12 Mar 2013
Mephedrone is the common name for 4-methylmethcathinone, a manmade, illegal stimulant sometimes found in the designer drug preparations known in popular culture as “bath salts.” Along with a variety of other active ingredients found in these preparations, such as MDPV and butylone, it belongs to a chemically related group of mind-altering drugs called synthetic cathinones. In addition to its use in “bath salts,” mephedrone is also sometimes used on its own as an intravenous (IV) drug. Mephedrone abuse can trigger a number of unpleasant or dangerous short-term side effects, and may also lead to long-term or permanent changes in the user’s mood and normal memory function.
11 Mar 2013
Substance withdrawal delirium is a mental health condition that occurs when diminishing levels of alcohol, drugs, or medications in the body lead to the onset of an incoherent, unbalanced state of mind. Along with a related condition called substance intoxication delirium, it belongs to a group of disorders that also includes various forms of dementia and amnesia. While a variety of substances can potentially produce delirium during the withdrawal process, alcohol has an especially well-deserved reputation for its delirium-inducing potential. Alcohol withdrawal-related delirium, known as delirium tremens, is a potentially fatal condition.
07 Mar 2013
Opioids (also known as opiates or narcotics) are a class of drugs used legally for pain relief and cough reduction, and also used illegally for their ability to produce a form of intense pleasure known as euphoria. They achieve all of these effects by binding to nerve cells (neurons) in the central nervous system and altering the signals produced by those cells. People who have grown accustomed to the effects of properly used prescription opioids typically experience no real reduction in driving skills. However, people unaccustomed to properly used opioids, as well as people who abuse prescription or illegal opioids, can develop a number of serious driving impairments.
06 Mar 2013
Alcoholism is the classic term for patterns of alcohol abuse that result from a chemical dependence on alcohol’s presence in the body. Along with other abusive patterns of alcohol use, it belongs to a group of conditions known as alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Both men and women can develop a number of serious short- and long-term health complications as a consequence of alcoholism. However, while men become alcoholics more frequently than women, women alcoholics have higher risks than men for developing certain alcoholism-related health problems. In addition, female alcoholics die prematurely much more frequently than male alcoholics.
For any given level of intake, women have a greater sensitivity to alcohol’s effects than men. Three physical factors help explain this phenomenon. First, relative to overall size and weight, women’s bodies contain less water than men’s bodies. This is relevant because water dilutes alcohol; therefore, in an environment that contains relatively little water, alcohol remain relatively undiluted and produces intensified effects. Second, compared to men’s bodies, women’s bodies apparently have less active forms of an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase, which plays a key role in breaking alcohol down and rendering it harmless; in real-world terms, reduced alcohol dehydrogenase activity translates into higher levels of alcohol lingering in the bloodstream. In addition, some women may be more susceptible to alcohol’s effects during certain phases of their menstrual cycles.
Because of their relative susceptibility to alcohol’s effects, women have a lower recommended maximum daily/weekly alcohol intake than men, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains. On any given day, the average woman can safely drink as much as a single drink of beer, wine, or hard liquor (the specific size of a standard drink varies according to the type of alcohol under consideration). In any given week, the average woman can safely consume as many as seven total drinks. By comparison, the average man under the age of 65 can safely consume two drinks a day and 14 drinks per week. For a variety of reasons not directly related to alcoholism, men over the age of 65 need to follow the same alcohol consumption guidelines as women.
The Consequences of Alcoholism
As indicated previously, women abuse alcohol and/or develop alcoholism less frequently than men. In fact, women account for only roughly one-third of all of the alcoholics in the United States. However, female alcoholics sometimes experience more severely negative health outcomes than male alcoholics. For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcoholic women have higher chances of developing cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and other alcohol-related liver disorders than their male counterparts. Compared to alcoholic men, alcoholic women also have higher risks for the onset of damage in the tissues that form the heart muscle; these heightened risks extend to women who abuse alcohol but don’t have all of the hallmarks of alcoholism. In addition, current research suggests that women alcoholics have relatively high chances of developing alcohol-related memory problems and physical shrinkage of their overall brain size. Women also apparently develop these problems more quickly than men.
In comparison to other women, women alcoholics have relatively high chances of developing certain forms of cancer, including cancers of the breast, colon, throat, liver, mouth, and esophagus. In the case of breast cancer, alcoholic women’s risks go up as their rate of alcohol consumption increases. Apart from disease-related risks, alcoholic women have increased risks for exposure to rape and other forms of sexual assault. These assault-related risks extend to women who participate in a form of alcohol abuse called binge drinking, which involves consuming enough alcohol within a two-hour timeframe to become legally intoxicated; most women reach a legally intoxicated state (marked by a blood alcohol content equal to or in excess of 0.08 percent) when they consume four or more drinks within this span of time.
When considered together, men and women alcoholics between the ages of 18 and 64 die an average of 20 years sooner than people without alcohol dependencies, according to the result of a 14-year study published in published in 2012 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. However, when the two genders are considered separately, women alcoholics in this age range die twice as often as alcoholic men. Compared to the general population, alcoholic women between the ages of 18 and 64 die more than four times as frequently. The authors of the study note that their results may somewhat overestimate women alcoholics’ risks for fatal outcomes, but believe any overestimation (if it exists) is in terms of specific percentages rather than the basic results of their research.
05 Mar 2013
Methcathinone is an illegal stimulant drug that bears a chemical resemblance to both methamphetamine and cathinone, one of the active ingredients in another stimulant drug called khat. In parts of the United States, illicit drug manufacturers sell the drug as an alternative to methamphetamine or amphetamine. Like abusers of these two drugs, people who use/abuse methcathinone expose themselves to significant risks for drug addiction. Even in people who don’t become addicted, methcathinone produces clear risks for a number of harmful side effects during both active use and subsequent withdrawal.
04 Mar 2013
Perhaps ‘lies’ is not the right word.
‘Rationalizations’ might be a better choice. But whatever word we choose, few are better at making excuses for self-destructive behavior than addicts and alcoholics, who always have dozens of good reasons to explain why they do what they do. Firmly entrenched in their denial, practicing substance abusers are totally convinced there is nothing really wrong with them and that anyone who claims there is doesn’t know what she is talking about. Rather than seeing themselves as victims of substance abuse, as crazy as it sounds, addicts and alcoholics who are still in the denial stage actually believe they are being victimized or betrayed by the people who love and care for them. This is obviously a distortion of the truth, but the ability addiction has to warp the minds of those it has enslaved never ceases to amaze even the most experienced addiction counselors.
03 Mar 2013
AMT is the common abbreviation for alpha-methyltryptamine, an illegal hallucinogen chemically related to other hallucinogens such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin. In certain respects, the drug produces effects similar to MDMA (Ecstasy), and illicit drug manufacturers sometimes use AMT as an MDMA substitute. AMT is not very widely distributed, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration; however, its position as a potential MDMA substitute makes it a prominent target for ongoing monitoring. Many people who use AMT combine it with a second hallucinogen, commonly known by the street name Foxy Methoxy.
02 Mar 2013
Anabolic steroids are a group of synthetic substances that closely mimic the chemical structure of testosterone, the hormone produced in the bodies of both males and females after puberty. In legitimate medical settings, doctors use these substances to correct the effects of unusually low natural testosterone production, as well as the effects of aplastic anemia and other related ailments that reduce the oxygen content in blood. Professional and recreational athletes also sometimes abuse anabolic steroids in an attempt to improve their athletic performances or hasten their recovery from various injuries or routine exertion. Anabolic steroid abuse is both illegal and potentially addictive. In addition, steroid abusers can develop a number of serious side effects, or even die as a result of their steroid use.