It has been said that life is less like a hike through mountains and valleys as it is a journey by train, with one rail representing life’s positives and the other the negatives. Joy and pain will both always be part of the human experience. Learning to see blessings in seasons of pain and accept challenges during times of joy is an important skill to master. Continue reading How to Accept Good With the Bad
Dual Diagnosis is a term applied to the condition of suffering from both a mental health condition like depression or anxiety and an addiction to drugs or alcohol. When people have a Dual Diagnosis, the best treatment outcomes are seen when the conditions are treated concurrently, in an integrated manner and preferably within the same treatment facility. People who have been diagnosed with depression are often prescribed medications, and it is common to develop some degree of dependence on them. Continue reading Does My Addiction to My Depression Meds Count as a Dual Diagnosis?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy originally developed to treat post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, who made the observation that when upsetting thoughts came to her mind, her eyes began moving rapidly. She theorized that it was the brain’s mechanism for dealing with unwelcome memories and noticed that when the memories were recalled later, they had lost a great deal of their power. Dr. Shapiro began studying the phenomenon, and in 1989, published a study of the successful use of EMDR on 22 trauma victims. Continue reading Reviewing EMDR
Stress and substance addiction are closely related. Stress can contribute to the development of addiction and is a significant relapse risk. Learning to manage stress in a healthy way is an important recovery goal.
The American Institute of Stress notes that stress is a subjective concept that is difficult to precisely define. It was originally defined as the response of the body to any demand for change. Over time, it became synonymous with strain or tension or with demands that overwhelm personal resources. The Institute notes, however, that there are elements of stress that can be helpful. To a point, increased stress results in increased productivity, but there is a level at which the trend reverses. The tipping point differs for each individual, however, so paying attention to early warning symptoms of stress overload is vital. If you are struggling with an amphetamine addiction, learn how stress management can help you succeed in rehab.
How Stress Contributes to Addiction
Stress and substance abuse interact in multiple ways. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains the way in which stress can contribute to an increased risk of alcohol relapse. They note that alcohol can cause dysfunction in stress responses. Both chronic abuse and acute withdrawal are associated with increased activity in the brain’s stress systems. This involves higher levels of stress hormones in specific areas of the brain.
Chronic alcohol use can also change the brain’s reward pathway. This altered pathway can increase alcohol craving when people are exposed to alcohol-related stimuli, and also when they are under stress. In other words, people suffering from addiction may have both an overactive stress response and a tendency for stress to increase substance use cravings.
Stress may increase the addiction and relapse risk directly or indirectly, through its effect on other variables. A 2008 article in the journal Pain reports on a study indicating that stress can affect pain tolerance. Substance abuse sometimes begins as an attempt to address pain.
A publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) entitled Managing Chronic Pain in Adults with or in Recovery from Substance Use Disorders notes that chronic pain and addiction frequently co-occur.
Higher levels of stress also correspond to an increase in negative emotional states. A 2010 article in the journal Personality and Individual Differences examined stress in adolescents. A strong association was found between stress and negative emotions such as depression and anxiety.
Dealing with stress can take many forms, including the following:
- Addressing conflicts – Some degree of stress is inevitable, but recurring conflicts that cause higher than normal stress levels can often be addressed and resolved. Relationship issues, especially within the family, are common contributors to increased levels of stress. Family or couple’s therapy can be very beneficial.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT involves becoming aware of the beliefs and thoughts than underlie emotions. Stress can sometimes arise from or be intensified by unhelpful or untrue beliefs, such as “Things never work out for me” or “No one likes me.” CBT involves examining beliefs for their truth and counteracting or discarding those that are harmful. Viewing a situation from a different and more positive angle is sometimes known as reframing.
- Breathing exercises – Focusing on breathing when the stress level begins to rise can turn down the body’s stress response. When under stress, the body tends to take quick and shallow breaths. Taking deeper and slower breaths can communicate to the body that there is no danger. It can lower heart rate and blood pressure. Breathing exercises can vary. One common technique is to breathe in slowly, hold the breath for a defined period of time, then slowly exhale.
