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Controlled Drinking – Alcohol Dependence Treatment Method

Controlled Drinking – Alcohol Dependence Treatment Method

Controlled drinking (CD) is part of the harm reduction approach to alcohol dependency, and also a type of Alcohol Dependence Treatment (ADT). The method of treatment has been around since the 1970s, and can be an effective method. However, even with repeated studies, the treatment has endured a controversial history among therapists, popular media, and in the research literature.

Controlled Drinking – Alcohol Dependence Treatment Method

Controlled drinking (CD) is part of the harm reduction approach to alcohol dependency, and also a type of Alcohol Dependence Treatment (ADT). The method of treatment has been around since the 1970s, and can be an effective method. However, even with repeated studies, the treatment has endured a controversial history among therapists, popular media, and in the research literature.

Clinical studies and peer reviewed research have demonstrated that controlled drinking is possible, and various moderation-based treatment could be preferred over abstinence-based treatment. Nevertheless, especially in the United States, zero tolerance has remained the treatment approach most popular among the public and professionals.

The History and Controversy of Controlled Drinking Research

In the early 1970s, the husband and wife team, Mark and Linda Sobell, led PhD students in a study conducted at Patton State VA Hospital located outside of San Diego.1 They took a total of 40 chronic alcoholics and divided them into two groups. One group was given Individualized Behavior Therapy for Alcoholics (IBTA). This treatment is now referred to as Controlled Drinking Therapy (CD). The second group of 20 patients underwent the standard 12 step/minnesota model abstinence-only program at the hospital. After two years of research, the Sobells reported significantly better outcomes for the patients who underwent Controlled Drinking.

While this study was happening, Mary Pendery, a 12-step, abstinence-only advocate who also worked at Patton State as an alcoholism counsellor, closely monitored the Sobells research and outcomes. For most of the 1970s, even after the study was completed, Pendery tracked the Controlled Drinking patients.

Her work caught the attention of Irving Maltzman, a UCLA psychology professor, and L. Jolyon West, who was the head of the psychiatry department at UCLA. These three published a paper in the July 1982 edition of The Science Journal. The paper accused the Sobells of fraudulent research. They claimed that four of the Controlled Drinking patients died in the following decade, and some had also relapsed. Their argument made media headlines and created a rift in the addiction community.

At this time The Sobells had been working at the Addiction Research Foundation (ARF) in Toronto. The ARF quickly established a commission to review the study, the dispute, and the allegations of fraud. Over the next several years, the Sobells made immaculate correspondence and notes of all patients in the research program, their relapses, and their deaths. What was revealed led the committee to clear the researchers of all claims.

Pendery and her team had made a crucial mistake. They had not followed up the abstinence group, as they had the controlled-drinking group. The ARF committee had found six of the abstinence-only group had died in the same period, while others had relapsed. What this ultimately suggested was that both treatments were not 100% effective, but the Controlled Drinking treatment did have a better overall outcome. In fact the final, most prominent result of the Sobells research was that in the last six months of the study, the 20 Controlled Drinking patients drank minimally or not at all for 160 out of 183 days. The 20 patients who were being taught the standard model of abstinence-only, typically functioned well for 80 days, before relapsing.

Decades later, the findings of the commission remain little-known to the public, as well as treatment institutions, and professionals. In the United States, abstinence, and nothing less, is still seen as the only legitimate method of treatment. The result of which is: there are very few facilities that integrate some kind of controlled drinking methods into alcohol dependence treatment.

A burst of successful controlled drinking studies happen every decade or so. Since the mid-2000s professionals are slowly beginning to accept that abstinence is not a realistic or achievable goal for every person. In fact, an insistence on the total and irrevokable discontinuation of drinking, not only does not always work, but may hinder an individual into getting help in the first place. Estimates suggest that between 60 and 95 percent of patients entering a 12 step program either drop out or fail to remain abstinent.2

Understanding Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is directly associated with controlled drinking treatment methods, but has been also incorporated into needle sharing programs, sexual protection programs and so forth. The method of treatment is aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drinking, thereby improving the patients’ quality of life. It is considered to be a non-judgmental approach for social justice, in that it respects the rights of people who choose to drink or use drugs. It also is seen as more realistic for people who live and work in a culture where (some) drinking is a part of social behavior.

In terms of alcohol consumption, potential harms that might be reduced include chronic health problems, acute injury, familial problems, job loss, mental health issues, social upheavals, etc. Most of these harms can be explained by:

  • Context: Where the drinking takes place,
  • Population: Who is drinking, and
  • Behavior: The patterns of drinking that result.

By identifying these three factors, possibly harmful outcomes can also be given the necessary attention. With this in mind, a strategy or plan which targets these issues can be developed and put into place.

The Main Goal of Controlled Drinking is Not Abstinence

With controlled drinking, the main goal is not abstinence. Nor is complete sobriety forced upon someone who does not wish it. Rather, as in the name, controlled drinking attempts to reduce the consumption of alcohol through setting limits for any drinking occasion. These limits can include: the duration of the event, the amount consumed, and the associated behavior and/or consequences. The overall goal is to reduce the total consumption of alcohol to a safer, controllable level, and thereby to improve the patient’s life in several areas.

Reduce Harm and Improve Health

Alcohol consumption has been linked to a broad range of health issues high blood pressure, heart disease, breast, esophagus and colon cancer, liver disease, B12 or folate vitamin deficiency and more. Heavy drinking can also lead to heightened levels of stress or anxiety as well as cause symptoms of depression or other mental health disorders. Apart from a direct physical impact alcohol could have on a person’s health, there is a greater risk for injury, assault, or STD while under the influence of alcohol.

A reduction in alcohol consumption, as studies show, suggest a patient’s health can be significantly improved. In one study on the effects of alcohol reduction and blood pressure, carried out by leading researchers and the American Heart Association (APA), it concluded out that less consumption did indeed act as a treatment and preventative measure for hypertension.3 The results of this study could also lead to a decrease in the risk of a stroke, heart attack or cardiovascular disease. Further research suggests reduction can:

  • Assist in maintaining a healthier weight and appearance,
  • Improve sleep patterns, and
  • Balance hormones and the patient’s mood.

Reduce Harm and Improve Relationships

Alcohol dependency can have a drastic effect on relationships not limited to a spouse, parent, and children, but also friends, co-workers, and society as a whole.4 Without addressing these problems, the relationship can be damaged or broken all together. Controlled drinking will assist the patient to identify relationship problems which were caused, or partially caused, by the consumption of alcohol. Healthier behaviors can be taught in conjunction with tools that help to repair a relationship. Overtime, stronger, healthier and sober connections with loved ones and friends can be restored.

Reduce Harm and Improve the Workplace

Alcohol’s effect on an employee’s work performance can include poor decision making, damaged relationships with clients, absenteeism, inefficiency, procrastination, and frequent mistakes. Intoxication on the job can jeopardise the safety of the patient, and also their co-workers, because of a likelihood in making errors due to a loss of coordination, and/or poor judgement. These concerns reflect an International Labor Organisation statistic which estimated up to 40% of workplace accidents are associated with alcohol use.5

With the guidance of a controlled drinking therapist, key predictors for problematic drinking in the workplace can be identified. These may include both individual and workplace predictors such as educational level, relationship status, self-worth, long working hours, high physical or emotional demands, monotonous work, job insecurity, lack of supervision, etc. A further prediction, which must also be considered, is a workplace environment that tolerates or encourages drinking as a means of socializing or bonding. Once the predictors are understood, a coping strategy and plan of action can be developed to hinder the desire to drink.

