Over the course of the last hundred years in the United States, women have been encouraged to self-medicate for emotional and physical symptoms of the estrus cycle, which were formerly labeled as hysteria. In the early 1900s, physicians regularly prescribed opiates for moodiness, pain or fatigue. Coca-Cola®, which contained cocaine as an ingredient in those days, was advertised as an afternoon pick-me-up for ladies.
In the 21st century, women are prescribed twice as many psychotropic medications by their doctors as are given to men and these may be prescribed over a very long time. It cannot be expected that a woman takes a psychotropic medication for years, which was originally prescribed for a temporary anxiety problem, without the risks of addiction and dependence.
There are many complicated factors involved in the development of addictions in women, including genetic predisposition. Clinical research and experience also show that women may experience not only expansive mood shifts, but also strong cravings during menses.
In the throes of addiction, not only does a woman have no power over her disorder, but she can lack a sense of her own self. Addiction to alcohol, drugs, food, gambling or sex always provides a release, not particularly because it is pleasurable, but because it is a way of coping or escaping, obscuring a woman’s true feelings about herself and emotional pain.
The addicted woman may attempt to engage in micro-management to ward off anxiety and feel in control, while she actually has little real control at all. Women are truly adept multi-taskers in daily life; but often women feel they must also be the person who keeps her own and others’ emotions under control and who must keep things running smoothly.
At Journey to Wellness, we understand what women go through in addiction, and how their experiences and needs can differ from those of men. All factors are taken into account, to provide the recovering woman a personalized and successful addiction treatment experience.
Club drugs are a category of recreational drugs which are associated with discothèques in the 1970s, and dance clubs and raves from the 1980s to the present day. Differing from other drug categories, which are established according to their pharmacological properties, club drugs are a “category of convenience”, which includes the popular MDMA (“ecstasy”), the lesser known 2C-B, inhalants, stimulants, and hallucinogens. All-night party-goers use these drugs for their stimulating or psychedelic properties, to enhance the overall experience.
MDMA can be a danger to personal health and sometimes lethal. MDMA can have many of the same physical effects as other stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines, which include increases in heart rate and blood pressure and other symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching and gnashing, nausea and vomiting, blurry vision, fainting, and chills or sweating.
The effects of stimulant (cocaine, methamphetamine) consumption include increased energy, sleeplessness, appetite abatement, excessive talking and paranoia, plus constriction of blood vessels, dilation of the pupils, and increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. They can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain and nausea. As stimulants tend to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well.
Hallucinations and other effects of hallucinogenic drugs include changes in the perception of distances, relative scale, color and time, as well as a slowing of the visual system’s ability to update what the user is seeing. At high doses sounds can be out of sync with the user’s visual field. Colors can also turn to sound and sound into color.
For many “club drug” users, recreational use of these substances can lead to addiction and dependence. Journey to Wellness offers addiction treatment services that will help affected people escape the addiction trap and return to happy and fulfilling lives.
Experts in addiction and the mental health field have long known of the links between trauma and the subsequent use and addiction to alcohol or other drugs, as well as the link between trauma and relapse. Research has found that victims of trauma are four to five times more likely to be affected by alcohol or substance abuse than the general public.
Studies performed after 9/11, of the Columbine incident, the Oklahoma City bombing, combat veterans and PTSD, and research involving survivors of other catastrophes have shown there is a very strong correlation between experiencing a traumatic event and the subsequent use and abuse of alcohol, cigarettes, illegal substances, and prescription medications.
Often the natural thing to do is to cope with trauma, is to self-medicate, to feel less of the grief, the fears and the anxieties. However, use of any controlled substances following trauma is not recommended, unless used under medical advice. The consequences of alcohol or substance abuse can re-traumatize the person, or subject the person to secondary trauma.
Trauma is often at the core of addictions, compulsive behaviors, and chronic relapses. The common aspects of trauma include feelings of complete helplessness in the face of real or perceived physical or emotional danger. Recent research has recognized that even a perceived threat can also be traumatic. Addictive behaviors are essentially dysfunctional coping mechanisms used as a way to medicate and escape from pain, shame, and trauma.
At Journey to Wellness, the relationship between trauma and relapse is recognized, and treatable by way of our individualized substance addiction treatment program.