- Muscle relaxation – Muscles tense when stress levels rise. A helpful relaxation technique can be to focus on one muscle at a time, tense it, and then let it fully relax. Receiving a massage is another way to address muscle tension.
- Music – Listening to any enjoyable music can be pleasurable, but there are certain musical styles that have been shown to lower the stress response. Classical music can be very calming. There are also music-based audio programs using music based on binaural beats, which can slow brain waves.
- Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the practice of focusing fully on the present moment, becoming aware of physical and emotional states without judging them. Stress can often be heightened by a focus on the future or the past, and focusing on the present can release unnecessary tension.
- Gratitude – Becoming consciously aware of and thankful for circumstances, relationships, belongings and other positive aspects of life can be very powerful. Gratitude has been shown to lower stress and improve sleep.
- Exercise – Physical exercise can boost endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals, and help counteract stress. Even moderate or low-level exercise can be beneficial.
- Meditation – Meditation can take various forms. A common technique is to choose a positive affirmation, such as “I am at peace” and to slowly repeat it to yourself, either out loud or silently. This is often timed to coincide with taking slow, deep breaths.
- Laughter – Laughter can lower stress hormones and increase endorphins. Taking time to watch a humorous movie or television show or deciding to read a funny book or webpage can enhance wellbeing.
By incorporating a few of these techniques into your daily routine you can learn to cope with stress in healthy ways.
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If you are struggling with amphetamine addiction and are ready to start an addiction recovery journey, give us a call. Our helpline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day. We can help you understand your treatment options and find the one that is best for you. We can also check your insurance coverage for you if you wish, at no cost or obligation. Addiction is a treatable disease and we can help you find your road to recovery. Why not call now?
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines trauma as an emotional response to an event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. The website Helpguide.org explains that traumatic events are generally those that shatter people’s sense of security and cause feelings of helplessness and vulnerability. The site notes that trauma is often experienced when there is a threat to life or safety, but that other types of overwhelming situations can also be traumatic, and that the subjective emotional experience is more important in defining trauma than the nature of the actual event. Trauma is more likely if an event happened unexpectedly, repeatedly, in childhood or if the person who experienced the trauma felt powerless to prevent it. People may be exposed to trauma from a wide range of experiences, including surgery, car accidents and other types of injuries, relationship breakups, the sudden death of a loved one, the discovery of a disabling or life-threatening illness, or humiliating or deeply disappointing experiences.
An event that would not be experienced as trauma under one condition may be experienced as traumatic in another. People already under heavy stress are more likely to experience a new stressor as traumatic. A history of childhood trauma, which can lead to an underlying feeling of helplessness, can also contribute to the experiencing of trauma in adulthood.
Physical and Emotional Symptoms of Trauma
Traumatic experiences can cause people to undergo a wide range of emotional and physical symptoms. The APA lists some of these as shock, denial, flashbacks, unpredictable emotions, headaches and nausea. People may feel disconnected from their emotions or they may experience anxiety, hopelessness, shame, overwhelming sadness or a sense of being in constant danger. They may find it difficult to trust others and therefore withdraw from relationships. Tension may manifest in physical symptoms such as fatigue, muscle tightness and achiness, insomnia, nightmares, a racing heart and being easily startled. People are often edgy and agitated and may experience confusion and difficulty concentrating.
Sometimes people gradually recover from the effects of a trauma without professional help. Other times, however, people get stuck and symptoms do not improve on their own. Professional help may be necessary when people find that their symptoms are interfering with their daily functioning or they are dealing with them in unhealthy ways, such as through the use of alcohol or drugs.
Treatment for trauma often involves both focus on physical symptoms and on the emotions and beliefs that underlie them. Therapies include the following:
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) – During EMDR sessions, patients recall traumatic memories while rapidly moving their eyes back and forth. A 2012 article in Scientific American reports on a number of studies validating the therapy’s effectiveness. The article notes that EMDR has been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and the Departments of Defense and of Veterans Affairs.