Treatment Components for Controlled Drinking

Controlled drinking incorporates several different components to help a patient reduce their consumption. Determining how best to treat a person will be individually based upon various factors such as his or her goals, level of intake, past events and high risk situations (also known as triggers). A controlled drinking therapist will help the patient to recognize these things and provide them with the skills needed to effectively deal with them without having to resort to drinking. The number of controlled drinking therapy sessions can range between 6 and 12 or more; one time per week, and lasting for 50 – 90 minutes. A Controlled Drinking therapist may also ask the patient to implement some or all of the following strategies:

  • Keep track of how alcohol much is being drank
  • Count and measure the drinks using the ‘Standard Drinking Sizes
  • Decide how many days per week alcohol can be consumed, and how much
  • Implement slow, or paced, drinking
  • Eat before and/or whilst drinking
  • Avoid triggers
  • Have a plan in place to deal with urges or triggers
  • Find healthier, sober alternatives
  • Learn, and feel comfortable with, drink refusal skills

Psychological and Psychosocial Interventions

Structured psychological interventions can be used in congruence with controlled drinking therapy. This method of treatment traditionally makes use of the interaction between a therapist or counsellor, as well as computer programs, self-help manuals, books and other material. The term ‘psychological intervention’ is considerably broad, and can be further classified into behavioral, cognitive, systemic, psychodynamic, and social therapy. The objective of the therapy will reflect the theoretical principles of the approach. For example, behavioral therapy is based on the idea that alcohol dependence is a learned habit and influenced by a patient’s behavior.

The idea of this therapy is to teach a patient new behavior patterns that lead to a reduction in drinking and any resulting harm. On the other hand, cognitive therapy places an emphasis on the role of thinking just prior to drinking. It is also used to prevent or avoid a relapse. Theoretical psychological frameworks used to treat dependency has been articulated in various studies; however, there is no solid evidence that suggests one is superior than another.6 For this reason, each one of the therapy options can be examined and chosen based upon the patient’ preference, need and objectives.

Motivational Techniques

Motivational techniques are structured and intensive forms of interventions which are based upon motivational interviewing principals.7 Motivational interviewing is patient-centered, and aims to rapidly change internal motivations through exploring and resolving ambivalence towards behavior. The treatment is not based upon a set model of techniques or steps, but rather attempts to take advantage of the patient’s current psychological resources. It is also employed as a treatment add-on or co-therapy with pharmacological intervention, controlled drinking therapy, and/or psychological therapies.

Brief interventions are part of motivational techniques. These are time limited intervention strategies that focus on an alcohol reduction in a non-dependent or at-risk drinker.8 Guided by a therapist, counsellor or medical practitioner, the idea is to influence positive motivation which will lead to a behavioral change. Behavioral skills or attempts to change the environment of the patient are not included in brief intervention treatment.

Prior to beginning the intervention, a short interview and assessment may be performed which is then followed by feedback from the therapist. Thiss can include personal risk factors, motivational change, goals or principles and advice on how to adjust the current drinking habits so the overall consumption is decreased.

Treatment goals typically encompass a reduction in drinking rather than abstinence. Whereas feedback may help a patient become aware of the negative consequences surrounding the drinking habits or behavior. A strategy may also be developed to help the patient cut down on their drinking. Together, these techniques assist in mobilizing the patient’s coping mechanisms while stimulating positive lifestyle changes.

Pharmacotherapy

Assisted pharmacotherapy can also be incorporated into a controlled drinking patient’s treatment strategy. In general, naltrexone, acamprosate or nalmefene may be prescribed to people who would like to reduce their drinking, but struggle to do so. Nalmefene, in particular, has been a conduit in several studies most notably out of Europe where the medication has caught the eye of doctors and addiction specialists. The drug can be taken just prior to drinking and helps a patient to reduce their desire to drink.

Moderation Management Meetings

Moderation management (www.moderation.org) is a behavioral change program and worldwide support group for people who are concerned about their drinking and wish to make healthier, more positive changes in their life. The meetings provides an alternative to abstinence or 12 step based programs which are not always a right match for a patient. Guided by a leader in a group environment, members can discuss strategies that help a person to manage negative emotion, alte behaviors, find moderation or balance between sobriety and drinking.

Controlled Drinking is Not for Everyone

Just abstinence is not an ideal form of treatment for everyone, controlled drinking will not be a suitable approach for some people. A culmination of the studies on controlled drinking suggests the method of treatment:

  • May be more appropriate for younger people who have not been significantly impacted by alcohol, financial strain or legal troubles.
  • Is not always so effective on older people who have been dependent on alcohol for many years.
  • Might not be a suitable approach for those who have serious health issues related to alcohol (i.e. cirrhosis).
  • Should not be implemented when the patient is pregnant or has a mental health disorder which is triggered or worsened when drinking alcohol.

There may also be other contributing factors to take into consideration before a patient begins controlled drinking therapy. For these reasons, it is recommended to speak with a doctor or medical professional for further advice.

Differences in European and North American Treatment Models

The European and North American treatment models for alcohol dependency (addiction) are significantly different. Each has a different history, and definition of addiction, and from this different treatments follow: Abstinence and Controlled Drinking.

North American Alcohol Dependency Treatment

The North American model of treatment originates from the Minnesota Model, an approach created in the 1950s inside a state mental hospital.9 The Minnesota Model advocates complete abstinence, a prohibition on drugs and alcohol.

The core objective of the treatment is to maintain complete abstinence from all drugs and alcohol, as well as to provide guidance in dealing with everyday ups-and-downs and hardships, and become part of a therapeutic community. Today this model is popular and has been expanded in various ways at different rehab facilities to include other types of complementary treatment.

European Alcohol Dependency Treatment

Up until the 1960s, there was little to no official model of treatment in Europe.10 It was around this time, psychiatrists in the UK and Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia) started to develop a democratic, user-led therapeutic environment which consisted largely of group therapy, social interaction, collective education and behavioral alterations. This flourished into a common model that treated addictions based upon underlying reasons, or core conditions which may include factors stemming from social, financial, relationship, childhood or mental health problems. Controlled drinking, or even drug use (i.e. heroin clinics), is often included in this model, and one that works for many patients in the EU. Abstinence on the other hand is not necessarily a goal, but rather an option best suited to patients who are ready and willing.

Reducing the consumption of alcohol over a set period of time is not a widely accepted form of treatment for those with a dependency problem. Rather, abstinence, or the complete cessation of alcohol consumption, is considered to be one of the only methods to halt dependency. A broad range of studies are providing evidence for the effectiveness of methods to reduce alcohol consumption in a person, eventually leading to a total elimination of the desire to return to drinking in an uncontrolled way.

Many ongoing studies, particularly those out of Europe, are implementing medication that helps patients to reduce and control their drinking. One such medication, Nalmefene or Selincro, has been the subject of clinical trials and medical conferences, and is now available to the public in certain countries.
At the same time, the North American Minnesota Model of abstinence has also become popular in Europe, though not as exclusively as in its native location.

