What is Motivation?
Motivation is described in the dictionary as both a noun and a verb. It can be the reason for a force of action or the force of action itself. Motivation is a want or a desire to do something that results in a specific outcome.
There are many factors behind motivation. Some motivations are personal, some are career oriented and some revolve around societal pressures.
Find out what motivates you and why. Discovering the psychology behind motivation can be a huge step toward motivational patterns that move you closer to your goals.
Types of Motivation
Human beings are hardwired to want things. In the beginning we wanted food, shelter, safety and community in the form of a tribe. Our brains were hardwired to keep the species alive, so we wanted to procreate.
In modern day society, most of us don’t need to search for food and shelter and community as though our lives depended on it. We don’t even need to procreate if we want anymore; the world is overpopulated.
Yet we still have the drive for things. We want jobs that pay us money, so we don’t have to fear going hungry or losing our homes. We also want job satisfaction. We want to do good things and be commended for our efforts. We want satisfaction and recognition from society.
Types of Drive Behind Motivation: Incentives
Incentives are one of the largest motivating factors in modern day society. Incentives are why we do what we do. They are the end result of our struggles.
An incentive could be the exciting title of a new job. It could be the additional money that comes with that job.
Incentives started when we were small. If we were good, we got a gold star for the day. If we behaved in public, we got a dessert. They are essentially rewards for a job well done.
In our adult lives, these incentives still give us the push we need to succeed. Want to lose weight? Remember fitting into that bikini every time you reach for a cookie. Want to make more money? Keep a photo of your new car above your computer at work when staying at the office late.
Types of Drive Behind Motivation: Self-Control
Self-control as long been thought of as a superior quality in some humans. Some believe that it exists and others believe that it is simply a combination of incentive and societal pressures. The woman at the gym wants people to believe she is perfect, so she works out diligently. Perhaps she wants to believe she is perfect, so she doesn’t eat carbs.Some scholars believe that self-control can be a motivating factor. This idea is hotly debated. Self-control could be that svelte woman you see at the gym. She only eats salad and exercises everyday because her brain has been hardwired to be superior to everyone else’s.
Types of Drive Behind Motivation: External Motivation
Many people use external factors to motivate themselves. Many of us are motivated by societal pressures and the desire to fit in. We want to look like the people in the movies and magazines. We want to be heralded for our volunteer efforts. We want to be the “cool” girl, the guy you want to have a beer with and the perfect parent.
We sometimes also feel external forces at work because of other people’s wants and desires. The credit card company wants you to make a payment, so they put a little pressure on you and start calling you day after day. We want the calls to stop, so we become motivated to make a payment.
Types of Drive Behind Motivation: Push-Pull Factors
Push-pull factors refer to what’s pushing us toward a goal and pulling us from another form of action. These are also often external factors, but they can have internal forces too.
Say you hate your apartment. Your upstair’s neighbor’s bathtub keeps flooding, and water keeps flowing into your apartment and ruining your things. Your other neighbor’s dog barks all day. People smoke cigarettes outside your window all evening. These are push factors that might motivate you to find a new apartment.
Say you find an apartment online that is brand new. The neighbors are all heavily screened. There is a great grocery store nearby, and there are tons of coffee shops within walking distance. Plus, the rent is very affordable. These are all pull factors that might motivate you to move.
Types of Drive Behind Motivation: Self-Determination
Another hardwired motivational tool us humans have is self-determination. This is very similar to self-control. The main difference is that self-determination in itself can be a driving force. Sometimes we don’t even know why we want what we want. Maybe we’ve always dreamed of being a marine biologist and taken all the steps to get to that career. Many years later we might look back and wonder why we wanted that goal in the first place. The answer is often self-determination.
Self-determination is hardwired in our brains to keep our species alive. It’s the energy that can drive us toward our desire for safety, love and acceptance.
Sometimes our motivation gets thwarted. Perhaps we ate all the right foods for three weeks straight but didn’t lose a single pound. Perhaps we sent out resumes to 50 companies but didn’t get a single hit. When we don’t get the results we desire, our motivation can crumble.
Some people with self-determination might keep moving forward or begin looking for a new plan. These types of obstacles are typical in life, so planning for failure is one way to stick to our goals.
Yet often people self-sabotage. We did everything we were supposed to. We kept up our end of the bargain, but fate dealt us a bad hand. We’ll show fate! Let’s eat an entire chocolate cake! Most people don’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake. Yet when we don’t see the prize at the end of the tunnel, we often sabotage our efforts.
Motivation in Different Environments
Motivation can be present in many different environments, and each environment has its own set of rules and actions that can govern motivation.