Despite the effectiveness of EMDR, its precise mechanisms of actions are not fully understood. One theory is that EMDR interferes with memory reconsolidation. When people recall memories, they are changed subtly before being filed away again. When patients move their eyes while recalling an event, the eye movements may compete for space in their working memories. This may allow the event to be re-filed in a changed form and be less intense when next recalled.
- Somatic experiencing (SE) – During somatic experiencing, the focus is on the physical body. Patients learn to recognize trauma-related tension and sensations and release them. The theory is that trauma symptoms are based on a malfunctioning autonomic nervous system. The developer of SE modeled the therapy on the way in which animals in the wild deal with excess energy.
- Psychomotor therapy – During psychomotor therapy, patients are led to give names and voices to their memories and to re-write them in a more positive way. It may involve role-play and group interaction. A 2014 article in the New York Times Magazine describes a session in which a patient recreated a trauma and asked other people to play certain roles. The participants responded to the trauma patient in the way he needed, by forgiving, apologizing or validating his feelings.
- Prolonged exposure (PE) – People who experience traumatic memories often try to avoid recalling them as much as possible. In exposure therapy, the memories are consciously recalled in an attempt to reduce their power. The therapy involves learning about trauma reactions, intentionally relaxing through breath exercises and other techniques, talking through the trauma, and intentionally practicing real-world exposure to triggering events.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT involves identifying and addressing thoughts that prompt feelings and behaviors. For trauma-related events, CBT is often used in conjunction with other therapies.
Integrated Treatment for Trauma and Addition
Trauma and addiction often co-exist and are best treated in an integrated and coordinated manner. If you would like to find a treatment program that integrates trauma and addiction treatment, give us a call. Our helpline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day. We can help you identify your treatment options and can even check your insurance coverage for you if you wish, at no cost or obligation. Why not call now?
The impact emotions have on our actions and our overall health cannot be overstated and are frequently misunderstood. Many people mistakenly equate the word “emotion” with “feelings.” The belief, then, tends to be that emotions can be easily over-ridden by the rational brain. “Get over it,” this thinking tells us.
The truth, however, is that emotions are much more powerful than most people realize. Certainly, emotions are involved in the processing of feelings and moods, but there is much more to it than that. In fact, the brain uses a person’s emotional system, which is essentially an intricate network of biochemical neurological signals and responses sparked by various congenital and external triggers, to manage the following critical functions:
- Forming new habits (learning)
- Feeling tired, falling asleep and waking up
- Exercising self-control despite powerful cravings
- Forming and recalling memories selectively
- Feelings of self-worth and optimism for the future
- Motivation to exercise or work hard
- Relational bonding
- Sexual attraction and function
The mind constantly works to move repeated behaviors from the conscious area of the brain into the subconscious. This allows people to focus their conscious attention on critical decision-making exercises instead of routines, but often results in detrimental behaviors becoming hard-wired into a person’s psychology. Whether it is an addiction issue or another mental health problem such as depression or anxiety, any behaviors that have moved into to the emotional part of the brain are extremely difficult, or even impossible, to reprogram without professional help. Regardless of how intensely an alcoholic wants to stop drinking, for instance, the emotional or psychological compulsion to drink will be stronger than the rational desire to quit. Thus the key to recovery is to cause non-addictive, healthier methods of relief to be established in the emotional center of the brain. This takes significant time and effort but it is possible with the proper help.
