Friday, June 23, 2017

What Is Ativan?

What Is Ativan

This article discusses suicide. If you are feeling suicidal or having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

The passing of a famous icon due to overdose or other mental health issues is an unfortunate way to bring spotlight to an important conversation. Chris Cornell, a solo artist and front man for music-changing bands like Soundgarden and Audioslave, passed away early this summer due to suicide. Though the officially released toxicology reports indicate that Cornell’s cause of death was suicide, by hanging, there was interesting information about the amount of drugs in Cornell’s system, including Ativan.

Ativan, known by the generic name Lorazepam, is a powerful benzodiazepine, also called “benzos”. Benzodiazepines are used for anti-anxiety treatments and can be powerful drugs, especially in high doses. Acting as central nervous system depressants, drugs like Ativan can act like a muscle relaxer, relieving tension throughout the mind and the body. Suicidal thoughts and suicidal tendencies have been listed as rare side effects of Ativan, especially when taken in conjunction with other pharmaceutical or over the counter medications. Benzodiazepines were not meant to be dependency forming, but have proven to be highly addictive medications. As explained by The Rolling Stone, benzodiazepines “act on the brain’s gamma aminobutyric acid- or GABA- receptors, one of the most common neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.”

Ativan specifically is a short-acting medication for anxiety, and often prescribed for short term use. For example, Ativan is often prescribed as a substance withdrawal management medication for those detoxing from drugs and alcohol.

Without proper management and observation, the drugs can develop a tolerance. Many people who are regular users of benzodiazepine medications, as Cornell was, are shocked to discover symptoms of withdrawal or cravings after missing a dose or two of their medication. The toxicology report revealed that Cornell had four times the normal amount of Ativan in his system. Cornell’s wife has also reported that she noticed his behavior different from normal, even noting slurred speech, and that he blatantly commented to her he had taken more Ativan than he was supposed to. He met the signs of Ativan abuse: unusual behavior, shaking, and slurred speech.

Does Ativan Cause Suicide?

Long term use of Ativan “can exacerbate negative feelings  in people with depression or a history of suicidal ideation”, Rolling Stone explains. “Though rare, researcher have found a correlation between benzodiazepine misuse and increased suicide risk.” However, the article notes, “But it’s highly unlikely that Ativan would be the sole cause of a completed suicide...If someone were to die by suicide during an Ativan blackout,” for example, “they have may have been dealing with underlying mental health issues.” In the case of suicide involving Ativan, as Cornell’s was, the Ativan itself would be a small contributory factor. The true issue would be the unresolved underlying mental health issues coming up. Cornell was outspoken about his experience with depression as well as his recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

If you or a loved one are struggling with Benzodiazepine addiction or abuse because of an untreated co-occurring disorder like depression, there is hope for you. Your life's worth living and there is help available to teach you how to thrive. Cottonwood Tucson offers an integrative approach to treating co-occurring disorders. Our residential programs are critically acclaimed for providing safety, understanding, healing, and hope. For information, call us today by dialing (800) 877-4520.

Synthetic Marijuana, “Spice”, Causes Overdoses, Hospitalizations

spice marijuana overdose

Type “spice marijuana” or “synthetic marijuana” into Google and be met with tales of horror. Spice, the street name for synthetic marijuana, is no longer a random occurrence happening in the small corners of the country. Routinely, reports of overdose outbreaks make local headlines. Unfortunately, spice has not become a matter of national news, leaving small towns around America suffering while dozens of citizens at a time overdose on the drug, inundating emergency rooms and first responders. Synthetic marijuana is an incredibly potent and dangerous drug, hyper stimulating the central nervous system into immediate shutdown. Chemically volatile like crystal meth and other synthetic substances, whatever chemical compounds spice manufacturers are using are not meant for human consumption. Instant overdose is being met by hundreds every single day. In other areas of the world like Great Britain, certain neighborhoods have seen overdoses in the 200’s, every day.

Synthetic marijuana is hardly comparable to the naturally occurring version of it’s namesake. Though both marijuana and synthetic marijuana share similar compounds of cannabinoids, there is virtually nothing else similar about the drug. Marijuana, for example, cannot cause overdose in normal usage amounts. An impossible to consume amount of marijuana would have to be consumed to cause any kind of overdose similar to what is caused by a single use of synthetic marijuana.

