hand, someone who is only depressed and does not abuse drugs can more easily recover because of the psychiatric medications taking effect.

Someone who uses drugs will often be noncompliant with medications; their compliance is tied to their drug of choice because it’s all about getting high and feeling good. At the end of the day, pleasure dominates the drug addict’s lifestyle at the expense of their sanity.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Being Ashamed Of Your Drug Addiction

Addicted young man in front of messy bed praying

It’s Time To Come Out

There are many people who remain in hiding because of their drug addiction. Many are ashamed to tell their families because of their religion and stigma surrounding drug use. Drug use has no boundaries: it affects all races, nationalities, ethnicities, religions, ages, mental illnesses and whatever else has not been mentioned.

People find it easier to hide their drug addiction in order to avoid the uncomfortable and embarrassing conversations that often follow. In an addict’s mind, the energy and stamina required to cope with these conversations is simply not worth the effort. Time becomes more valuable when it’s used to obtain the drug and enjoy its high.

But living in shame is not the answer in the long-run. It might work for a few months or a few years, but your mental health slowly breaks down from your shame and misery. All you’re doing is suppressing your drug use into your unconscious mind; you’re essentially building a ticking time bomb.

Then there are the people who don’t care about being ashamed of their drug addiction, because they prefer to just enjoy the high and ignore the consequences. This scenario too does not last very long. Eventually the risks outweigh the benefits (getting high) and something always goes wrong.

Drug use has and continues to be associated with concealment and privacy. But it’s time to come out of the shadows and reveal your drug addiction to the world: “Hi. My name is Lisa and I’m a drug user.” “Hey. My name is Mark and I’m hooked on drugs.” We’re not attempting to embrace the use of drugs; we’re just attempting to initiate the first step much sooner, which is admitting to the world that you have a drug problem!

The stigma of drug use remains alive and kicking, but this is exactly what public enemy number one has been all this time. The war on drugs was a legitimate attempt by the U.S. government to help protect its people from the serious evil addiction to drugs. But the problem with the war on drugs is that it had the wrong enemy identified from the start.

The enemy of the people are not drugs. The enemy of the people is the stigma associated with drugs. Stigma is behind the secretive and allusive nature of drug use. Stigma is what keeps people in hiding and their drug use flourishing underground and well-hidden. If you eliminate the stigma, you eliminate an entire mindset that is associated with the use of drugs.

This is not in any way promoting the use of drugs. This is helping bring drug users out in the open in order to be exposed to help much sooner than perhaps “never later.” Exposure to treatment and support earlier in the addiction process has a much higher success rate than exposure later in the process.

Public enemy number one has been revealed. Are we ready to finally initiate the right war?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)