The Emotions of Rehab
Rehab is definitely an emotional journey. Individuals in the process of overcoming psychological disorders will experience a wide range of emotions, including the following:
One of the primary functions of drugs and alcohol is the numbing of emotional or physical pain. Addicts medicate their emotions by getting drunk or high. Thus when an addict stops using substances he or she will experience a rush of emotions that feel intense and even overwhelming. Everything feels more extreme for the recovering addict. The lows are extremely low and the highs are dizzyingly high. One of the most important jobs of recovery support staff members is to help the addict to navigate these extreme emotions without self-medicating. This requires the cultivation of improved mindfulness skills and healthier coping techniques. The following techniques are often included in the most effective recovery programs:
- Individual counseling and life coaching
- Support group meetings
- Coping skill instruction and emotion management exercises
- 24-Hour accountability
- Empowering educational experiences that increase mindfulness and understanding
- Medically supervised detox
- Family counseling and support
One of the greatest benefits of inpatient rehab programs is that counselors and support staff are available 24 hours a day and are ready to help you navigate every emotional extreme. The process of recovery continues long after the residential phase, though. Learning to be mindful of your emotions and to lean on friends and supporters when temptations arise will be the difference between continuing healing and relapse.
The Importance of Aftercare
It is common for amphetamine addicts to feel extremely confident in themselves as they complete their stint in rehab. This often leads to unwise, reckless choices. Recovering addicts frequently overestimate their ability to resist temptation and underestimate the emotional power of various experiences and circumstances. Long-term aftercare programs help maintain sobriety for months or even years by re-connecting the addict to the people, ideas and disciplines that he or she experienced during rehab. Maintaining these connections is especially helpful when the addict’s emotions are triggered by the following experiences:
- Relationship problems
Successful recovery requires that the individual learn to recognize the early signals of the kind of emotion shift that can place his sobriety in jeopardy. The longer a person waits to reach out for help, the less likely it is that he will. As emotions become heightened, either positively or negatively, the psychological process that takes place in the brain makes it more difficult for the individual to think rationally. The result is often an emotional outburst in which the addict reverts to habitual methods of coping, like amphetamine use. Learning to control your emotions – instead of being controlled by them – is absolutely essential for your successful recovery.
24-Hour Recovery Helpline
If you would like more information about the role of psychological health in the process of addiction, or would like to be referred to a recovery program that can help you learn more effective ways of controlling your emotions, please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available any time of day or night with free, no-strings-attached, advice and answers. It may seem that you are helpless to control your emotions, but you are not. There are ways to learn how to regain control of this powerful psychological process. We can help. Call now.
Drug abuse results from physical, emotional and problems. Although many people begin using drugs as a form of recreation, some people rely on drugs to numb negative feelings
—such is the case of people who abuse amphetamines to relieve emotional pain. Amphetamines are stimulants that can regulate certain disorders due to is effects on the central nervous system, but these drugs have potent effects, so abusing them can quickly result in tolerance and addiction. In fact, fatal overdoses have been reported due to seizures and coma.
Since amphetamine abuse has such high dangers, people who abuse these drugs to manage their emotions need better coping mechanisms, such as the following five suggestions:
- Therapy is widely available, because it can address almost any emotional issue. From the very first day of treatment, both therapist and patient openly talk to find practical solutions.
- Find an activity that helps you relax, like playing sports or a musical instrument, developing a skill, exercising, practicing a hobby and etc. This act is especially helpful when a negative emotion surfaces.
- Meditate, which involves more than clearing your mind. It also implies seeing life from different perspectives, which will help you see problems in proper proportions.
- Talk with others about your feelings, which might be difficult, but it is one of the best ways to vent harmful emotions. Even if there is no one around you, seek support groups and helplines to remain anonymous while receiving help.
- Take care of your physical health. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind, so get enough rest and keep a good diet improve not only the way you feel, but also your self-esteem. You may also find the energy to tackle common anxieties.
Even if you follow these suggestions, emotional distress is still a difficult condition to manage, so you may require professional assistance accompanied with addiction help. One of the options for people with both addiction and a mental health condition is Dual Diagnosis treatment; these centers address both conditions at the same time. Of course, therapy, counseling and support groups are always useful for people with less serious symptoms, so determine your level of need and then seek help.
Find Addiction Help and Emotional Support
Our toll-free helpline is available 24 hours a day to help you overcome addiction and emotional distress. Our admissions coordinators can help you make a treatment plan that includes intervention services, family counseling and transportation to and from rehab. They can even guide you to use your health insurance for treatment. Our information services are completely free and confidential, so recovery is one call away; make the call now.