Motivation in the Workplace
Motivation in the workplace can make employees more productive and allow bosses to produce results. The motivational factors are often societal since we find workplace acceptance and recognition a major prize. They can also be incentive driven as many places of business reward good work with financial incentives.
Humans are often looking for ways to improve themselves. We often find ourselves asking the question, “How can I be a better person?” This type of improvement can include physical goals, professional goals and societal goals. We might find a cause that is close to the heart. We might want to clean up our city. We might want to change something that angers us about the world. This type of motivation is hardwired in our brains to ensure we think of the group and not just the individual.
Personal goals can be motivational factors to improve our own lives. We might want to make a certain amount of money by a certain age. We might want to have achieved a certain number of goals by the time we hit a certain age. These goals help us feel content and happy about our lives. They remind us that all of our hard work is for a reason.
As you can see, humans need motivation for many reasons. Originally, we needed motivation to stay alive. Now we need motivation to feel fulfilled and to advance society. Motivation has many driving forces, but in the end we all want the same things: safety, acceptance and love.
-sourced from http://www.thebabbleout.com
Early recovery includes the first 90 days of sobriety and can last up to the first year or so of recovery. The truth is, there’s no agreement on what constitutes “early recovery,” but what you’ll find here should be a good overview of this important time and offer you guidance on some tried-and-true ways to help sustain your recovery. You may, though, hear other definitions for this period in your sobriety.
What’s most important to understand is that early recovery is an opportunity for you to start fresh. You are now sober, perhaps for the first time in a very long time. This definitely will entail a lot of work (no question about that), and you may find that everything around you feels very real all of a sudden. You may find that various emotions come and go rapidly, without warning. Take this time to understand what you’re feeling, exactly, how to feel and allow yourself to process what it is you’re feeling, even if it is scary or just unfamiliar. This may involve a daily and even a minute-by-minute struggle. The fact is, recovery, just like whatever treatment you were given for your addiction(s), is unique to each person. There’s no straight path that every single addict follows. Here are some things you can do to stay the course and ensure you maintain your recovery in the early days, beyond the first three months or so:
Make time for play. Now that you’re in early recovery, you’ve likely realized that staying sober is a lot of hard work and it can be exhausting — and you’re likely ready for some playtime; you’ve earned it, after all. Taking time to enjoy yourself with healthy activities and relationships is an excellent way to add joy to your day and embrace life in recovery. What you choose to do in your playtime is entirely up to you — and it doesn’t have to be elaborate or take up a big chunk of time to be worthwhile. If you love reading, for example, take some time to loose yourself in a favorite book. Or, say music really gets you enthused, create a favorite playlist for your ride to and from work, school, 12-step meetings and daily errands. If you have kids, you may even want to involve them by taking a trip to the park or local museum. Whatever you choose, think of playtime as a much-needed opportunity to unwind, relax and rejuvenate. And, perhaps, the best part: You’ll be better prepared mentally to tackle those scheduled recovery tasks (meetings, counseling, goal setting) once you’ve played a little.
Be proud of milestones. In the world of 12-step programs, anniversaries and other milestones are a big deal, first celebrated by the awarding of plastic chips to acknowledge 24 hours, 30 days, 60 days and then 90 days of sobriety. At the one-year milestone, you’ll receive a bronze coin. Most people in recovery look on their first-year anniversary as the time when their sober life truly began to take form and shape. It’s a celebration of the hard work it took to get to this point in your recovery, and recognition of an achievement in creating a solid foundation of recovery.
Try not to let urges upset you. It’s common for cravings to surface in early recovery – even years after successfully being in recovery, sometimes. The fact that you have cravings shouldn’t be cause for concern; it’s how you handle them that matters most. It’s often said that if you can make it through 20 minutes (about the length of time a craving lasts), you’ll be fine. Distract yourself with games, reading, chores, work, exercise, calling a friend or your sponsor or prayer. Even a simple counting exercise can break the spell. If your cravings don’t hew to the 20-minute rule, monitor how long they last then develop your coping strategies accordingly.
Mix up meetings. If you’ve decided to go the 12-step route, part of this process will, of course, include regularly attending meetings. Pick one location to serve as your main hub, so to speak — that is, the one meeting you commit to attending each week regardless of any other meetings you go to; your home group is most likely the one where your sponsor is. But you’ll probably also want to mix up meetings to keep things from getting too rote or boring. So, from time to time, try out different locations; you’ll get a feel for the personalities and group energy at each of these and will undoubtedly find one or more other groups that naturally appeal to you. This mix can be crucial in helping you to keep a fresh perspective and continue to learn. Plus, you’ll widen your circle of sober friends and acquaintances.