Advantages and Drawbacks of the Controlled Drinking Treatment

The accepted orthodoxy of a large segment of alcohol dependency treatment focuses solely on abstinence. However, there are a significant number of alcohol-dependent drinkers for whom complete abstinence is negatively perceived, and impractical. Controlled drinking, on the other hand, offers an acceptable treatment method for certain kinds of alochol-dependent individuals, and can be an effective approach to reducing alcohol intake, reducing harm, and improving outcomes.

Advantages of the Controlled Drinking Treatment Method

  • Dependent drinkers may not feel completely out of control or overwhelmed when opting to moderate their own consumption.
  • Various studies have been able to show a decrease in alcohol consumption and positive consequences.
  • For people who are not ready to quit drinking, this strategy might help to reduce health problems and make improvements in their daily life.

Drawbacks to the Controlled Drinking Treatment Method

  • Controlled drinking works best when other types of treatment such as therapy or counselling is included.
  • People who are unable to quit on their own, or who lack control because of an acute problem, may not benefit from controlled drinking.
  • Controlled drinking will take a precise mindset and wilful determination from the dependent person. Lacking this could prove the treatment to be unsuccessful.

Zohydro Abuse

Zohydro Abuse

In 2014, one of the most controversial legal drugs to be made available to the public was released. Known as Zohydro ER, or just Zohydro, this painkiller is hydrocodone in its purest form. Immediately after its release, the medical community, law enforcement and drug rehabs were openly voicing their concerns and for valid reasons.

Zohydro Abuse

In 2014, one of the most controversial legal drugs to be made available to the public was released. Known as Zohydro ER, or just Zohydro, this painkiller is hydrocodone in its purest form. Immediately after its release, the medical community, law enforcement and drug rehabs were openly voicing their concerns and for valid reasons.

At first glance Zohydro doesn’t seem to be anything new. Its hydrocodone which is the opioid drug found in Vicodin. However, Vicodin contains acetaminophen; whereas, Zohydro is nothing but the opioid painkiller. It’s available as an extended release formula and is highly potent. Only people in severe pain can be prescribed this drug and even then you would not receive a large prescription. Officials in the US have spoken out asking doctors to be mindful of whom they are writing these prescriptions for.

Overdoses on Painkillers

Hydrocodone with acetaminophen is heavily abused in many parts of the globe. These painkillers are easy to get and are cheaper than illegal drugs such as heroin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised alarms about the increase in overdoses and deaths directly related to opioid based painkillers. The most recent statistics show in 2010, 16,551 people died from painkillers whereas in 1999, there was only 4,030 deaths.

A Slow Release Medication with Powerful Effects

Historically opioid painkillers have combined acetaminophen primarily because these pills were less addictive. In the states they are a schedule 3 drug which means they can be prescribed over the phone and up to six times. Zohydro and medications like morphine and Oxycodone are scheduled 2 drugs because they are are more addicting. A doctor cannot call these prescriptions in and they cannot be refilled.

Zohydro is taken orally and slowly released over a twelve hour period. From the manufacturer’s standpoints, as well as doctors, Zohydro is easier on the liver and offers people round the clock pain alleviation. You may wonder now, why such a controversy about the Zohydro ER drug?

Zohydro's Lethal Effects

The legal painkiller Zohydro is causing uproar amongst the addiction community because there is already such a profound epidemic of prescription medication abuse. Frankly, it’s the last thing that needs to be introduced to such a vulnerable consumer market. Many government officials in local areas have already banned the prescribing of the drug until further precautionary measures are taken. Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a member of the FedUp! activist group says “It will kill people as soon as it’s released, it’s a whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule.”

Another doctor stated a user could crush the capsule and snort or inject it. They added that there is nearly 10 times as much hydrocodone than in one Vicodin tablet. Someone who does not have a high tolerance to opioids or mistakenly take the drug could have a fatal overdose after taking just two Zohydro capsules. This is not to mention if a child accidentally consumed one capsule; it would be devastating.

What the Manufacturers Say

Zoginex is the manufacturer of Zohydro. Based in San Diego, California, they have publicly stated they are attempting to create a safer painkiller which is more ‘tamper proof’ than other drugs on the market. They believe Zohydro will not only lessen overdoses, but if properly administered by doctors, the addiction rate to opioids could be decreased. To add to these claims, other painkillers can be linked to liver damage and failure because of the acetaminophen. This risk is eliminated with Zohydro.

Solutions to the Problem

Some doctors are playing devil’s advocate against the current Zohydro uproar. One M.D.in particular says “Zohydro ER is, for all practical purposes, neither safer nor more dangerous than many of the drugs I already prescribe with success.” He continues to explain that even the tamper resistant painkillers have led to addiction amongst certain people. His solution to the problem is that Zohydro, and any other painkiller, must be prescribed with “caution and careful monitoring.”

FDA Approval of Zohydro

In 2015, the FDA approved the use of Zohydro throughout the United States. European countries, Australia and Japan are expected to follow suite in the coming year. Opiate rehabs are familiar with a similar situation which saw a huge epidemic of Oxycontin addictions and still to this day, this is one of the most abused opiates.

What will happen in regards to Zohydro addictions is not yet known and there are no statistics to refer to. However, it is suspected that no matter how difficult this powerful drug may be to get, it will make its way onto the black market and into the hands of people who may already have an addiction and are looking for a stronger high. It is this very fact which has people uneasy about Zohydro and its official release.

The Effects of Bath Salts Abuse and Addiction

The Effects of Bath Salts Abuse and Addiction

Not very long ago, the media was abuzz with bath salts. At first people were thinking about the ones that are used in luxury spas and ultra-pampering sessions. In fact, these were not the bath salts being discussed. These were the new street name for a concoction of different synthetic chemicals including mephedrone, pyrovalerone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone. Although difficult to pronounce, they are easy to obtain and get high on. No sooner did they hit the streets, emergency rooms and psychiatric wards were being bombarded with the bath salt epidemic.

The Effects of Bath Salts Abuse and Addiction

The Effects of Bath Salts Abuse and Addiction

Not very long ago, the media was abuzz with bath salts. At first people were thinking about the ones that are used in luxury spas and ultra-pampering sessions. In fact, these were not the bath salts being discussed. These were the new street name for a concoction of different synthetic chemicals including mephedrone, pyrovalerone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone. Although difficult to pronounce, they are easy to obtain and get high on. No sooner did they hit the streets, emergency rooms and psychiatric wards were being bombarded with the bath salt epidemic.

What are bath salts?

Bath salts are the term used for new family of synthetic drugs which are similar to amphetamines or stimulants. One recent study has shown the effects of bath salts are worse than those associated with meth.

Bath salts come in the form of white or brown crystals and are sold in small plastic bags. They can often be found in gas/petrol stations, small shops and online. They are labeled as “not for human consumption” and may also be sold as a “jewelry cleaner” or “plant food”. Brand names include “Lunar Wave”, “Vanilla Sky”, “Scarface” and “Bloom”.

It’s worth noting that these bath salts should not be confused with Epsom salt, pink or black salt or other natural salt mixtures which are used in healing and beauty products.

Short term Effects of Bath Salts

The energizing and agitating effects of bath salts are similar to cocaine or methamphetamine, but stronger. Both of these drugs increase dopamine which causes pleasure, energy and increase in activity.