Amphetamine, dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine are common stimulants also known as Adderall, Dexedrine and Desoxyn. Ritalin is technically not an amphetamine, but its amphetamine-like stimulatory effects are similar, so many people put it in the same category as the other substances. Doctors often prescribe these Schedule II medications to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, but people also abuse the drug to enhance performance, to lose weight and to experience euphoric highs. The Addiction journal published a study in 2005 that found past-year rates for non-medical amphetamine use reached 25% in some colleges. Moreover, amphetamines increase dopamine levels in the synaptic gap, so they can change the mesolimbic dopamine system to cause addiction and dependence. The drug can affect mood disorders, which means that amphetamine abuse and addiction can worsen depression.
How Amphetamines Affect Mood Disorders
The connection between amphetamines and mood disorders has been identified in the following clinical findings:
- 40% to 42% of addicts have co-occurring mood disorders like depression, per the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment in 2006
- Schizophrenia Bulletin in 2007 noted a particularly high association between addiction and manic depression
- The Hazard Gazette suggested in 2003 that childhood Ritalin use might increase depression susceptibility in adults
Amphetamine abuse and depression can be connected in the following ways:
- Depressed individuals may take amphetamines to self-medicate their mood
- Depression and addiction may stem from related genetic vulnerabilities
- The energy crash after an amphetamine high can depress mood
- Amphetamine abuse can induce an antidepressant-resistant depression
If a depressed individual does not respond to traditional therapy methods, then a low dose of amphetamines may be used to address lethargy, but many people self-medicate their problems with higher doses for longer periods of time than are healthy. When addiction forms, the perceived benefits of amphetamine abuse often dissipate, so mood shifts become more pronounced. Amphetamine abuse can also cause blood pressure problems, cardiovascular distress, tremors, twitching, nausea and repetitive motor activity. Furthermore, addiction behavior can affect finances, employment, relationships and personal safety, which can initiate depression or trigger its symptoms.
Addiction and Depression Help
Amphetamine abuse and depression can exacerbate each other, but professional rehab can treat both conditions together, regardless of which problem came first. Although specific services are tailored to each patient’s needs, rehab stocks the following therapies to help people:
- Cognitive and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy develop healthier thought patterns and emotional responses
- Strategies that identify, neutralize and protect against triggers that might motivate amphetamine cravings and depression symptoms
- Motivational interviewing and similar therapies that help patients explore personal catalysts for recovery
- One-on-one counseling to discuss unresolved trauma, unconscious conflicts and other factors that contribute to disorders
- Group sessions teach positive skills like anger/stress management, conflict resolution and coping strategies
Treatment professionals believe that an effective recovery must address all co-occurring disorders, and most therapies can be integrated to treat addiction and depression together.
If you have questions about amphetamine abuse and depression, then call our toll-free helpline now to speak with our admissions coordinators. They are available 24 hours a day to answer questions and to provide information, and they can even check your health insurance policy for treatment benefits. Please call now for instant, professional help.
Amphetamines are drugs that stimulate the brain’s central nervous system. They allow a user to feel alert and focused by boosting the activity of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. There are several forms of amphetamines, both legal and illegal, all of which have the potential for chemical dependency and addiction.
Amphetamines are commonly used recreationally and abused. People seek the euphoric and energizing effects of stimulant drugs for a variety of different reasons: to stay awake for long periods of time; to experience euphoria; to feel energized and alert; and to lose weight.
Risks of Amphetamine Abuse
There is a long list of risks and dangers that can occur when amphetamines are abused, and like any mind-altering substance, amphetamines can significantly impair a user’s judgment. Time and time again, individuals convince themselves that they have control over their drug use and their behavior when they are under the influence of a mind-altering substance. Unfortunately, people underestimate the chemical power of these substances. If people could control their behavior, thought-processes, and judgment while under the influence, there wouldn’t be so many alcohol or drug-related vehicle accidents, injuries, domestic disputes or criminal activity.