Choose friends wisely. By now you know that you need to steer clear of all the people, places and other influences that made you more likely to use. If you try to maintain friendships with those who continue to drink, do drugs or engage in other addictive behaviors, you may realize that you have little or nothing in common anymore. More important, they are likely to jeopardize your sobriety. For example, anyone who’s tried to drink soda while their friends get loaded or stoned can attest to the fact that once you’ve adopted a sober lifestyle with conviction, being around falling-down drunks just isn’t that appealing.
Which is not to say it’s going to be easy to part with some of these old friendships or to break long-standing patterns of hanging out at happy hour with co-workers. You can either be upfront about it, explaining that you’re in recovery and choose not to use, or you can politely excuse yourself and simply say that you have other obligations. It’s really up to you; what’s important is that you find a way to remove yourself from these triggers. If you continue to hang out with people who use your drug(s) of choice, there may soon come a time when you say, for example, “What the heck? Give me a drink.” Before you know it, you’ve relapsed. Why take the chance? Early recovery is just too soon to put yourself in these potentially jeopardizing situations.
Prepare yourself for PAWS. Many addicts don’t see post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS)coming. This condition, which can last from one month to several years after you stop using, includes a variety of symptoms, ranging from irritability, sleep troubles and intermittent anxiety to prolonged depression. Often, there’s an accompanying lack of motivation that can make doing regular things — going to work, eating dinner or watching a movie, for example — nearly unbearable. About half the time, these symptoms will simply disappear over the course of your recovery. For the other half, though — especially if you’re experiencing depression and it’s not going away — you will want to talk with your health care provider about the possibility of taking an antidepressant and/or starting talk therapy with cognitive-behavioral and other strategies.
Avoid dating. The “one-year rule” for waiting on romance/sex has been long used by AA and other self-help groups as a way to help safeguard recovery. The reason: Caring for yourself should be your primary objective now and a relationship can distract you from those efforts. You’re also still learning about yourself — and especially your new self, without drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex or whatever you used. This means you may not be in the best place to judge who would be a suitable partner. It’s also important to note that it’s easy to become addicted to the high of a new relationship and/or sex. (This, of course, is particularly dangerous for those who are in recovery from love, sex and/or porn addiction(s).)
Continue to work on making amends. Making amends to those whom you’ve wronged is likely part of your recovery plan, especially if you attend 12-step meetings. This step can take a few days or many years to finish; there’s no set timeline. By making amends, you’re setting past wrongs or repairing any damage caused by mistakes you made. The exception, however, is if doing so would cause more harm. Making amends is more than just praying and meditating on these mistakes, but whenever possible, taking action to repair what needs to be fixed. If you stole money from a family member to pay a gambling debt, for example, making amends would mean paying back the money.
Watch out for overconfidence. After being in recovery for a while, it may start to seem like you’ve got it all down. You know what to do and you’ve begun to feel like you can handle any situation. As a result, you may let some of your regular recovery to-do items slide, like regularly attending 12-step meetings or practicing self-care habits like healthy eating or exercising. If you find yourself becoming complacent or overly confident about your sobriety, you may need to reassess and reinvest in your recovery program.
Recognize the signs of relapse. Knowing the signs of relapse can give you the time to take proactive steps to avoid slipping back into using. For some, a single trigger can signal relapse is on the way. The key is learning how to recognize the warnings and reaching out for support at the first sign of trouble. Some common signs include:
- Increasing feelings of hopelessness or negativity
- Easily angered or annoyed
- Complacency or overconfidence
- Increased stress
- Skipping meetings
- Putting yourself in risky situations
- Loss of interest in family, friends and activities
Apply the rules of healthy living. Addiction takes a tremendous toll on the body as well as the mind, and it’s very common for addicts to neglect basic self-care. To build your body back up, it’s crucial that you eat regular, well-balanced, nutritious meals; get ample, good-quality sleep each night so you wake up refreshed, renewed and ready to take on the day; and schedule some time every day to be physically active and to de-stress. All are crucial not just for regaining your health, but also to ensure you have the fortitude to stay sober, in early recovery and beyond. Visit the Healthy Living section for more tips.
Develop your spiritual side. You’ve been through a lot. So it’s natural to feel physically, emotionally and spiritually drained by the experience. As you make your way through recovery, take the time to reawaken (or awaken for the first time) your spirituality; many people in recovery find that doing so can greatly enhance quality of life and strengthen recovery. You don’t need to be a religious person to be spiritual; a spiritual connection can be cultivated through mindfulness meditation, yoga or simply walking in nature. Mantras, prayers and affirmations can help reinforce both your spiritual self and your commitment to a sober, healthy life.