Due to bath salts being a relatively new drug of abuse, there is not very much known on how they affect the brain. It is assumed that each variant of bath salts may have somewhat different properties, and chemically, they are similar to amphetamines (such as methamphetamine) as well as to MDMA (ecstasy). A recent study has shown that cathinone, one of the chemicals used in bath salts, raises dopamine levels in the brain, but is 10 times more potent that cocaine or meth.

When smoked, ingested or snorted, bath salts can cause extreme short term effects such as hallucinations, chest pain, tremors, seizures and paranoia. It is not uncommon for paramedics to be “attacked” when they are trying to help a person under the influence of bath salts.

Long Term Effects of Bath Salts

Currently, there needs to be more research carried out on the long term effects of bath salts. Although many states in the U.S. as well as, the United Kingdom have outlawed the chemicals in bath salts, there is still a growing demand for the drug. What is known about bath salt abuse is the extreme paranoia and agitation brought on by the use of the drug can last for an extended period of time.

Heart attack, kidney or liver failure, an increased pain threshold, dehydration, a breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue and homicidal or suicidal tendencies are all potential outcomes. Moreover, when a user has an underlying mental health issue, the risk for a psychotic episode is greatly increased.

Abuse, Addiction and Withdrawal of Bath Salts

Currently, there are a number of indicators which show that bath salts have a high probability for abuse, tolerance build-up and addiction. People who have undergone bath salt rehab treatment have said that the drug causes extreme cravings and a loss of control. Therefore, it is safe to assume (research is needed) that frequent use can cause dependency and withdrawal. A common concern with bath salt abuse is the other ingredients in the package which could potentially lead to further harmful effects.

Common signs of a bath salt addiction include jittery behavior, insomnia, impaired motor skills, rapid heartbeat, extreme paranoia, panic attacks, anger, agitation, bizarre or erratic behavior and self-mutilation.

Due to the severity of a bath salts addiction, rehab treatment centers should be sought before quitting this powerful drug. Without using, withdrawal symptoms could occur. These include intense cravings, anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate, amnesia, confusion, violent behavior, nightmares and memory fog. Sometimes, a person can be so hooked on the drug that a bath salts detoxification rehab will be necessary.

Getting Treatment for a Bath Salt Addiction

Bath salts are nothing to mess around with. Many people say this drug is currently the most powerful and scary intoxicant available. It is both addictive and extremely hard to stop using. Often, a bath salt user will spiral down into an extreme state before realizing what has happened. A majority of people will need to spend a lengthy amount of time at a private rehab facility who is equipped to handle a bath salts addiction. This time will vary, but 30-120 days is ideal.

If you or someone you know has an addiction to bath salts, consider getting treatment at a private rehab center in Thailand. Here, privacy is respected and the individual will be able to focus completely on the program. The Serenity Rehab Thailand center is ready to help you or a loved one overcome the addiction to bath salts. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is a substance which is a widely acceptable legal drug. It’s part of many cultures, and most people have a vague idea of what it is at an early age. Alcohol is included in social gatherings, celebrations and religious ceremonies. However, drinking too much overtime can have a detrimental effect on the body and life as a whole. Alcohol affects each person differently, and majority of people know the consequences of alcohol addiction. However, some are unable to control their intake and will develop an addiction.

The Serious Effects of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is a substance which is a widely acceptable legal drug. It’s part of many cultures, and most people have a vague idea of what it is at an early age. Alcohol is included in social gatherings, celebrations and religious ceremonies. However, drinking too much overtime can have a detrimental effect on the body and life as a whole. Alcohol affects each person differently, and majority of people know the consequences of alcohol addiction. However, some are unable to control their intake and will develop an addiction.

In Thailand, Russia, Brazil, The U.K. and U.S.A, alcohol addictions are affecting millions. One glass of wine, cocktail or beer becomes two and then another and another. With regular use, drinking alcohol excessively can cause a number of aliments, some of which are fatal. By recognizing these potential ramifications, you will be able to make smart choices when it comes to drinking; more importantly be able to recognize whether or not alcohol abuse is affecting someone you know.

How Alcohol Abuse Affects the Brain

Alcohol is broken down by the liver and then spread throughout the rest of the body and brain. GABA neurotransmitters will initially produce sensations of relaxation, but with heavy alcohol consumption, the transmitters’ suppress these feelings. With prolonged use a tolerance builds and the same amount required to feel “good” will be more. While a tolerance is developing, other neurotransmitters, responsible for feelings of excitement, will be suppressed. To feel the excitement, this area of the brain will have to work extra hard compared to people who drink little to no alcohol.

Quitting alcohol without the help of a treatment center can be dangerous, even deadly. When an alcoholic does so, these neurotransmitters are immediately no longer suppressed. The brain becomes overexcited and the effects of alcohol withdrawal syndrome take hold. Fear, anxiety, agitation, anger, tremors, hot sweats, seizures, cardiac arrest and even death could occur.

In general, person who abuses alcohol could experience speech problems, impaired memory, inability to make decisions and even difficulty with movement. These are a result of frontal lobe shrinkage within the brain.

Without seeking the guidance of an alcohol rehab center, alcohol use can lead to permanent brain damage. The brain shrinks and cells that store information begin to break down. Wernicke-Korsakoff, a condition where an addict experiences extreme mental confusion and lack of coordination, can result.

The Physical Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can cause serious physical harm to the body. Unfortunately, often when these symptoms appear, the alcoholism will be in the late stages. Many of these complications are permanent or will take many years of alcohol addiction treatment and rehabilitation before normal function is restored. Waiting for physical effects to appear is not a good idea. Some serious effects of alcohol abuse include; swelling of the skin, gastrointestinal disorders, acute and chronic pancreatitis, liver damage and/or failure, cardiovascular and respiratory issues, muscular skeletal pain and brain damage.

The Psychological Effects of Alcohol Abuse

The psychological effects of misusing alcohol are no less than the aforementioned physical effects. Short term effects which can worsen with alcohol abuse include an increase in agitation, anger and violence, mood swings, depression, self wallowing, anxiety and in extreme cases, suicide.

Many of the psychological effects also stem from hepatic encephalopathy. This is a type of damage to the liver in which toxins can no longer be removed from the blood. As a result, brain functioning is slowed. This can cause psychiatric conditions, sleeping disorders, panic disorders, delusions and detrimental cognitive effects.

Alcohol Addiction and Abuse is More Prevalent in Mental Health People

A great deal of research suggests alcohol abuse is more common amongst people who have mental health issues (pre-diagnosed or undiagnosed aliments like depression, bipolar, PTSD and psychosis). This could be in relation to a large majority of addicts drinking to ease feelings which are difficult to cope with. Like self-medication, alcohol becomes the go to option to mask these unwanted feelings. Unfortunately, the disguise does not last long and more often than not, the mental health issue becomes greater.

Withdrawing on Alcohol

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome, otherwise known as AWS, is a serious matter in which an alcoholic experiences a number of unpleasant symptoms stemming from their last drink (or lack of). An abuser may feel nauseous, shaking, tremors, cold sweats, high body temperature, high blood pressure, mild anxiety and fatigue. More intense symptoms could include hallucinations, seizures, heart failure, stroke, coma and death.