Amphetamines cause a chemical change to take place in the brain. As a stimulant, amphetamines can cause feelings of euphoria, excitement and confidence. These drugs speed things up and in high doses can make a person feel powerful, even invincible. Users may talk rapidly, repeat themselves and feel like they cannot contain their energy or happiness. In large doses, amphetamines can cause a user’s brain to speed up so much that he experiences restlessness, irritability, anxiety, aggression paranoia, and paranoid psychosis.
Amphetamine users often feel on top of the world and more in control of themselves, and thus are more likely to behavior impulsively and recklessly; they are over-confident and oozing of self-esteem. In a normal frame of mind, individuals may practice better judgment when it comes to thinking, speaking and acting; however when under the influence of amphetamines, users lack the ability to control their impulses and inhibitions. The boost of energy and confidence impairs one’s judgment and this can lead to all sorts of misguided decisions. Amphetamines, like other drugs, impact the brain’s ability to make safe and sound choices. Users may engage in sexual acts, put themselves in dangerous situations, or spend large amounts of money. There is no end to the possible consequences a person can come across while acting under the influence. Amphetamine users may also be less hesitant to try other, harder drugs or administer drug in risky ways, such as intravenously.
Don’t Let Drugs Make Your Decisions
If you are concerned that your drug use has progressed beyond your control, you can call our toll-free number for help. Our trained addiction counselors are available 24/7 in order to assist you with your search for drug abuse and addiction recovery services. Whether you still have questions, need information, or are ready to find treatment and recovery options today, we are happy to help. Being proactive and seeking help now can save you and your loved ones from pain and regret. Call and talk to an addiction counselor today.
Amphetamines (also known as speed, ice and crystal) are major stimulants. These drugs often come in tablet, crystal or powder form to be swallowed, snorted or smoked. Amphetamines suppress fatigue and increase alertness, but, once their effects begin to wear off, users may experience anxiety, depression and a risk for suicide. Ultimately, these drugs could affect and/or counteract the medications people use to treat depression, or they could worsen any pre-existing condition. In other words, it is dangerous to combine anti-depressants with amphetamines, so seek professional help if you engage this life-threatening practice.
Effects of Combining Amphetamines with Anti-Depressants
Amphetamines and anti-depressants affect each user differently depending on that person’s drug use and how she administers the substance. When people combine amphetamines and anti-depressants, they may experience any of the following issues:
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Dangerous fluctuations in blood pressure
Amphetamines often interact with other psycho-stimulants and anti-depressants. They interact with psycho-stimulants by amplifying other drugs’ side effects, and this effect greatly increases the risk of overdose. When overdose—or any of the aforementioned side effects—goes unchecked—then permanent organ damage or death may occur. When addicts continue to use drugs despite negative health consequences, then users may induce permanent damage, which means they will suffer from problems that cannot be reversed or treated. This damage could also take months or years before it becomes apparent to medical staff.
Treatment Options for Combining Amphetamines with Anti-Depressants
Each addiction treatment plan has unique approaches and theories to help users get and stay clean. If you abuse amphetamines and anti-depressants at the same time, then consider seeking any of the following treatment methods:
- Inpatient treatment
- Outpatient treatment
Most inpatient treatment facilities are not meant for long-term care. In other words, most inpatient treatment facilities help addicts detox from their drugs of choice while they remain under the constant supervision of medical personnel. During this stage of recovery, addicts also receive medication to ease the pain caused by withdrawal symptoms. Once this stage ends, then addicts can enroll in additional treatment, such as long-term care in a rehab or outpatient treatment facility. Rehab is a continued form of inpatient treatment, which gives addicts continued support through the beginning of sobriety. Outpatient treatment allows addicts to receive treatment while maintaining independent lifestyles, and it often consists of counseling sessions in an office setting.
Amphetamine Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one struggles with amphetamine addiction, then please contact our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer all your questions about addiction and treatment. Take back your life and call us today!