Addiction Solution Source

Club Drugs Damage The Brain

December 11th, 2007 · No Comments

A series of studies at University of Florida over the past five years has shown that using the popular club drug Ecstasy, also called MDMA, and other forms of methamphetamine lead to the same type of brain changes, cell loss and protein fluctuations in the brain that occur after a person endures a sharp blow to the head, according to recent findings.

“Using methamphetamine is like inflicting a traumatic brain injury on yourself,” said Firas Kobeissy, a postdoctoral associate in the College of Medicine department of psychiatry. “We found that a lot of brain cells are being injured by these drugs. That’s alarming to society now. People don’t seem to take club drugs as seriously as drugs such as heroin or cocaine.”

[Read more →]

Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders

Brain Neurotransmitters and Addiction

September 5th, 2007 · No Comments

Electrical signals in the brain are sent using chemicals called neurotransmitters. All addictive drugs affect the production, release, or elimination of neurotransmitters. The major Neurotransmitters implicated in addiction are noted below.

Serotonin

Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) is synthesized from dietary tryptophan and its primary function is regulation of sleep and mood. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with mood disorders such as depression.

Medications called specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac and Zoloft, increase serotonin levels but can be very dangerous. You should consider taking the essential amino acid trytophan instead. Check with a holistic doctor for advice.

Norepinephrine (NE)

NE’s common function is associated with arousal and alertness. It is synthesized from the essential amino acid tyrosine. The levels of NE fluctuate throughout the day and therefore there are periods when we feel more awake and alert, while at other times we are tired and sleepy.

Certain drugs of abuse, such as stimulants or “uppers”, increase alertness and arousal and cause talkativeness, restlessness, and agitation because of their action on NE systems.

Dopamine

Dopamine release gives us the experience of pleasure and therefore causes us to want to repeat the behaviors necessary to acquire the reward in the future.

It’s interesting that amphetamine and cocaine both increase the amount of dopamine. However, cocaine achieves this action by preventing dopamine reuptake, while amphetamine helps to release more dopamine.

So, these drugs with similar effects produce their actions through entirely different processes. In turn, addiction to the two drugs may call for somewhat different types of addiction treatment.

GABA

Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is synthesized from glutamate (an amino acid) and is found in very high concentrations throughout the brain. It is considered an “inhibitory neurotransmitter”. Because GABA has inhibitory effects on neurons, any drug that increases the actions of GABA will decrease general brain activity and can be considered a “downer” or depressant. Depressants include alcohol, sleeping pills such as Ambien, muscle relaxants such as Valium, and barbiturates such as Secobarbital. Some depressants are very powerful and can cause coma or death.

The Most Addictive Drugs

Different drugs have different effects on the neurotransmitters. For instance, cocaine and methamphetamine are much more addicting than THC (marijuana) because they increase dopamine levels more quickly and to a greater extent.

[Read more →]

Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders · Street Drugs

ADHD and Street Drugs

August 7th, 2007 · No Comments

Researchers have generally known that people with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are more likely than others to smoke cigarettes and abuse alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and other street drugs.

In a recent study, a team led by Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, documented decreased dopamine activity in the brains of a group of adults with ADHD. Dopamine is associated with feeling good.

The researchers compared brain scans on 19 adults with ADHD — average age 32 — who had never received medication for the condition to brain scans of 24 healthy adults of a similar age without ADHD.

[Read more →]

Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders · Street Drugs

Drugs, Alcohol and ADD

July 15th, 2007 · No Comments

Drug and alcohol abuse are very common among teenagers and adults with untreated ADD Attention Deficit Disorder. One study by psychiatrist Joseph Biederman and his colleagues at Harvard University indicated that 52 percent of untreated ADD adults abuse drugs or alcohol.

The drugs that they choose to abuse are alcohol and marijuana to settle the internal restlessness they feel, and cocaine and methaphetamines to feel more energetic and focused. Nicotine use (cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco) is much more common in people with ADD, as is the intake of large amounts of caffeine. Nicotine and caffeine are mild stimulants.