Getting Help for an Alcohol Addiction

In the case of alcohol abuse or addiction, it is crucial to seek out help at a treatment center. Residential, private alcohol rehabs are the most effective way to treat an addiction. With 24/7 support, constant guidance and tailored programs, these facilities will help a person to overcome inner conflicts, outside issues and restore their body and mind.

 

Physical and Psychological Effects of Solvents and Aerosols

Physical and Psychological Effects of Solvents and Aerosols

Solvents and aerosols, also known as inhalants, are (typically) legal store bought products which are intended for cleaning, beauty care or household repair/improvements. Although they were never created for getting high, a small percentage of people misuse them (also known as huffing). These “drugs” have a detrimental impact on the brain and cognitive functioning. While they are often abused by adolescents and children on the streets, it is not uncommon for an adult to use solvents or aerosols; especially when they are unable to access their preferred drug of choice.

Physical and Psychological Effects of Solvents and Aerosols

Physical and Psychological Effects of Solvents and Aerosols

Solvents and aerosols, also known as inhalants, are (typically) legal store bought products which are intended for cleaning, beauty care or household repair/improvements. Although they were never created for getting high, a small percentage of people misuse them (also known as huffing). These “drugs” have a detrimental impact on the brain and cognitive functioning. While they are often abused by adolescents and children on the streets, it is not uncommon for an adult to use solvents or aerosols; especially when they are unable to access their preferred drug of choice.

What are solvents and aerosols?

Hundreds of different solvents and aerosols produce intoxicating effects. Each of these carries different physical and psychological effects as well as, consequences. That said there is still no safe level of misusing. Four different categories for inhalant products exist; these are:

Solvents: Liquid or semi-liquid products which vaporize when left opened at room temperature. Their fumes are what produce the high. Some examples may include gasoline, glue, nail or shoe polish and paint thinner.

Aerosols: These are typically solvents mixed with propellant gas and stored in a bottle under pressure. Examples include spray paint, certain hair sprays, deodorant and air freshener.

Gases: These include medical grade anesthetics like nitrous oxide and ether as well as, household gases found in fire extinguishers.

Nitrates: This category is slightly different in that they don’t suppress the central nervous system. Rather, they act more like muscle relaxants and dilate blood vessels. Examples include “amyl, butyl and isobutyl nitrite (together known as alkyl nitrites or poppers)”. For the sake of our readers, this article will focus on the solvents and aerosols.

Immediate Effects after Using Solvents or Aerosols

In general, an inhalant abuser will use any substance they can get their hands on. However, there are people who have a “favorite” solvent or aerosol which they will go out of their way for. In Texas, the preferred inhalant is a local shoe shining spray.

The immediate effects of inhalants are similar to that of alcohol intoxication. However, they are significantly more rapid. The initial high decreases shortly after use and is followed by agitation, lightheadedness, lack of inhibition, confusion and drowsiness. With large or excessive amounts of inhalants, numbness, loss of sensations in the body and unconsciousness can occur.

Short Term Effects Associated with Huffing

When solvents or aerosols are abused, the user could experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, inability to move and difficulty breathing. They may also feel apathetic, have trouble making wise judgments and struggle to function in social situations. Higher doses can lead to days of confusion, delirium and hallucinations.

There are reports of accidental deaths occurring from huffing in unsafe environments such as on a rooftop or near water. Moreover, persistent huffing can cause unconsciousness and could lead to death from choking on vomit. When a bag is used repeatedly, there are risks of suffocation due to a lack of oxygen. Without seeking the help of a solvent or aerosol addiction rehab, these consequences will dramatically increase and lead to long term effects.

Long Term Psychological and Physical Effects

Unfortunately, there is a lack of research when it comes to long term implications related to huffing solvents or aerosols. What is known is that long term abuse can damage muscle tissue, the liver and kidneys. Due to strenuous activity on the heart, this vital organ can shut down causing heart failure and death. With years of huffing abuse, permanent brain damage may occur. This is especially in regards to how the brain controls movement and thought functioning. Depression, lack of emotions and feelings of suicide can result.

It’s important to note that many aerosols and solvents contain other harmful chemicals which, although may not produce a high, can cause serious health effects. These range from carbon monoxide poisoning, lead poisoning, bone marrow suppression, burns to the skin and cellular death.

Dependence, Addiction and Withdrawal

With regular huffing abuse, a tolerance can build in just a few weeks. The user will need to use more to achieve the same desired effects. However, within a few days of stopping, the tolerance will decrease. The evidence of aerosol and solvent addiction is limited, but it is generally accepted that it can occur. The real concern with huffing solvents and aerosols is the issue in which a user has a high probability of turning to stronger drugs like heroin. Alternatively, due to clouded thoughts and actions, there is a strong potential for engaging in risky behavior such as unprotected sex, prostitution and illegal activity.

Withdrawal happens when regular huffing has been discontinued. Symptoms could include shaking, sweating, headaches, muscle aches, dizziness, nausea, emotional upheavals, depression and agitation.

Overcoming Addiction at an Inhalant Rehab Center

When a person is addicted to inhalants, a rehab treatment program should be considered. This is primarily because people who have chronically abused solvents and aerosols may have a variety of social and psychological problems which can be effectively addressed in a residential rehab setting.

At Serenity Thailand Rehab, our integrated team of professional addiction specialists knows the impact of inhalant abuse and other drugs. They possess a comprehensive understanding of physical, psychological and medical conditions which have not only affected a person during their use, but also those that may have contributed to the dependence.

If you or someone you know has an addiction to inhalants and would like to seek the help of a private rehab center in Thailand, please contact Serenity Rehab in Thailand today.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Mackay

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Mackay

Set in one of Queensland’s most idyllic locations, the town of Mackay has a sinister side with regards to drugs and alcohol. With incidents such as illegal drug trafficking and drink driving, the town has some pretty serious cases stemming from the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Being a smaller town too, there aren’t many facilities tailored to the rehabilitation of those suffering from addiction either.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Mackay

Set in one of Queensland’s most idyllic locations, the town of Mackay has a sinister side with regards to drugs and alcohol. With incidents such as illegal drug trafficking and drink driving, the town has some pretty serious cases stemming from the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Being a smaller town too, there aren’t many facilities tailored to the rehabilitation of those suffering from addiction either.

Drug Use in Mackay and Surrounds

When it comes to drugs, Mackay has seen it all. Most of these incidents have been reported in the Daily Mercury. For instance, there was a 24 year old mother of two charged with the trafficking of methamphetamines and cannabis who accepted boxes of pseudoephedrine as payment. She was arrested twice for dealing illicit substances.

In a second incident, Mackay police intercepted a vehicle travelling through the city. A drug thought to be methamphetamines was found along with a range of drug-making paraphernalia. Two people were charged with possession and trafficking. In a third incident, police raided a Mackay sex shop where a bikie gang was selling synthetic cannabis and distributing MDMA in the Mackay area.

Another incident involved a driver on methamphetamines who drove the wrong way down on Malcomson St. in Mackay and collided with a scooter. The rider was seriously injured and the driver was sentenced to six months in jail.

Fortunately, local police are determined to step up their game. The>Mackay Road Policing Unit told the Daily Mercury they had detected 78 drug-related offences from January until August 2015, an increase from 2014. The police said they would focus on drug driving by ramping up their roadside testing.