Take time to have fun. Having a good time without using may be a brand-new experience for you, so it can definitely take some patience and practice to figure this out. Start simple and go to a funny movie or comedy show with a friend, or work on a hobby. Maybe a visit to a spa, or redecorating a room, is more therapeutic for you. Whatever it is you find relaxing and fulfilling is ultimately good for your recovery.
“Feel your feelings.” Sit in on a couple of 12-step meetings and this is one of the recovery buzz phrases that you’re sure to hear. Seasoned members have learned (often the hard way) that one of the biggest mistakes those in early recovery can make is to deny the emotional place in which you find yourself. Convinced that emotions are less important than actions, or that you’re unjustified, unreasonable or unspeakable, you may ignore, avoid or “stuff” them. When you dismiss feelings as silly, unfounded or not worth exploring, they don’t go away, though; they simply move underground, so to speak, to a place where they can come back later. While it’s true that emotions shouldn’t rule us, it’s also true that moving from a life of addiction — with all of its established characteristics and predictable outcomes — to a life of sobriety is going to produce difficult, uncomfortable feelings. Do your best to look at these honestly and give yourself space and time to sort them out, as they arise.
Mind your financial responsibilities. Who doesn’t feel stressed out by bills? You may have a mountain of these to deal with following treatment, too. If you’re just getting back on your feet, it’s tempting to bury bill in a drawer or just ignore them completely. But as you’ve learned from your treatment, if you leave things untended long enough, they’ll only get worse. Part of structuring your environment in early recovery is making a serious effort to stay on top of your finances. Even if you can’t pay all your bills right now, you can talk to a financial counselor to come up with a plan that will put you on track to eventually meet your obligations. Ask your 12-step sponsor or a friend or family member for a recommendation, or call your creditors yourself and work out a repayment schedule. Even if you’re behind on your mortgage, most lenders would much rather receive some payment each month than have to foreclose on your property.
Keep in mind that walking away from your monetary responsibilities carries some long-term consequences and is especially damaging to your credit. But perhaps even more important is the fact that abandoning your responsibilities goes against what you’ve learned about being in recovery. Though it is not your fault that you have an addiction, you do need to accept responsibility for your actions. And your financial responsibilities are part of that.
Set, and complete, goals. It’s important to carve out some time in your schedule for creating recovery goals. You need time to think, dream and create short- and long-term goals and the action plans to go along with each. Begin with a more easily attainable goal, like being on time for work every day, or taking your child out for ice cream after school once a week. Think of your goal-setting as an ongoing process, one that you will never be done with. It’s important to continually strive for something on the horizon that gets you closer to the life you want to live — even if that may seem a little nebulous in these early days of your recovery.
-sourced from addiction.com
With the holiday season fast approaching, you can never prepare to early that’s why we have prepared 12 tips for staying clean and sober during holiday time.
Remaining sober can be especially hard during the holidays. Family gatherings, holiday parties, and other social occasions can be very difficult for someone who is in early recovery. Thoughts of past holiday occasions often bring up memories of celebratory drinking, drugs, or gambling.
Although it can be very hard to get used to the idea of a sober holiday season, especially when other people around you are seemingly having a great time celebrating by using substances or gambling, completing a stay at a treatment center is an accomplishment that you should be proud of.
Take this opportunity to celebrate not only the holidays, but also your new life of sobriety, which is something really worth celebrating. If you find yourself struggling during the holiday season, please remember that you are not alone. Help is only a phone call or meeting away! Here are helpful and practical 12 Tips for Staying Clean to make staying sober easier:
1 Plan each and every day of your holiday season: Plan to spend the majority of your time with friends and family who are supportive of your recovery.
2 Find a meeting in your area: Many groups have special meetings during the holidays to share their experience, strength and hope. Check the local papers for a meeting in your area.
3 Ask for support from family and friends: Those who are truly supportive of your recovery will be happy to help you throughout the holidays.
4 Have a list of ten people you can call: Make a list and check it twice. Carry your cell phone and list of names at all times.
5 Don’t forget about regular exercise: Regular exercise is an essential component of any balanced recovery program.
6 Stay away from slippery places: There is absolutely no reason to ever check out your former favorite establishments.
7 Create new traditions to replace your old using patterns: Buy a new board game or take the family on a sleigh ride. Use your imagination, be creative, & have fun.
8 Write out a daily gratitude list: The quickest cure to get you out of the holiday blues is by counting your blessings and being grateful for what you have every morning.
9 Volunteer your services to a charitable organization: There are many people in your community who are less fortunate than you. You will be helping not only the needy but yourself!
10 Write a letter to yourself – “How I stayed sober over the holidays:” The act of writing your ideas on paper is very powerful. Write down all the activities and events that will help you have healthy, happy, and sober holiday season.
