Saturday, March 2, 2013

Paraphernalia and Pills + Uppers (Psych Nerd Series)

(Upcoming Topics: drug use and drug abuse; child rearing abilities; gang mindset). 

Experimentation with drugs, alcohol, and pills is not uncommon for many American young adults. I am not going to go into any specifics about drug brands and titles. If you want more education on what to take, feel free to browse to web forums. Maybe some day I might post such info, but firstly it would take too long, and secondly I am not trying to get sued! Here I want to discuss use, abuse, and addiction as they pertain to drug. 

Drugs come in many forms. And young people may choose to actively use drugs for a couple of major reasons:


When feeling down a person may wish to feel up. If I don't know of many ways to change the neurological chemicals and waves in my brain, I may resort to drugs as a means of increasing feelings of energy and euphoria. 

Yoga can help with breathing and muscle tension. Tai Chi can assist with blood flow. Eating healthy can cause a sluggish body to react to fruits and veggies with ease and a clearer mind. Teas, caffeine, and other natural herbs can result in higher energy levels. Working out can get those endorphins pumping. Sleeping, dancing, playing a musical instrument, arts, drawing, painting, and singing can lift up a persons spirit. 

Suppose I did not know of these activities, if I began to feel weighted, down, or sluggish, I may resort to uppers. They would bring me up. Abusing uppers could bring me way WAY up. A little goes a long way. But a lot could have some detrimental affects. 

Low energy is a problem. I may be late getting out of bed. I may run late to appointments, classes, or work. I may get so much rest on weekends that when it is time to sleep I just may not feel tired. Feeling low can result in getting dropped from classes, fired, missing important opportunities, and basically pissing people off. 

Keeping a job, completing papers, written work, homework assignments, and other social and professional demands are necessary for the average person.

But what happens when your mind and body are both saying "No! You may not wake up. You may not finish reading this chapter. YOU WILL NOT ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING TODAY?"

Teens, young adults, and older aged adults partake of drugs to sometimes just get through the day. To meet the demands. To get things done! 

Using substances can be done periodically during certain times such as for exams, interviews, and presentations only. 

Regular use occurs when the drugs are used as the only means of completing and meeting needs. Or when the drugs are taken more often than just for the occasional big event.

Abuse of drugs is when the substances are damaging one's body, damaging their lifestyle, and are no longer aiding in productivity. The abuse of drugs can result in the opposite of the reasons for taking drugs in the first place; the general or regular use may have assisted in keeping a job and getting assignments in on time, but the abuse of the drug may still cause nothing to get done, or the body may overload from too much work and crash like a computer.

Addiction can come at any time. Because addition is altogether psychological, physical, emotional, and basically an individualized phenomena, addiction is difficult to predict. Smoking one cigarette may be fine for Bobby, but when Billy smokes one cigarette, he may become addicted. One cigarette is extreme! But there is no amount too small or too large to predict addiction. It depends on the individual, it depends on one's genetic makeup, it depends on how the body and brain react. It also depends on social situations and lifestyle stressors.

Here is a scenario displaying drug use, abuse, and addition.

Ken and Jill have a project to do. Ken is extremely active in sports. He plays soccer. He swims. He lifts. He does not study a lot because he is so busy staying in shape. Jill never really works out unless you consider the trip to the grocery store, or hand-washing the car as exercise! She went from fit to flabby very quickly once she began college. She studies constantly. But the classes are just so hard. 

Ken and Jill receive a project assignment together for which they have to create a media clip, a poster or PowerPoint presentation, a speech for the presentation, and a 10 page double spaced paper on a topic provided from the course list. Ken has tons of energy, but because he rarely studies he is a bit behind in the class. Jill studies all the time, but because she is studying for so many other courses she studies just about as much as Ken does. 

Jill starts to freak our about this huge assignment. She starts to drink coffee each morning with her breakfast. The coffee gives her energy, but by lunch time she begins to crash. She then begins to drink a cup of coffee with her lunch in addition to the coffee she has for breakfast. But when Jill gets home she realizes that she is drowsy from waking up early and commuting the long distance in traffic. Jill then adds a third cup of coffee for dinner. 3 cups of coffee each day. This works for the first week.

Ken on the other hand goes for a 15 minute run before breakfast. And on his lunch break he lifts weights and does some light isometrics. Ken rarely feels out of energy. 

Because Jill is drinking coffee so late at night, she starts having trouble sleeping. So she stays up late or at times takes a sleeping pill. The pills help her sleep but she does not always feel rested. Sometimes Jill drinks even more than the total 3 cups of coffee just to feel awake in the mornings. Ken always exercises. And when he has more spare time, he exercises even more! The exercise gives Ken tons of energy. 

Because Jill and Ken are broke college students, Jill decides to stop buying so much coffee and sleeping aids. She notices that she falls asleep during classes. Sometimes she wakes up late. Sometimes she cannot get out of bed easily. She experiences headaches and nausea. Her attendance scores drop. She studies less because she naps all the time. Ken has to cancel his 3 gym memberships. Now he only has one membership left. He cannot get to the gym everyday. But he still works out. Jill decides to take some pills she gets from her friend (who steals them from her mother). The pills give her tons of energy, but when she does not take them she gets even more sluggish and slow, and sometimes even experiences depression without the pills. So she has to take quite a few. She gets tons of energy. She also eats much less because she does not feel as hungry. She loses weight rapidly and her health suffers. 

Use is obvious. Jill uses caffeine, sleeping pills, and other pills. This is all to help her with her grades. Addiction occurs when she has to keep taking more pills for the affect to work. Also, the addiction to caffeine is a physical dependency; her body is lacking caffeine when she starts budgeting, so she uses more. Abuse occurs when she adds more drugs, experiences negative health, and still keep taking the pills. Her grades begin to suffer, but she is dependent on the pills. She no longer sees that the pills are harming her.

I mentioned caffeine and sleeping pills because these are common and legal substances. They are still drugs. 

Our bodies can naturally create the same affects as drugs. Ken noticed this. His lifestyle gave him the similar abilities that Jill had through caffeine and pills. As usual, I am not trying to tell anyone not to take what they enjoy. But there is a fine line between use and abuse. And once we learn of a substance that helps us to get through hard times, once it works once, we may return to it continually.

Sometimes these substances are healthy. And other times they are detrimental to our health and life. 

Talking again about the chemical reaction our bodies can naturally create, we can get those reactions from drugs and other activities. Playing video games, gambling, winning money, drag racing... 

Everyone likes excitement. Each one of us sometimes needs a little push from outside of ourselves. How positive are the things we are taking in? Some activities may be more dangerous than others. Ken and Jill can both receive energy, but only Jill may end up in the hospital from her choices. Taking on a lot, and sometimes too many activities is noble, but sometimes it is best to take a break. Step away. If your health is suffering from work or school, find different methods of getting the same results. Healthy methods. 

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