[Read more →]

Tags: Alcohol Addiction · Drugs and Brain Disorders · Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana Use Damages The Brain

June 2nd, 2007 · No Comments

Psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, is a pioneer in scans called brain SPECT imaging. SPECT stands for single photon emission computed tomography and measures blood flow and activity patterns in the brain.

It basically tells three things: areas of the brain that work well, areas of the brain that work too hard and areas of the brain that do not work hard enough.

In studies of patients who had smoked marijuana, Dr. Amen found significant changes in brain activity, especially those who were heavy users. Decreased brain activity was found in the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes.

[Read more →]

Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders · Marijuana Addiction

SPECT Brain Scans

May 31st, 2007 · No Comments

Standard brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans and CAT (computerized axial tomography) scans are anatomical studies, and although they can evaluate what a brain looks like physically, they cannot provide information on how well the brain works.

SPECT is an acronym for “Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography”, and it is a sophisticated nuclear medicine study that “looks” directly at cerebral blood flow and indirectly at brain activity (for metabolism).

A small amount of radioactive isotope is injected into the patient’s vein, where it runs through the bloodstream and into the brain. The patient then lies on a table for a few minutes while a SPECT “gamma” camera rotates slowly around the head. A supercomputer then reconstructs offline images of brain activity levels.

[Read more →]

Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders

Get Rid of White Sugar, White Flour, White Rice and . . .

May 18th, 2007 · No Comments

Get rid of white sugar, white flour, white rice, and white oils to help keep your blood sugar under control and maintain a biochemical balance within the brain according to Michael Lesser, M.D., a nutritional psychiatrist and author of The Brain Chemistry Plan. He is one of the pioneers in the development of orthomolecular psychiatry and medicine.

In the book, he divides people into six basic brain types.  Each is described in detail, and precise instruction on how to identify your own type are given, along with information on the foods you should consume (and avoid), and the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and even herbs that in his experience work best for that particular type.

[Read more →]

Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders · Sugar Addiction

Inhalant Facts

May 3rd, 2007 · No Comments

Inhalants are volatile substances found in many household products, such as oven cleaners, gasoline, spray paints, and other aerosols. Some people inhale the vapors from these products on purpose.

Why would anyone do this? Because the chemicals in these vapors can change the way the brain works, and those changes can make people feel very happy for a short time.

But inhalants are extremely toxic and can do a great deal of harm.
 

Chemicals Don’t Go Away When You Exhale

Inhalant vapors often contain more than one chemical. Some leave the body quickly, but others are absorbed by fatty tissues in the brain and nervous system and can stay there for a long time.

[Read more →]

Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders · Street Drugs

Does Drug Abuse Cause Mental Disorders, or Vice Versa?

April 28th, 2007 · No Comments

Drug abuse and brain disorders often co-exist. In some cases, mental diseases may precede addiction; in other cases, drug abuse may trigger or exacerbate mental disorders, particularly in individuals with specific vulnerabilities.

What are the medical consequences of drug addiction?

Individuals who suffer from addiction often have one or more accompanying medical issues, including lung and cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and mental disorders. Imaging scans, chest x-rays, and blood tests show the damaging effects of drug abuse throughout the body. For example, tests show that smoking causes cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, blood, lungs, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix. In addition, some drugs of abuse, such as inhalants, are toxic to nerve cells and may damage or destroy them either in the brain or the peripheral nervous system.

What harmful consequences to others result from drug addiction?

[Read more →]

Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders · Smoking - Nicotine Addiction

What Happens to Your Brain if You Keep Taking Drugs?

April 27th, 2007 · No Comments

Just as we turn down the volume on a radio that is too loud, the brain adjusts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine (and other neurotransmitters) by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of receptors that can receive and transmit signals. As a result, dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit of a drug abuser’s brain can become abnormally low, and the ability to experience any pleasure is reduced. This is why the abuser eventually feels flat, lifeless, and depressed, and is unable to enjoy things that previously brought them pleasure. Now, they need to take drugs just to bring their dopamine function back up to normal. And, they must take larger amounts of the drug than they first did to create the dopamine high – an effect known as tolerance.

How does long-term drug taking affect brain circuits?

[Read more →]

Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders