Substance Abuse and Addiction

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    A

    Substance abuse: Drug addiction is typically diagnosed after an evaluation by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a professional addiction counselor. If drug addiction is suspected, the healthcare professional will ask many questions related to their drug use. For instance, if the patient has felt like he/she uses drugs too frequently or if he/she has ever felt guilty about using drugs, it may suggest a drug addiction. Also, if friends or family members have criticized the patient's drug use, or the patient has used drugs first thing in the morning, it may also indicate a drug problem.

    Gambling addiction: For compulsive gambling to be diagnosed, at least five of the following signs and symptoms must be present. 1) The patient is preoccupied with gambling. For instance, the individual may be constantly thinking about ways or places to gamble. 2) The patient has tried to stop or limit his/her gambling behaviors without success. 3) The patient needs more and more money to become excited about gambling. 4) The patient continues gambling in an effort to win back lost money. 5) When the patient tries to limit his/her gambling, he/she feels irritable. 6) Gambling is used as a way to escape or temporarily forget problems. 7) The patient lies to friends, family members, and/or loved ones about his/her gambling problem. 8) The patient commits crimes, such as theft or fraud, to get more gambling money. 9) The patient asks others for financial help when they run out of money. 10) The patient risks an important relationship or career or educational career because of their gambling addiction.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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    A
    If you have bipolar disorder and a substance use disorder, you are more likely to have:
    • poor adherence with treatment
    • more frequent and severe depressed, manic, or hypomanic episodes
    • longer episodes
    • more mixed state episodes and rapid cycling (which are hardest to treat)
    • more sleep impairment
    • more aggression and impulsivity
    • more frequent suicide attempts
    • more suicidal thoughts and feelings
    • more anxiety (generalized anxiety, panic or post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD])
    • greater likelihood of infections (e.g., hepatitis C)
    • greater complications from medical conditions (especially hepatitis C)
    • more hospitalizations
  • 1 Answer
    A
    Sometimes the effects of drugs and alcohol can mimic the symptoms of the manic or depressive episodes of bipolar disorder. Other times, when a teenager is in the midst of a manic or depressive episode, they may be more likely to experiment with or use drugs or alcohol, adding yet another layer to the difficulty in accurately diagnosing bipolar disorder in adolescents as well as young adults. One thing is very clear. The use of any illicit drugs and alcohol in the presence of bipolar disorder must be completely prohibited. Not only do they complicate the diagnostic picture, but their use is like adding "fuel to the fire" of a brain already impaired by a severe illness, and will undoubtedly worsen the symptoms and outcome of the illness.
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    Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine is a B-vitamin that may decrease problems associated with acute alcohol withdrawal. Patients with chronic alcoholism or experiencing alcohol withdrawal are at risk of thiamine deficiency and its associated complications.

    Thiamin is generally considered safe and relatively nontoxic. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to thiamin. Rare hypersensitivity/allergic reactions have occurred with thiamin supplementation. Skin irritation, burning, or itching may rarely occur at injection sites. Large doses may cause drowsiness or muscle relaxation. Use cautiously if pregnant or breastfeeding.

    Yoga: Preliminary research suggests that yoga may be beneficial when added to standard therapies for the treatment of substance abuse. Additional studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made.

    Yoga is generally considered to be safe in healthy individuals when practiced appropriately. Avoid some inverted poses with disc disease of the spine, fragile or atherosclerotic neck arteries, risk for blood clots, extremely high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, detachment of the retina, ear problems, severe osteoporosis, or cervical spondylitis. Certain yoga breathing techniques should be avoided in people with heart or lung disease. Use cautiously with a history of psychotic disorders. Yoga techniques are believed to be safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding when practiced under the guidance of expert instruction (the popular Lamaze techniques are based on yogic breathing). However, poses that put pressure on the uterus, such as abdominal twists, should be avoided in pregnancy.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

  • 1 Answer
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    There is widespread evidence that the use of testosterone and other anabolic steroids may result in irreversible changes in physiology and the body's chemistry. In addition, anabolic steroids have been linked to a number of health conditions. These include liver tumors, cancer, high blood pressure, increases in bad cholesterol (LDL), and kidney tumors. Anabolic steroids also have significant effects on certain groups of people. In men, shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts, and increased risk for prostate cancer have been reported. In women, growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, menstrual irregularity, enlargement of the clitoris and a deepened voice have been reported. In children, prematurely halted growth has been reported.

    The regular use of anabolic steroids often results in extreme psychiatric side effects. Regular users may experience extreme irritability, delusions, paranoia, unabated jealousy, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility. In this way, the user poses a significant risk to not only him or her self, but also to the friends, family, and community who may encounter the addict in such a state.

    Individuals who share needles to inject steroids may be at risk for sharing and/or spreading serious diseases, including hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.

    Individuals who purchase smuggled, homemade, or illegally obtained steroids take the significant risk of purchasing tainted products, which could result in serious illness, injury, or death.

    Most prohormones have not been thoroughly studied, and the long-term effects of their use are not known.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has censured some herbal companies for selling anabolic steroids as dietary supplements. Consumers should be aware of these products, as they carry the same high risk for adverse effects as illegally taken steroids.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

  • 1 Answer
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    General: Risk reduction programs may help prevent individuals who are predisposed to addictions from becoming dependent on drugs or gambling. These programs have trained counselors and advisors who teach skills to help individuals avoid unwanted consequences related to drugs or gambling.

    Substance abuse: Having knowledge about drug abuse is the key to preventing drug addictions.

    Individuals who feel depressed, suffer from psychological disorders, or were abused should seek help. Treating such conditions promptly reduces the chances that the patient will self-medicate with drugs.

    Individuals who are recovering from drug addictions should avoid the temptation to use drugs. Individuals should not spend time with others who are using drugs or expose themselves to environments where drugs are present.

    Individuals who use intravenous drugs (such as heroin) should not share needles with others. Sharing needles increases the risk of transmitting or acquiring infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis.

    Gambling addiction: There is currently no known method to prevent gambling addictions. However, individuals may decrease their risks of developing gambling problems by limiting the amount of time they spend gambling.

    It is also important to seek help as soon as a problem is identified. This may help prevent the addiction from worsening.

    Individuals who have gambling addictions should avoid temptations to gamble. Recovering compulsive gamblers who suddenly feel the urge to gamble should talk to their healthcare providers to prevent a relapse from occurring.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

  • 1 Answer
    A

    Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine is a B-vitamin that may decrease problems associated with acute alcohol withdrawal. Patients with chronic alcoholism or experiencing alcohol withdrawal are at risk of thiamine deficiency and its associated complications.

    Thiamin is generally considered safe and relatively nontoxic. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to thiamin. Rare hypersensitivity/allergic reactions have occurred with thiamin supplementation. Skin irritation, burning, or itching may rarely occur at injection sites. Large doses may cause drowsiness or muscle relaxation. Use cautiously if pregnant or breastfeeding.

    Yoga: Preliminary research suggests that yoga may be beneficial when added to standard therapies for the treatment of substance abuse. Additional studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made.

    Yoga is generally considered to be safe in healthy individuals when practiced appropriately. Avoid some inverted poses with disc disease of the spine, fragile or atherosclerotic neck arteries, risk for blood clots, extremely high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, detachment of the retina, ear problems, severe osteoporosis, or cervical spondylitis. Certain yoga breathing techniques should be avoided in people with heart or lung disease. Use cautiously with a history of psychotic disorders. Yoga techniques are believed to be safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding when practiced under the guidance of expert instruction (the popular Lamaze techniques are based on yogic breathing). However, poses that put pressure on the uterus, such as abdominal twists, should be avoided in pregnancy.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

  • 1 Answer
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    AThomas Jensen, Psychiatry, answered on behalf of International Bipolar Foundation
    In general, drugs of abuse are very destabilizing for people with bipolar disorder. This is true for all drugs of abuse, including Cannabis. Of the two general categories of Cannabis, Cannabis Sativa (the stimulating variety) is far worse than Indica (the sedating variety) though Indica is well known to induce depression with chronic use. Stimulant abuse including cocaine is very destabilizing as is the club drug Ecstasy. Even alcohol can trigger depression. In general, if you have bipolar disorder, it would be best to not use any substances, or at least to limit it to alcohol and not exceed one glass of wine or beer or shot of liquor per hour with a maximum of 2 alcohol containing drinks on any one day.
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    ASheri Van Dijk, Psychiatry, answered
    Illicit drugs and alcohol are known as mood-altering substances because they change your emotional state. You have no control over this change, and it's not always a positive one. The consequences of using substances vary depending on the type of drug, but they can include the following:
    • depression (alcohol is a depressant)
    • anxiety
    • paranoia
    • disinhibition
    Disinhibition leads to impulsive behaviors, such as sexual promiscuity; overexpression of emotions, which may result in aggression; dangerous driving; or other risky actions. Using substances can also impact your mood over a longer term. Having a hangover or crashing from a high usually leaves people feeling irritable, tired, and physically unwell. Some people notice that their mood is affected for days after drinking or using drugs.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    America’s first thought for pain is medication. Some can take it and quit; however, the more people use pain medication, the more they crave to use it, thus increasing tolerance. Secondly, it is easier to justify taking a pill than asking for heroin, which has similar characteristics. Detox symptoms can be so severe that people tend to put off wanting to stop the painkiller medication. Since the drug is prescribed by doctors, we justify that it is okay to use; however, it can create a demon inside of us that we have no idea how to control.