Alcohol and the Mackay Population

There have been some major incidents caused by the excessive use of alcohol in Mackay. One case in the Daily Mercury involved a woman crossing into the wrong lane of the nearby Bruce Highway and crashing into a local motorcyclist. She was more than 3.5 times over the legal alcohol limit and was found with a half-filled schooner of wine in the vehicle’s cup holder.

A more serious case involved a ute colliding with a car on Yakapari-Seaforth Road. The Daily Mercury reported that the driver of the ute was found with a BAC reading of 0.03%. He was driving on the wrong side of the road when the ute struck the side of the car. The passenger of the car passed away while the driver was on the phone to 000.

Of course, these incidents have caused concern amongst the local population. The ABC News wrote about the One Punch One Kill Campaign which complained that the Mackay council was going to extend pub opening hours. On a more positive note, the Queensland government launched a crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence with its Safe Night Precinct concept. With a decrease in the number of attacks, the campaign was hoped to further improve safety around the town.

Local Rehab Options in Mackay

There are only two government-funded rehabilitation alternatives for those in Mackay suffering from addiction. The first is the Drug & Alcohol Residential Recovery Service run by Ozcare. This is a program that addresses issues related to addiction. It is open to those who have stopped taking drugs and alcohol. Individual counselling, group activities and practical living advice are offered.

The second option is the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Service. This offers prevention, intervention and treatment to those suffering from addiction in Mackay. Services include drug withdrawal management, an opioid substitution program, a needle and syringe program and prevention & health promotion. There are also drug diversion programs offered through local courts and police.

Alternatives for Mackay Residents

With these limited options, locals may need to seek help elsewhere. Rather than visiting Brisbane where treatment can be expensive there are also centres around South East Asia that can help. Something to take note of is many Australian’s can use their superannuation to cover the costs of treatment.

There is also the issue of confidentiality which is important in small towns like Mackay where news travels fast. By booking into an overseas clinic, you can get treated for your addiction without fear of social stigma.

Effects of Black Tar Heroin

Effects of Black Tar Heroin

There is a growing phenomenon of black tar heroin use all over the globe. Part of this may be related to the sluggish economy and “affordability” which this drug has to offer. In Mexico, black tar heroin is the go-to choice for users. Over the years, this highly addictive substance has hit the streets of the West Coast, USA as well as, New York City and Miami. As time passes, black tar heroin is popping up in cities across Europe and even Asia.

Effects of Black Tar Heroin

The Effects of Black Tar Heroin

There is a growing phenomenon of black tar heroin use all over the globe. Part of this may be related to the sluggish economy and “affordability” which this drug has to offer. In Mexico, black tar heroin is the go-to choice for users. Over the years, this highly addictive substance has hit the streets of the West Coast, USA as well as, New York City and Miami. As time passes, black tar heroin is popping up in cities across Europe and even Asia.

How Black Tar Heroin Made its Way onto the Streets

Black tar heroin has been around for over a century. It was first used as a medicine, but quickly doctors strayed away from any potential benefits as there was none to be found. By the late 70’s, cartels were manufacturing the drug because it was cheaper than cocaine and there was more “market potential”. Black tar was first to take hold of addicts on the streets of Mexico and South America. But, quickly the drug was being brought across borders and into the US.

When compared to the price of heroin or prescription painkillers, black tar is considerably cheaper. The United States Department of Justice states that “abusers could maintain their addiction with two grams of heroin daily, at a cost of one-third to one-half of prescription opioids, depending on the area of the country and the purity of that heroin.”

What is Black Tar Heroin and how is it Used?

Black tar heroin is processed differently from the white or yellow powdered form. Unlike the traditional heroin powder, black tar looks like a gooey-tar like substance; hence the name. According to the NIDA black tar heroin is “sticky like roofing tar or hard like coal and is predominantly produced in Mexico and sold in U.S.” The color is often black, but can also be dark brown. This color comes from the harsh processing method.

The drug is dissolved and injected in the veins or muscles of the user. Although intravenous injection is the most popular method, it can also be mixed with lactose and ground into a powder to be snorted. Other less common methods of use include dissolving it in water and then snorting it, smoking it over foil or as a suppository up the rectum.

Growing Concerns of Dirty Batches

In the 70’s big drug cartels were adding a variety of chemicals to process the drug, and although less chemicals are generally added nowadays, black tar heroin has very little heroin in it (between 25 and 35%); this is the core reason it is so cheap. Because of the impurities found in black tar heroin, overdoses and deaths frequently occur from a “dirty batch”. Moreover, and less discussed, is the issue in which addicts are not only becoming addicted to the black tar heroin, but the other chemicals which are added or cut with . These include antidepressants, oxycodone, fentynal and cleaning agents.

How Black Tar Heroin Affects the Individual

Black tar heroin causes an extreme, almost instantaneous, rush. In some cases, an individual will feel the effects before they can take the needle out of their arm. Known as the “rush”, the skin becomes flush and the entire body will feel heavy. The user may have dry mouth and droopy eyes. They may experience nausea, vomiting or intense itching.

The rush ends within 1 hour and drowsiness will kick in. This part of using is known as the “nods”. Mental and physical functioning is minimal and disorientating. The pulse decreases and breathing slows. Sometimes a users’ heart can become so slow that it can stop and cause the individual to go into cardiac arrest. Eventually, the desirable effects become so needed that if not met, the person will have cravings and even withdrawal. This never ending circle is known as chasing the dragon.

The Health Risks of Black Tar Heroin Abuse

There is a multitude of health risks associated with black tar heroin abuse. Apart from the standard health effects of heroin, such as organ damage, memory loss, constipation and heart disease, black tar heroin has special conditions unique to its abuse. It is these that make an addiction to black tar heroin so dangerous.

Users are at risk for developing sclerosis (hardening of the veins). This not only causes problems with injecting the drug, but also leads to debilitating circulation. Malnutrition, bacterial infections, tetanus, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, STD’s and cognitive problems (many of which can be fatal) are also prevalent.

Withdrawing from a Black Tar Heroin Addiction

Chronic abuse of black tar heroin will lead to an addiction or dependence of the drug. When the user stops, they will go through a severe withdrawal. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramping, muscle aches, irritability, cold sweats and seizures.

Getting Help for a Black Tar Heroin Addiction

A person who has an addiction to black tar heroin will likely fall deeper into their use, become more isolated and continue in the cycle of abusing. It’s often up to family and friends to get the user the assistance they need. A rehab for black tar heroin can help a person to turn their life around for the better. At Serenity Rehab Center, our team is ready to give you or a loved one the support needed to overcome the addiction to black tar heroin. Rehab programs are specifically designed to treat the individuals’ own needs. This customization will allow the person to start to heal from the inside out, physically, emotionally and mentally.

If you or someone you know needs a rehab for black tar heroin addiction, please contact us today to find out what we can do for you.

The Effects of an Addiction to Oxycodone

The Effects of an Addiction to Oxycodone

Millions of people from all over the globe abuse oxycodone. In general, using will start from a prescription legally given by a doctor to ease pain from injuries or surgery. As a tolerance builds up, so too does the desire for more. Quite rapidly, this turns into a full on addiction which can wreck havoc in a person’s life.

The Effects of an Addiction to Oxycodone

The Effects of an Addiction to Oxycodone

Millions of people from all over the globe abuse oxycodone. In general, using will start from a prescription legally given by a doctor to ease pain from injuries or surgery. As a tolerance builds up, so too does the desire for more. Quite rapidly, this turns into a full on addiction which can wreck havoc in a person’s life.

As the strong painkiller becomes the preferable opioid in North America as well as Europe, the rise in overdoses, deaths and addiction is increasing. Just because this medicine is legal, it comes with a high rate of dependency; therefore it is crucial to understand what the effects of oxycodone abuse are and the treatment options available.

What is oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a painkiller which has been derived from morphine. As an opioid analgesic, it alters the way the brain responds to pain. However, it does not carry any anesthetic like effects. It is often in a tablet form and can be mixed with acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen. Depending on which medications are included with the oxycodone will depend on the actual variant. This medication also comes in a concentrated liquid form. As prescribed, it should be taken orally and only between strict periods of time (often 5-24 hours between every gap). When abused, it is not only swallowed, but also crushed and snorted or injected.

Street names for the drug continuously change and will vary depending on the given area. Currently, other names for oxycodone include oxy, oxy’s, cotton, oxy 80s, roxys or hillbilly heroin.

The primary reason for oxycodone abuse

People abuse a drug for their own personal reason; however, oxycodone may be the preferred choice specifically because of the easy availability. Doctor shopping is quite commonly implemented by users. In this case, the individual will go from doctor to doctor getting a new prescription each time. On the street, the drug is more affordable for addicts, hence why it is not uncommon for a heroin user to switch to oxy’s. In 2013, 81% of the worlds oxycodone prescriptions were handed out by doctors in the United States. The total number of prescriptions is not small and is estimated to be over 100 million.

The Physical and Psychological Effects of Abusing Oxys

Although meant to alleviate pain, some abusers of the drug may prefer it for its euphoric like effects. Overtime, as a person seeks out these sensations more and more, they will develop a tolerance. Addiction will follow. Once at this stage, the effects of an oxycodone addiction take hold. Typically, these are detrimental to the person as well as those around them. The signs and symptoms of an oxycodone addiction may vary; however some may include:

Physical symptoms:

  • Drowsiness/Sedation
  • Persistent itching
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing
  • Dry mouth
  • Cold sweating
  • Constricted pupils *overdose may cause dilated pupils

Psychological symptoms:

  • Euphoria followed by:
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Depression

Additional health problems can arise when oxycodone is taken with another opiate or medication which suppresses respiration. These include benzodiazepines and alcohol. The risk of overdosing, cardiac arrest or death is substantially high. When the drug is injected, infection and spreadable diseases like hepatitis and HIV can occur.

Through prolonged use, an abuser who has not sought the treatment of an oxycodone rehab could experience a severely damaged immune system, insomnia, sleep apnea, mood swings and respiratory or heart disorders. Job loss, school failure, financial woes, legal troubles or breakdown of relationships can also be a result of oxycodone abuse.

Addiction and Withdrawal

When oxycodone is used illicitly, the risks of addiction increase. This is very similar to alcohol and heroin because like the aforementioned, levels of dopamine increase in the brain. With prolonged use, the neurotransmitters are altered and the individual feels as if they cannot quit on their own and need the drug to “survive”. When a rehab program for oxycodone is sought, the individual will go through unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These include nausea, anxiety, muscle aches, cold sweats, anger, depression and apathy.

Reaching out to an Oxycodone Rehab for Help

Sometimes counselling or outpatient rehabs are not enough to treat an addiction to oxycodone. The psychological and physical effects of oxycodone can be so intense that an inpatient rehab will be the most ideal in order to reach successful recovery. Support and guided attention will be provided 24/7 and will relieve any daily pressures which an individual often experiences. Therapy, counselling, consultations, evaluations and activity are all part of oxycodone addition programs.

Siam Rehab Center is an intensive, comprehensive program which utilizes the most up-to-date treatment methods. We don’t just treat the symptoms of the addiction, but rather focus on the core reasons for using. In the case an oxycodone addiction, this could be chronic pain, depression, boredom, mental health disorders or a combination of issues. Our professional staff will help each person to work through these obstacles and regain a balanced life. Through this we are able to treat the whole person, body and mind.

If you or someone you care about has an addiction to oxycodone and would like the support of a private rehab in Thailand, contact us today.

Effects of Marijuana Concentrates

Effects of Marijuana Concentrates

Marijuana concentrate has become its own culture. As a growing trend, especially for young people, it is no surprise to hear that it is often the preferred variant of THC intoxication. Concentrates are primarily found in the USA, especially in states which have medical or legalized marijuana. However, abuse and addiction is still a very real threat. Moreover, the risks of smoking concentrated THC go beyond any potential health effect which those in favor of the drug may believe.

Effects of Marijuana Concentrates

The Effects of Marijuana Concentrates and Their Abuse

Marijuana concentrate has become its own culture. As a growing trend, especially for young people, it is no surprise to hear that it is often the preferred variant of THC intoxication. Concentrates are primarily found in the USA, especially in states which have medical or legalized marijuana. However, abuse and addiction is still a very real threat. Moreover, the risks of smoking concentrated THC go beyond any potential health effect which those in favor of the drug may believe.

What is Marijuana Concentrate?

Marijuana concentrate is an extremely potent extract of THC or marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabidiol. It is thick, sticky or gummy and in a brown to green color. (Think about candle wax being melted onto paper and left to dry.) The drug is said to be like smoking 4 -5 joints of medical grade marijuana. “This is pot on steroids,” said Kevin Winslow, director of the Quad-City Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG), in an interview with Healthline.

When smoked, the high is almost instantaneous and can last for several hours. Smoking can involve a bong, pipe or electronic cigarettes. The later is one of the most emerging ways in which the concentrates are abused; this is because there is no taste or odor. Other ways a person may use the drug include adding it to food items or beverages.

Alternative Terms for Marijuana Concentrate

Alternative or slang terms change on a regular basis and vary regionally across the globe. The DEA suggests the most current terms for THC concentrate include 710 (“OIL” upside down and spelled backwards), ear wax, honey oil, honey wax, BHO, shatter, black glass, errl and most recently dabs or dabbing.

Psychological and Physical Effects of Concentrates

Shatter or THC concentrates stimulate the same areas within the brain which heroin, cocaine and alcohol reaches. The effects of standard marijuana vary from those related to using THC concentrates. Moreover, depending on how it is used will depend on the psychological and physical effects of marijuana and shatter use.

Euphoria is often the most common effect, followed by relaxation and a heightened sense of perception. Some individuals may feel an increase in appetite and others may feel very drowsy or sleepy. The actual impact significantly changes with each user, how often the use and the strength of the drug.

While this may seem like no big deal, using THC concentrates can produce additional physical and psychological effects. According to the NIH

These include:

• Paranoia • Delirium • Anxiety • Panic/Fear • Delusions/ Hallucinations • Increase in blood pressure • Blood shot eyes • Weight gain • Lung and/or throat infections

In addition to the above, there is new evidence which shows that people who have a history of schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, bipolar disorder or psychosis may be at a greater risk of experiencing a breakdown or mental health episode.

Another risk of using such high concentrates of THC is the mixing of other drugs. It is not uncommon for users to consume alcohol, cocaine or prescription medications along with the concentrate. When combined, the effects can become increasingly stronger and could include slowed breathing, cardiac arrest, impaired motor skills and injury.