11 Avoid H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely , Tired): If you are hungry, get something to eat. If you are angry, talk to somebody about it. If you are lonely, go to a meeting or call a friend. If you are tired, get a good night’s sleep.
12 Live one day at a time and enjoy your sobriety: Stay in the moment and live one day at a time. Never mind about what happened or what could happen. Enjoy today. Live today. Celebrate your sobriety!
Steroids and the Olympics
Anabolic steroids, a catch-all term for male hormones, are the oldest and still the most widely used banned drugs in the Olympics — nearly half of banned substances detected in drug tests are steroids.
Testosterone is the most recognised doping steroid — it was first made in 1935 to treat men deficient in male sex hormones.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) bans any drug that increases testosterone.
Steroids build muscle size and strength and reportedly let athletes train and compete harder and recover more quickly from intensive training.
These strength and endurance-building properties mean Olympic weightlifters, athletes and cyclists most often test positive for steroids.
The ban on steroids has led athletes to use a range of drugs that indirectly increase testosterone levels by stimulating cells to produce more of it in the body.
These agents, together with “designer steroids” made specifically for doping athletes, are difficult to detect because they act on the the body in different ways to naturally occurring steroids.
Athletes will also use smaller, repeated doses to avoid testing positive, and stop doping before competition.
But out-of-competition testing, which athletes are subject to at any time without warning, has made this tactic more risky — and more sensitive testing has identified athletes using low-dose doping regimens.
Ken Fitch, former Australian Sports Drug Medical Advisory Committee chairman, said more sophisticated testing technology was part of the reason for positive tests recently identified from samples taken during the Beijing and London Olympics.
Steroids can have serious side effects on liver and heart function, and fertility.
Muscles need oxygen to function and if athletes can increase the concentration of oxygen in the blood, they can increase their endurance levels.
One way of doing this, which is not banned, is altitude training.
At high altitudes, the air has less oxygen.
The body compensates by producing more red blood cells, which means the muscles get more oxygen.
Athletes initially used the dangerous practice of “blood doping” to increase red blood cell numbers, a method first used in the 1970s and still banned by WADA.
They donated a quantity of their own blood a few months before competition, stored it and then re-infused it before competing.
But then synthetic oxygen-boosting drugs came along, the best known of which is the banned substance erythropoietin.
Not only that, but it disappears from the body within a few days.
A test developed in Australia was first used at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney to identify erythropoietin in urine, but it did not identify any positives.
But the Australian experts from the Institute of Sport had also developed another method that could identify athletes who had used erythropoietin weeks before — by looking at how indirect markers in their blood had changed.
Now anti-doping authorities find blood dopers by looking for abnormalities in indirect markers of blood doping in samples taken from athletes over time, called the athlete’s biological passport (ABP).
In June this year, Australian Olympian Jared Tallent was awarded the gold medal for the 50-kilometre walk in the London Olympics after Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin, who finished first, was disqualified following an abnormal ABP.
Cycling and athletics are the sports where hormones that increase oxygen supply are most often detected.
Blood doping can cause heart attacks and stroke and many athletes have died after using erythropoietin.
Scientists worked out how to make growth hormone to treat children with growth deficiencies.
Athletes take growth hormone and other growth factors because they reportedly boost muscle mass and power.
But there is little clinical evidence these effects are real and growth hormone is most often used in a cocktail of drugs with steroids.
Growth hormones are very hard to detect because they are present in the blood and urine at very low levels and disappear quickly from the bloodstream.
A growth hormone test was first used at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and Russian powerlifters Nikolay Marfin and Vadim Rakitin were disqualified before the London 2012 Paralympics when they tested positive for it.
Side effects of growth hormone include high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
WADA also bans a range of drugs that alter metabolism.
WADA has banned a series of drugs they call “masking agents”, which make other banned drugs harder to detect.
Some masking agents act by stopping particular drug products forming in the urine.
Plasma expanders work by increasing the volume of blood, which hides erythropoietin or other red blood cell boosters.
Diuretics, which boost urine production, are also classed as masking drugs.
This is less of a concern with more sensitive drug detection, but diuretics are still banned because they can cause fast weight loss in sports like boxing and weightlifting.
Such weight loss would let an athlete unfairly compete in a lower weight category.
Australian Olympic team wrestler Vinod Kumar was suspended for four years last month following a positive drug test and will not compete for Australia in Rio.
According to media reports, he reportedly tested positive for a diuretic
Uppers and downers
Stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine can improve endurance, increase alertness and make athletes less tired.
Mixtures of stimulants, including the poison strychnine, heroin, cocaine and caffeine, were used by athletes until the 1920s.
They are all banned by WADA, except for caffeine.
Likewise, drugs that have a calming effect are also banned, but only in particular sports.
Beta-blockers are drugs that control heart rate, hand tremor and anxiety, an advantage in any sport where a steady hand is important.
They are banned in archery and shooting, though only during competition, not in training.
North Korean shooting double medallist Kim Jong-Su was stripped of his medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after he tested positive for a beta-blocker.
It is used to treat angina, a heart condition that causes chest pain through lack of oxygen.
In athletes it improves their oxygen use.
Gene doping is the new frontier of doping in sport.
The idea is that a gene is transferred into the cells of the body to change the levels of genes and therefore proteins — to improve performance.
Gene therapy was developed to replace defective genes or proteins in people who have genetic diseases.
Erythropoietin is an obvious target for gene doping and a genetically modified erythropoietin to treat anaemia in cancer patients has already been developed.
It works by adding a modified erythropoietin gene to the patient, which responds to low oxygen concentrations in the blood.
Gene doping is very difficult to detect because the introduced genes cause proteins to be expressed that are very similar to those the body produces naturally.
But putting foreign genes into the body irreversibly alters body chemistry and is fraught with risk.
WADA bans all forms of gene doping even though there is no test for it.
Professor Fitch said that without a test to detect gene doping, it was impossible to know if athletes were already doing it.
-sourced from http://www.abc.net.au/
Mandrax, Buttons, Whitepipes etc…
Mandrax is a trade name for methaqualone, a pharmaceutical depressant. It is a synthetic drug that is compiled by means of the mixing of chemicals in a chemical process and a tablet is then produced. At one point, it was known as a safe and non-dependent drug. People even called it an miracle cure, being prescribed as a sleep aid and to reduce high blood pressure and anxiety attacks.
Eventually serious side effects of Mandrax were seen, even life threatening when taking with Alcohol, and that it could cause psychological and physical dependency. Because of its misuse, it was banned in many parts of the world. However this did not stop its illegal production and distribution by crime syndicates in the following countries: India, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa, and The Far East.
Mandrax was originally created as a sleep aid, being used to help reduce high blood pressure and anxiety attacks. However this highly addictive depressant medication was quickly outlawed once its life threatening side effects were recognized. Today it is illegally produced by means of clandestine laboratories. South Africa is the largest abuser of Mandrax in the world.
While it typically comes in pill form, the substance is smoked to get a greater “Rush”. Many people who have developed a tolerance to the drug will then begin to take Mandrax with small amounts of Dagga to achieve the desire affects. Mandrax can cause people to become physically dependent on it and have severe withdrawal symptoms in rehabilitation.
Signs and Symptoms:
- serious emotional problems
- drastic weight loss
- stomach cramps
- toxic psychosis
- loss of muscle control
SIGNS OF ABUSE
- yellow stained hands
- bloodshot eyes
- gaunt appearance
- rotten teeth
- unnatural sleeping patterns
- loss of appetite
- increased saliva secretion
- swollen abdomen
Mandrax is a highly addictive drug that produces severe symptoms of withdrawal during rehabilitation. This is why most patients suffering from an Mandrax addiction require detoxification to control cravings and symptoms of withdrawal, allowing them to safely work though the withdrawal period. Patient also go through extensive therapy and counseling session to get to the root cause of the addiction, getting a full understanding of their addiction and developing the key skills needed to maintain their sobriety in their day to day lives.
But what should you do in order to maintain your recovery successfully? How can you react to the little signs of risk when they appear, and prevent larger damage? How can you cope with life after getting sober? In this article, we explain what you can do to make sure you are headed in the right direction on the addiction recovery road. Then, we invite your questions and feedback in the comments section below.
Identify And Mend Signs Of Trouble Down The Recovery Road
When you are driving or are on a road trip and you don’t fix the small leaks, rattles, and squeaks when they pop up, you’re going to find yourself broken down somewhere down the road. Remember that a tiny drip becomes a drop. A drop becomes a tiny puddle, and before you know it you’ll be spewing oil everywhere and wonder what the hell happened.
Catch the small problems in your recovery when they’re small. Don’t put things off. So, what can you do to keep up a healthy addiction recovery program? How to stay on track?
REMEMBER: Diagnose, Repair, Maintain.
All this is really pretty simple.
Sustaining Your Recovery: What TO DO
Within this article you will find a 10 point recovery checklist which will be your guide to keep your recovery running strong and out of the repair shop.
Would you leave for a cross country road trip without checking your fluids, tire pressure, and lights?
I didn’t think so.
Most guys put more time and energy into maintaining their vehicles than they do maintaining their lives. Don’t do this.
