Think addiction is NOT a Disease? Read This

Think addiction is NOT a Disease? Read This

In response to the article stating that addiction isn't a disease:
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“From the day I started using, I never stopped. Within one week I had gone from snorting heroin to shooting it. Within one month I was addicted and going through all my money. I sold everything of value that I owned and eventually everything that my mother owned. Within one year, I had lost everything.” -‘Jeremy’ (whose name has been changed)

I'm writing this to clear up the misconceptions that stem from this article. Heroin has become the biggest drug epidemic since cocaine/crack in the 70's on. I would wager that the person who wrote that article, and other who say that, “addiction is not a disease” do not understand the definition of the word disease. According to Webster’s, disease is defined by, “a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms: sickness, malady infectious diseases a rare genetic disease heart disease.” So when you said,

"Let me take you into a cancer ward, then try telling me you also have a disease,"

I can see you might know what the word disease means, but you don't understand it:

Heroine and addiction impair the normal functioning and typically manifests by distinguishing signs and symptoms. Are we clear now? No? Let’s say hypothetically you still disagree with me, well that’s fine. You can argue with the NIH, too. According to the National Institute of Health, “Combined biological, epidemiological, and social science discoveries of the last 3 decades have given us a detailed understanding of the risks, mechanisms, and consequences of drug abuse and addiction.”

Your lack of empathy does NOT change the science nor does it change the facts about addiction. You see, you if you do not see it this way, that’s OK, but just know you’re wrong. Formerly, addiction was considered a moral failing, a lack of will over one’s actions. The mid 70's were the “heyday” of many drugs of abuse, including nicotine, marijuana, and amphetamines. Had these trends continued rather than shift downward over the last decade, we would today see exponentially higher healthcare and education costs, unemployment, and crime. Recent scientific advances have revolutionized our understanding of addiction as a chronic, relapsing disease and not a moral failure. Now, if you can disprove this with your own studies, facts instead of strong feelings, than I am sure that the NIH would love to rescind their position and stances on the heroin epidemic.

(Image Courtsey by NIDA)

Above is a graphic that shows the brain scans of an addict and a control brain scan on the left. There is visual evidence.

Is addiction a disease? Some people may try to say otherwise, but addiction is in fact. Think about how addiction rewires your brain to prioritize drugs over everything else on Maslows hierarchy of needs. It isn't hard to understand how addiction fits the definition of disease, as ignoring these needs are a symptom of addiction. According to the NIH, Genes account for about 50 percent of a person’s risk of becoming addicted, and environmental factors influence the effect of these genes—an area of research called epigenetics. Progress in genetics/ epigenetics research will lead to more refined prevention and treatment interventions targeted to individual risk or to modifiable environmental influences.

When you say, addiction is a form of someone seeking pity, it really showcases your lack of empathy for other humans. The external signs of hard drug abuse stem from various medical conditions leading to drug abuse an addiction, more often than not we are treating the symptoms of drug abuse, instead of the actual problem. The underlying mental health issues are something we need to examine, and help people instead of casting judgement. So we should all work together to help fight against heroin and the adverse effects instead of trying to call out people on their “pity party.”

Beyond helping victims of addiction, we can also begin to hold pharmaceutical companies producing drugs that segue into drug abuse accountable. (and also the drug dealers selling the heroin). Which Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the three classes of prescription drugs that are often abused include: Opioids used to treat pain Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin), used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders stimulants, such as amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (Adderall) or methylphenidate (Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin, Ritalin) used to treat attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). Note that the trends in mental illness and addiction have a direct correlation and the drugs being prescribed for the mental illnesses that go along with addiction are the same drugs being abused and calling drug abuse in the first place. Once a person’s prescription for pain medication (which can take years) ends then they still have the addiction in place, it is logical to assume they’ll go looking for the next best thing. The progress is moving forward with Ohio suing big pharmaceutical companies for once and holding them accountable, "We believe the evidence will also show that these companies got thousands and thousands of Ohioans — our friends, our family members, our co-workers, our kids — addicted to opioid pain medications,” Attorney General Mike DeWine declared. “These drug manufacturers knew what they were doing was wrong, but they continued to do it anyway.”

How can we help these people? Try empathy. Try reaching out to your friends. Just be a good human. You won’t be able to save everyone, and the person/people you’re trying to help might not want it, and will reject your offers for help. You have to be a strong person to deal with that, and frankly, I’ve seen firsthand how addiction and hard drugs can tear a family apart.-it is not pretty. When you’re dealing with some who is struggling with addiction you must keep in mind that their brain is currently wired differently than yours. You must understand the underlying psychological issues that are behind the drug abuse too. It’s so much easier to say, “Stop trying to get me to pity you,” because that requires less work than actually taking the time to care. If you don’t believe that drug addiction is a disease, than that’s on you for not taking the time to research it. The sooner more people educate themselves on addiction and caring for those with the disease then we can really start helping people and saving lives, because this is people’s lives we are dealing with, not just news articles or stories. I challenge you to be open minded instead of buying into the counter culture- and get educated, be empathetic, and know the facts before you pass judgement on someone who you do not understand.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay free images

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Thinking Of Tripping On LSD? Here Are 10 Things You Need To Know

This is a harm-reduction guide for LSD strictly for educational purposes and I do not promote the sale or usage of any illegal substances, so trip at your own risk!

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LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), or acid, is a hallucinogenic drug created by scientist Albert Hofmann in the 1940s. LSD, along with other psychedelic drugs (shrooms, DMT, ayahuasca, peyote, salvia, MDMA, etc.) produces hallucinations and alters one's perceptions of the world.

Today, much of society sees psychedelics as these dangerous, lethal substances that are as dangerous as methamphetamine or cocaine. But the truth is, LSD and other psychedelics have potential medicinal benefits for those suffering from PTSD, anxiety, and depression and often can induce spiritual, introspective and life-changing experiences.

If you are thinking of tripping on acid, it's important you do some research and know exactly what you'll be experiencing. LSD is not for the faint-hearted, nor should it be taken irresponsibly. Ultimately, only you can decide whether this is something you wish to do. Here are some things to consider.

1. Dosage

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A normal, standard tab of acid will usually have 100-200 micrograms (ug) of LSD. LSD is measured in micrograms, and 100-150ug is the usual starting dosage for beginners. DO NOT TAKE MORE THAN THAT FOR YOUR FIRST TRIP.

2. Set and setting

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Set and setting are the most important parts for a positive LSD trip. Set refers to one's state of mind before they trip, and setting refers to one's environment in which they trip. It's important to be in a good emotional state, and to be in a safe place when you're tripping.

3. Do it with friends, and have a trip-sitter

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It's definitely more fun and meaningful when you trip with a close, trusted friend or group of friends. A trip-sitter, is also recommended for first-timers – someone SOBER who can watch over you and keep you safe and comfort you if you get anxious.

4. Be smart and safe

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LSD trips usually last around 12 hours, so I would recommend tripping on a day where you absolutely have nothing to do and no responsibilities and you won't need to drive or operate any motor vehicles. You will not be able to sleep. As with alcohol and other drugs, do not drive.

5. What will I experience?

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Everyone experiences trips differently. Some people will have more intense hallucinations than others, and some people will not have any at all. Some common things you may experience are visual hallucinations (seeing patterns and shapes), and auditory hallucinations (sounds and music sounding clearer or differently). Reality will be altered, including your senses and perceptions of your environment.

6. What should I do while tripping?

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Listen/play music. Watch a movie, or a TV show. If possible, go out for a walk in nature. Have deep conversations with your friends. Paint, draw, and create art. It's all up to what you're comfortable with.

7. Is it safe to do alone?

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Yes. But it is not recommended for first-timers, tripping alone should be for more experienced users. That's why a trip-sitter or a group of friends to do it with is recommended.

8. What if I get anxious and paranoid?

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Relax and breathe. LSD brings out a lot of thoughts and emotions that you may have and amplify them greatly. When it comes to tripping, please be mindful of your mental health. Avoid triggers, and avoid visiting bad or sad memories. Remove yourself from the environment if possible, and go lie down and try and calm yourself or talk to your trip-sitter.

9. I want to know more about the science behind LSD…

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There's several studies and info guides online, as well as YouTube videos.

AsapSCIENCE: Your Brain on LSD and Acid

PsychedSubstance: LSD in 3 Minutes

10. I’m having second thoughts about doing this…

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You don't have to do it. You should never feel pressured by anyone to do something you don't feel comfortable with. Ultimately, choosing to trip on acid is your own choice, and it's important to know what you will be getting into beforehand.

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