When synthetic marijuana does not cause overdose, it causes extreme sensations of euphoria and hallucination. Psychoactive, hallucinogenic, a stimulant, synthetic marijuana can have a range of physical and mental side effects. Synthetic marijuana addiction is dangerous and often not sustainable. Taking a serious toll on the body and the mind, life is often depleted rather quickly under synthetic marijuana addiction.

Side Effects Of Spice Addiction

In addition to the mental side effects of chemical dependency like cravings, symptoms of withdrawal, and obsessive thinking, spice addiction can produce severe side effects:

  • Increased heart rate.
  • Hypertension.
  • Myocardial ischemia.
  • Vomiting.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Paranoia.
  • Severe anxiety.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Aggression.

You can recovery from spice addiction. Don’t let spice be the end of your life. The time is now to call for help. Cottonwood Tucson offers addiction rehab and behavioral health treatment programs for spice addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. With 20 years of experience and demonstrated excellence, we offer hope and healing. For information, call us today by dialing (800) 877-4520.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How Do I Manage My Anger?

How Do I Manage My Anger?

Most of us will experience body-shaking, explosive anger and rage at some point in our lives. Anger is a secondary emotion, a defense mechanism protecting us against the vulnerabilities of fear and sadness. Anger is also a survival mechanism, ingrained in our evolutionary DNA to fight off predators and threats. Today, we aren’t running from big animals threatening to eat us. Instead, our survival instinct have become more emotionally based. We experience numerous emotional situations as threats to our survival. As a result, we respond, or react, with our fight-flight-or-freeze response. When we get deeply into fight mode, we can lose sight of our emotional regulation and fall into a cycle of anger or rage. Sometimes our anger and rage is justified through loss or injustice. Anger is one of the natural five stages of grief defined by Elisabeth Kubler Ross. Though anger can sometimes be justified, it is also a choice. We choose how we want to feel and what we want to do with our feelings. Anger can become unmanageable and out of control when we lose our ability to choose other feelings, behaviors, and responses.

Staying in a place of anger is harmful. Anger can be toxic energetically as well as emotionally. Getting in between authentic relationships and interpersonal connections, anger can interfere with the way we relate to friends, family members, coworkers, and even strangers we encounter every day.

It is often enlightening to discover we have a choice in anger. Anger management isn’t reserved for people who have committed unnecessary violent acts. The tools of anger management can be applied to those with aggressive, outward behavior, and those who turn their anger inward toward themselves.

Mindfulness and meditation are tools which help raise awareness to empower your ability to notice when your anger is flaring up. Before you explode and see red, you will develop the skill to take a pause and contemplate your anger. Do you want to react this way? What is it you feel angry about? Is it possible you are really scared, sad, insecure, or feel out of control? Could you choose another way to respond, while still acknowledging your anger? You don’t have to completely neglect your anger or judge your angry response as “bad”. Mindfulness, as well as other helpful techniques like cognitive or dialectical behavioral therapy, emphasize nonjudgment. Take a few deep breaths and explain your anger, to yourself, or to someone else. You are experiencing anger, you are feeling anger, but you do not have to be angry.

Anger management can be an important tool for recovering from co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Cottonwood Tucson offers an integrative approach to treating co-occurring disorders, focusing on holistic health. Our programs are trusted internationally for providing safety and understanding to clients bringing them hope and healing. For information, call us today by dialing (800) 877-4520.

Bath Salts are not an Alternative To Cocaine or Crystal Meth, It’s More Dangerous

Bath Salts Are Not An Alternative To Cocaine Or Crystal Meth, It’s More Dangerous

Cocaine and crystal meth are both highly addictive drugs. While cocaine is naturally derived from the coca plant, crystal meth is a synthetic substance, made completely of chemical substances put together in a volatile formula. Both cocaine and crystal meth are stimulant substances as well as central nervous system drugs. Meaning, they are known to create high levels of euphoria, alertness, awakeness, sensory sensations, and feelings of power or invincibility more impactfully as well as more quickly than other drugs. The negative side effects of cocaine and crystal meth are also similar. Prolonged addiction to cocaine and crystal meth can result in heart failure, seizure, and complex mental health issues like paranoia.