Do this instead…
10 Guidelines For Addiction Recovery Maintenance
1. Make sure you are being honest with yourself and others at all times. No exceptions.
If you are not willing to be honest with yourself, there is no way you’re going to be honest with anyone else. Lying to yourself and pretending that you’re okay when you are not will put you back in the repair shop quickly and you won’t see the breakdown coming until it’s too late.
Be honest, even if it upsets others. It is not your responsibility to determine how they will react to your honesty. It’s much easier to tell the truth the first time, man up and face your consequences than it is to back track wondering what you said to who and why you said it. Quit fooling yourself and JUST BE HONEST.
2. Regularly attend support meetings to keep yourself fueled.
Thinking that you could drive from Michigan to California on one tank of gas is a pipe dream. Unless you’ve got a 200 gallon gas tank, it ain’t gonna happen. You know those places that sell gas? They’re everywhere. They need to be everywhere, or no one would be going anywhere.
Cars, trucks, and motorcycles need fuel to run. They need to be filled up often to keep running, and so do you. Meetings and support groups are your fuel. Fail to stop for fuel often and you’re going to stall out and be stranded.
3. Fix problems while they are small.
Don’t be the guy that neglects an oil drip, cracked radiator hose, or bald tire. Remember that an oil drip ain’t going to fix itself. It will only get worse. Don’t think that duct taping your radiator hose is going to fix it. It won’t, and it will burst eventually. Replace the thing. A bald tire can be deadly if not changed immediately. Pull the wheel off and change the tire.
If you are encountering small problems in your recovery, remember the sequence: diagnose, repair, maintain. Legal problems? Man up and face em’. Relationship, money, health, or employment issues? FACE THEM. Fix what you can with what you have. Surrender the things you can’t fix to the Master Mechanic.
4. Wash, wax, inspect, and repeat.
Most guys will spend a load of money on their car, truck, or motorcycle. They will only buy premium fuel, synthetic oils, and brand name tires. That’s all fine and dandy, but these same guys won’t spend more than a few bucks on buying healthy food, a gym membership, or going to the doctor. Take care of your body. You’ve busted your butt to get sober, so why would you skimp on the vehicle that’s going to take you through life?
Take care of your health. Honor what God has given you. Get some exercise. Stop eating garbage. Quit smoking already. Get plenty of sleep. Learn to rest and relax. Would you put used oil and fouled out spark plugs in your prized possession? I didn’t think you would, so stop treating your body like it will run forever. It won’t. Take care of it and it will take care of you.
5. Stay on your own lane.
There is a passing lane, a driving lane, and a slow lane. If you are really trying your best to live a life based in recovery, you have no business being in the fast lane. None. The fast lane is for passing, not driving. There are always those jackasses that are constantly hurrying to get somewhere that will drive in the fast lane.
THAT SHOULD NOT BE YOU.
It’s okay to pass, but remember that recovery is a long-term deal. It is the most epic adventure you will ever embark on, so get used to going slow and pacing yourself. You’re not going to get to anywhere worth going by rushing. You are not Dale Earnhardt, Mario Andretti or Evil Knievel. Slow the hell down and enjoy the ride. Remember: God’s time, not yours. You will get there, but not by rushing.
6. Realize that you can’t fix everything. Some things will break and stay broken for a while, and that’s fine.
While it’s a really good idea to fix problems while they’re still small, some things are not for you to fix. You may not have the knowledge, the right tools, or be ready to tackle repairing certain parts of your life. Don’t stress. You need to learn how to change your own oil before you can even begin learning how to overhaul an engine, so don’t take on problems that are not yours to fix in the first place.
If you’re trying to rebuild your relationships, finances, health, or employment, remember that you need to learn how to manage what’s in front of you before you are given more to manage and repair. Why don’t they just let a kid drive when they turn 16? They can’t handle it. It would be a complete shit-show.
A kid learns to drive very slowly and deliberately in driver’s education with the instructor at the helm, ready to react if junior makes a dumb move. You are still learning to drive. Chill out and enjoy the process.
7. Follow the instructions at all times.
There are auto repair manuals for a reason. Don’t think you can do things your own way and be successful. You can’t. When it comes to maintaining your recovery, you’ve got to do what the pros do (people that have been in the program longer than you): Listen, learn, pray, apply, and repeat.
The “instructions” to living a healthy and balanced life in recovery can be found at various support meetings and in various books that are read in these support meetings. If you think you’re slick and can cut corners, go ahead…but you must be willing to deal with whatever consequences come your way for doing a half-hearted job.
FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS AND ASK FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT. DON’T BE A SUPERHERO.
8. Maintain contact with the head mechanic at all times.
If you are made of flesh and bone, you are human. You are not running the shop, and you can’t keep your own car on the road forever. NO ONE knows how to fix everything. You might have some tools, some experience, and fixed many of your own problems, but the HEAD MECHANIC is the ULTIMATE repairman.