Coming down from shatter or dabs can cause an individual to feel exhausted, moody or depressed. It can also begin to heighten agitation, insomnia and irritability. These feelings can be especially observed when a frequent abuser of marijuana concentrates has not used and is going through a withdrawal.

Potential Dangers of Abusing Marijuana Concentrates

Since the advent of medical marijuana and legalization, the demand for stronger variants has been on the rise. This has led organizations like the Mexican Cartel to put their efforts back into opium and black tar heroin because they cannot keep up with the growers in the US. The primary issue with marijuana concentration is the strength and potency of the drug; which far exceeds dried buds. Standard marijuana has about 10-15% THC while concentrations can be between 80-90% THC when dabbing. This is a huge increase and one of the core reasons there is such a growing concern over its use.

Dabs have also received negative attention due to possible dangers associated with making the BHO. The process involves butane gas which is used to extract the THC. This is then heated at a high temperature to evaporate the butane leaving the thick concentrate of THC. The process is not easy and can be fumbled by novice beginners. Risks include toxic chemicals being inhaled as well as building up in a closed environment (bedroom, closet, garage, etc.). These vapors could cause fires, small explosions and injury.

Dabbing allows the abuser to absorb more THC in a shorter amount of time. The effects within the body will be amplified; so too is the developing of a tolerance as well as the withdrawal symptoms. The amount of THC used can also cause profuse negative reactions, especially compared to traditional marijuana use (smoking the plant). A frequent user of shatter (often with a mental health issue) could have paranoia, anxiety, dizziness and delusions.

Exposure to Contaminants

Dabs, especially when coming from areas which are not regulated, could be contaminated with a variety of chemicals or even solvents. Although concentrates should contain little to no butane, if low-grade or recycled butane was indeed used, impurities could be left in the drug. Consider the potential for pesticides or herbicides used to grow the plant and the individual could face a number of associated health aliments.

Is Addiction to THC Concentrates Real?

Yes. This is a drug and while there are people (cancer, Parkinson’s etc. patients) who may benefit from small amounts, there are a number of people who abuse it. Moreover, those who are using it to escape a trauma like PTSD or depression will often become dependent on getting high rather than treat the underlying problem. Eventually, and in any case, a tolerance will build. The person will need to use more to relieve the problem (if any). When they stop, their problems will come back and oftentimes, it’s worse.

With Marijuana, there is a risk of addiction especially after a tolerance has been formed. When the drug wears off and is not re-used, a person could go through withdrawal. Although not as intense as a heroin or cocaine withdrawal, THC concentrate withdrawal can cause irritability, depression, anger, doubt or fear. It could also cause nausea, vomiting and a decrease in appetite. For many, this is very unpleasant. Keep in mind that all of these feelings increase when there are underlying issues involved (which is often the case).

If you or someone you know is getting into trouble (legal, school, work, family) because of using marijuana concentrates and/or feels stopping is impossible, there is a degree of substance abuse or addiction involved.

For many users, the idea of quitting and getting help for a THC concentrate addiction is scary. What’s important to understand is there are centers with caring, professional staff that can help someone overcome this addiction and begin to heal from the inside out.

Those with an addiction to shatter or dabbing should feel comforted in knowing that recovery is possible. The physical withdrawal and cravings are not as severe as other substances. Often those partaking in a marijuana concentrate rehabilitation program find the psychological addiction is the biggest challenge. Even more so are the people who have mental health issues like depression, PTSD and anxiety. This is when the THC concentration rehab facility is vital. These rehab programs can help people to work through problems, find healthier ways to cope with mental illness and discover alternatives to using drugs.

If you or someone you know has an addiction to THC concentrates and would like to seek the expertise of a rehab program, please contact our Chiang Rai Thailand Rehab Center.

Drug And Alcohol Rehab Launceston

Drug And Alcohol Rehab Launceston

The North Tasmanian town of Launceston seems to attract a great deal of drug dealers with trafficking stories being reported frequently over the past few years. With regards to heavy drinking, there doesn’t seem to be too much going on although there have been a couple of alcohol-related incidents in the news. Despite being a small town, the local police seem to be doing a great job at enforcing anti-drug and alcohol laws. There is however a lack of rehab facilities available for those who need help with addiction or substance abuse.

Drug And Alcohol Rehab Launceston

The North Tasmanian town of Launceston seems to attract a great deal of drug dealers with trafficking stories being reported frequently over the past few years. With regards to heavy drinking, there doesn’t seem to be too much going on although there have been a couple of alcohol-related incidents in the news. Despite being a small town, the local police seem to be doing a great job at enforcing anti-drug and alcohol laws. There is however a lack of rehab facilities available for those who need help with addiction or substance abuse.

Drugs in the Launceston Area

One defining factor of Launceston in the news is that there have been plenty of major drug seizures occurring in this rural town over the past few years. The Examinerwrote of a bust in July 2018 where more than $500,000 of ice, ecstasy, heroin and cannabis were confiscated from a number of local homes.

In another story, ABC News wrote that $200,000 worth of speed, $130,000 in cash and a handgun were found in a Launceston hotel room. This happened in June 2014 and four men were arrested. In December 2014, there was another bust with The Advocate writing about a man arrested for the possession of over $570,000 worth of drugs. More than 650 grams of ice were seized along with morphine and some prescription drugs.

In one final case, ABC News wrote of a woman arrested trying to traffic more than $500,000 worth of ice through Launceston Airport in October 2014. She was stopped on arrival with over half a kilogram of the drug strapped to her body.

Alcohol Consumption in Launceston

Harmful incidents related to alcohol in Launceston are less frequent then those related to drugs. Nonetheless, there have been a few awful occurrences where people got hurt or died. The ABC News wrote of one case where a 71 year old lost control of his Porsche while turning a bend outside of the city. His car slammed into a tree, killing him instantly. He had a BAC reading of 0.012 at the time.

Another drink driving case involved a Launceston male colliding with a pickup truck. The woman driver of the utility vehicle was killed after the impact. ABC News wrote that the man was charged with manslaughter, driving without headlights and speeding, all of which he denied. He admitted to driving while intoxicated and evading the police however.

Additionally, the ABC News wrote about four men who got into a brawl at the Mowbray Hotel in Launceston. Two of them were charged with causing grievous bodily harm and assault. One of the victims later died in hospital from his injuries. The judge was quoted as saying that alcohol was involved in the incident

Public Rehab Choices in Launceston

As it is a smaller town, Launceston doesn’t have a wide choice of government-funded treatment facilities for those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. The only option is the Alcohol and Drug Service (ADS) found on Mulgrave Street next to Launceston General Hospital. Patients can get a variety of support including inpatient withdrawal management, an opioid pharmacotherapy program, a psychosocial interventions program and more.

With regards to the other rehab alternatives in the region, some of these are lacking funding with several having to close in the past. The ABC News reported that most addicts stay in the acute wards and beds at Launceston general, a move which puts further stress on the already full hospital including elective surgery and emergency admissions.

Alternative Support for Launceston Locals

With limited options, it’s not unusual for those dependent on drugs or alcohol to seek assistance outside of Launceston. There are many private centres around Australia, unfortunately many of them are not affordable for the average person.

Fortunately there are also overseas options like the one hosting this article. With all Western counsellors you can get the same or better treatment then at home and with fees that you can afford.