As a synthetic substance, crystal meth is significantly less expensive than cocaine, but can still be an expensive drug when it is considered to be of good quality. Cocaine isn’t always pure or of high quality, but tends to be on the pricier side of illegal drugs. Guaranteed quality of intoxication from cocaine and crystal meth isn’t consistent. Developing an addiction to either of these drugs can be costly in terms of finances. Bath salts, often referred to as “designer” synthetic drugs, offer a cheap alternative to these drugs, at a heavier price than the money saved by suing them.

“Bath Salts” get their name from the unique packaging used to conceal the drugs. Sold in headshops, on the black market, and illegal stores throughout the world, bath salts are sold as their namesake, crystals to be put in the bathtub for luxurious relaxation. The packaging is rarely inviting or reminiscent of spa-like culture. Instead, it is often aggressive and foreboding, as is the drug hidden inside. Technically known as “synthetic cathinone”, bath salts are far more dangerous than cocaine and crystal meth. Business Insider reports on the giant seizures of bath salts taking place overseas, hopefully preventing a new surge of the drug’s availability in America. Quoting an overseas pharmacist, the article writes, “‘Although ‘bath salts’ give the same mental sensations as Ice and cocaine, they also cause high blood pressure, heart problems, dehydration, and kidney failure.” Bath salts and other synthetic designer drugs are highly addictive and highly potent. Addiction is nearly instantaneous with the rush of dopamine produced by such drugs so severe that the brain immediately develops a tolerance threshold and a craving for more of the drug.

Bath Salt addiction can cause permanent mental health damage or result in violent overdose. Cottonwood Tucson offers addiction rehab and behavioral health treatment for bath salts addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Our integrative approach to treatment provides safety and understanding while offering hope and healing. For information, call us today by dialing (800) 877-4520. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Is Hoarding an Impulse Control Problem?

Impulse Control Problem

There is a distinct difference between an obsessive collector and someone who hoards. Someone who collects takes care of their possessions, chooses them carefully, and keeps them tightly, cleanly organized. Obsessive collectors typically have a catalog of their belongings, take good care of them, and experience feelings of pride and joy from the activity of collecting, as well as their actual collection. Hoarders, on the other hand, are the opposite. Most often, someone with a hoarding problem is not aware of what items they possess, lose track of their stock, and often do not take care of their belongings. Rather than being organized, clean, and accessible, the belongings of a hoarder are piled, stuffed, and destroyed through lack of care. Hoarders typically do not experience pride or joy about their growing number of belongings, though their brain does produce a large amount of dopamine every time they make a purchase and bring more belongings home. Hoarding is characterized by a deep amount of shame caused by a lack of impulse control. When trying to take away or clean out a hoarder’s belongings, there are feelings of terror, fear, abandonment, and despair. A hoarder’s belongings can be a security blanket of sorts, locking them in closely, while keeping the world out.

Hoarding is an impulse-control behavior which has been closely related to obsessive compulsive disorder in the past. In addition to OCD, hoarding can be co-occurring with a number of mood and personality disorders. Depression, for example, can include debilitating feelings of emotional numbness, detachment from pleasure, lack of motivation, and lethargy. Hoarding could simply be the result of an inability to get anything done due to the symptoms of depression.

With any mental health disorder, it is essential not to confront the problem as a problem to simply be taken care of. As one wouldn’t tell someone with clinical depression to “get happy” or someone with an anxiety disorder to “stop worrying”, one wouldn’t tell someone with a hoarding problem to just “get rid of everything”. Mental health treatment and recovery is a gradual process, with the potential for many slips and relapses.

Impulse control behaviors and co-occurring mental health disorders can be treated effectively for lifelong recovery. At Cottonwood Tucson, we offer an integrative approach to treating co-occurring disorders. Our internationally acclaimed residential treatment programs provide safety and understanding to clients, promoting hope and healing. For information on our unique programs for adults, call us today by dialing (800) 877-4520.
CARF - Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation FacilitiesNATSAP | National Association of Therapeutic Schools and ProgramsNBCCNAADAC