Caffeine – The Pros and Cons Video.

Caffeine is the world’s most widely used drug. Caffeine is an ingredient in many over-the-counter medications, but some people should reduce or eliminate the use of caffeine.

Advertisements

Caffeine the Basics – a counselorssoapbox video.

Caffeine, its sources, metabolism, excretion, and the way it interacts with other drugs. Why some people should not consume caffeine.

Commonly abused stimulant drugs.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stimulant drugs.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

A few stimulant drugs account for a major portion of drug abuse.

How drugs are used

Drugs.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Abuse of stimulant drugs has become a major problem in America. Some of these stimulant drugs have some limited medical uses. Recreational drug use seems to run in cycles. A new drug or a new form of a drug becomes popular for a while only to be replaced by the next “in” drug. Here is a brief description of the primary types of stimulant drugs being abused today.

Cocaine.

Cocaine comes from the coca plant which was originally found growing wild in the Andes Mountains of South America. Coca leaves were used there, probably for thousands of years, by the native population who would chew the leaves or mix them with roasted sea shells and hold the mixture next to their gum similar to the way chewing tobacco is used. Chewing a few leaves produces a mild stimulant effect which allowed the natives to work more effectively at high altitudes.

In the late 1800s European chemists isolated the active ingredient, cocaine. Cocaine was promoted by Doctors, particularly Freud, for treatment for a variety of illnesses. The first great cocaine epidemic occurred in the 1880s.

Cocaine can be used in a variety of ways; powdered cocaine can be snorted, and crack cocaine can be smoked. The 1980s saw a second cocaine epidemic with the introduction much cheaper crack cocaine. Cocaine was used for a while to treat depression but this is no longer an acceptable use because when a stimulant drug wears off the depression is worse than before.

The only currently accepted medical uses for cocaine are eye and nose surgeries.

Amphetamines.

Amphetamines became popular during World War II when both sides used them. Initially, they were thought of as wonder drugs and were used for the treatment of respiratory problems, obesity, and to increase attention and prevent sleep. Amphetamines were widely prescribed for both weight loss and to increase productivity.

In the 1960’s the dangerous properties of amphetamines were recognized. Today use of the older amphetamines is largely restricted to the treatment of ADHD.

Methamphetamine.

There had been some use of injectable methamphetamine in the 1970s. In the 1990s methamphetamine began to replace other stimulant drugs, first in Hawaii and later, on the West Coast of the United States, ultimately spreading throughout America. Methamphetamine manufactured synthetically in large quantities became considerably cheaper and lasts longer than other stimulant drugs. Methamphetamine is used as an injectable drug and is available in a smokable crystal form.

From a mental health standpoint, methamphetamine is diagnosed as an amphetamine use disorder. Substance abuse treatment often provides separate categories for amphetamine and methamphetamine disorders. While amphetamines are usually prescription grade medical pharmaceuticals which are diverted for illegal use, methamphetamine is produced by illegal labs in huge quantities for recreational use and abuse. See drug diagnoses.

The sight of the meth addict, sucked up from loss of weight, often covered with scabs, frequently paranoid and hallucinating, has become a common sight in hospital emergency rooms and on the streets of America’s cities.

Khat.

Khat is a stimulant plant which grows wild in East Africa, where it was chewed by natives the same way coca leaves were chewed in South America. The leaves are most stimulating when chewed fresh. Khat contains two stimulant chemicals, Cathine, and cathinone. Both of these chemicals and many other related compounds are now produced synthetically.

Bath Salts.

Bath salts have nothing to do with bathing. These synthetic stimulant drugs, largely related to cathinone, are imported into the United States labeled “not for human consumption.” These are often mixed and sold under various labels such as “bath salts, herbal incense, water pipe cleaner,” and many other names. This family of chemicals can produce strong stimulant effects as well as hallucinations. Because these are mixtures of chemicals and are sold labeled “not for human consumption” they have been very difficult to regulate. As quickly as federal regulators ban one chemical, the manufacturers and marketers of bath salts change their formulations. There are frequent reports of permanent neurological damage because of using these drugs.

Caffeine and related compounds.

Caffeine is one of the milder stimulant drugs and is the most widely used drug on planet earth. It is estimated that 90% of the world’s population consumes caffeine or a related compound on a regular basis. Occasionally someone receives a caffeine overdose and presents in an emergency room. Caffeine overdoses usually result from consuming energy drinks which are high in caffeine combined with alcohol or by consuming large quantities of caffeine pills to stay awake longer than the human body should.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Tests for mental illness

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Mental illness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

 

Have you been tested for Bipolar disorder or Schizophrenia?

More and more people come in and want to be tested or have their family member tested for a specific mental illness.

We wish there was a specific test, maybe a blood test, someone could do and then we could look at the lab report and say yes, you have Depression with a touch of ADHD. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Mental health diagnosis or mental illness if you prefer that term. is arrived at by piling up symptoms and looking at the time you have had them to see what pattern of mental, emotional and behavioral problems the client has been experiencing.

Not everyone with the same symptoms might have exactly the same disorder. Let’s illustrate this process with a physical disorder. If you are coughing and you go to the doctor and he diagnosed you with “Major Cough Disorder.” This may have been caused by a cold, asthma or a touch of Tuberculosis. While you might take some cough drops to reduce the symptoms of the cough, regardless of the cause of the cough, you would want a different treatment for Tuberculosis or Asthma over the long run.

Treating the tuberculosis cough with a cough drop could make the problem worse by letting the bacteria get a hold and as a result shorten your life.

With a Mental illness, we go the other way. We give everyone with the symptom more or less the same diagnosis regardless of what caused the symptoms. Does it matter if you are depressed because your spouse died or because you lost your job? What if you got depressed over time because your life was just not going the way you had hoped?

For each of these causes, we would diagnose depression and prescribe eventually the same treatment regardless of the cause. So you would get an anti-depressant medication and talk therapy. If you were grieving over a loss we would let you have a period of time to grieve, say 90 days and after that, if you were still grieving we would want you to get on with life.

Parents want their kid tested for ADHD. That should be simple from one point of view. The child does not pay attention when the adult wants them to. The child does not do their work – Ipso-presto they had ADHD. Not so fast loony breath.

If we look only at the symptom then yeah, sure, all kids have ADHD some of the time when they don’t pay as much attention as the adult wants them to. But it matters a whole lot if they are not paying attention because they are being bullied on the way home or if mom and dad fought all night last night or is everything in their life fine and when they try they just can’t focus.

Bipolar Disorder is another one parents want their kids tested for. One of the symptoms of bipolar is not sleeping or getting by on almost no sleep. Kids stay up all night a lot. Watching too much internet does not make you bipolar. (On second thought can I get a grant for a million-five to study that?)

This excess energy and lack of sleep are called mania or hypomania. A manic person looks a lot like someone on Methamphetamine but they get that way without the drug.

Kids also don’t get enough sleep because pound for pound elementary school kids take in more caffeine than adults. All that caffeine comes from the sodas they drink.  That much stimulant can make a five-year-old act like a drug addict on speed. Add many MG’s of an amphetamine salt to the caffeine and watch Johnny go like a cyclone. Expect that when he crashes he will get really irritable and hit someone while he is detoxing.

See why it is important to find out not just what behavioral symptom this child has but what else is going on in the family and in the kids head?

So as time passes and the facts come in the diagnosis might change, or not.

Also compounding this situation is the possibility that the client could have more than one problem. Could the Person with asthma catch a cold? Could they also catch Tuberculosis if exposed to the germ?

Someone could be depressed, have ADHD and still take in too much caffeine or do drugs. This makes unraveling the diagnosis a problem sometimes even for a professional.

So till a reliable blood test come along for Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, and the rest, we will just have to limp along counting up the symptoms and looking for other possibilities to build the correct diagnosis up over time and even then not every person responds to every treatment in the same way.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.