You can call your Head Mechanic whatever you want, so be sure you consult Him on a regular basis. He has already fixed plenty of other cars and knows exactly what’s wrong with yours. Trust Him to give you the tools to fix your own problems when you’re ready, or watch Him work his magic and fix them for you. He’s a hell of a good wrench.
9. Expect breakdowns and detours.
I don’t care how well you’ve maintained your vehicle…THINGS STILL BREAK. Things do not always work out how they are supposed to. Plans change. Potholes are everywhere. Roads are closed, tires go flat, and rocks get spit up by 18-wheelers and chip your paint. It’s not your job to control and micro-manage every step of your journey, nor is it your job to predict everything that might go wrong.
Only one mechanic is capable of such things, and that’s the Master Mechanic. If things go wrong – and they will go wrong – adapt, reset, repair, and get back on the road. If that road is closed, ask for directions.
10. Keep a maintenance checklist. Do this daily.
You need to do this. You’ve got to keep track of what’s running well in your life, what’s starting to run a little rich or lean, hot or cold, what’s leaking and what’s not, and keep track of those things. You will not know what’s wrong and what needs to be fixed or maintained if you skip this step. Just do it.
Daily recovery maintenance checklist:
- Was I 100% honest today?
- Have I been checking in with the Head Mechanic?
- Do I owe anyone an amends today?
- Did I do my best to live in the solution, or have I been living in the problem?
- Did I make good use of my time today? Why or why not?
- Was I grateful for what I already have?
- Did I whine or complain about things I do not have? What is this doing for me?
- Have I been to a 12-step meeting or talked to someone in the program today?
- Did I follow the directions to the best of my ability?
- Am I playing well with others?
- Have I been getting regular exercise?
- What kind of fuel have I been putting into my body?
- Have I been working to improve myself today?
- Am I keeping my surroundings neat and tidy?
- Am I regularly checking my motives?
- Am I getting enough rest?
- Am I reading something difficult every day, just for practice?
- Have I been financially responsible today?
- Have I been checking in with the Head Mechanic?
-sourced from addictionblog
A new Open Access study published in the prestigious BMJ journal finds indication that use of benzodiazepines, widely prescribed drugs for treatment of anxiety and insomnia, is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, particularly for long-term users.
These drugs, medically referred to as benzodiazepine receptor agonists, work by increasing the effectiveness of a neurotransmitter called gama-amniobutryic acid (GABA) that impedes sending alert fullness signals to other nerve cells. This action has the complimentary effects of reducing anxiety, increased sedation and muscle relaxation, and benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed to treat general anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, seizures (including status epilepticus), muscle spasms (such as in tetanus cases), restless legs syndrome, alcohol withdrawal, opiate withdrawal syndrome, withdrawal from benzodiazepines themselves, and Ménière’s disease. They may also be used for sedation in certain medical procedures such as endoscopies to reduce tension and anxiety, and impart pain tolerance, and in some surgical procedures to induce amnesia or to reduce anesthesia dose requirements or as the sole agent when IV anesthesia is not available or is contraindicated.
However, a Wikipedia entry notes that concerns about long-term effects of benzodiazepines have been raised since at least 1980, and remain to be fully answered, and cites a 2006 metanalysis of the literature on use of benzodiazepine and nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics, concluding that more research is needed to evaluate long-term effects of hypnotic drugs.
The majority of benzodiazepine problems have been related to long-term as opposed to short-term use, and the article says there is a growing body of evidence of harm resulting form long-term use (ie: longer than 2-4 weeks to three months depending on whose definition of “long term”) of benzodiazepines, especially at higher doses.
An astonishingly prolific range of benzodiazepine drugs are available in many forms, including tablet, capsule and liquid as well as injectable types. The most common variants include: Klonopin (clonazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide),Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Doral (quazepam), Halcion (triazolam), and Rohypnol (flunitrazepam).
Adverse effects of benzodiazepines have been associated with anterograde amnesia and confusion (especially pronounced in higher doses) and sedation, with the elderly in particular being more prone to adverse effects of these drugs, such as confusion, amnesia, ataxia, and hangover effects, and falls.
What are the effects of MDMA?
MDMA has become a popular drug, in part because of the positive effects that a person may experience within an hour or so after taking a single dose. Those effects include feelings of mental stimulation, emotional warmth, empathy toward others, a general sense of well being, and decreased anxiety. In addition, users report enhanced sensory perception as a hallmark of the Ecstasy experience.
Effects of MDMA
Reported Undesirable Effects Effects (up to 1 week post-MMDA, or longer):
- Sleep Disturbances
- Lack of appetite
- Reduced interest in and pleasure from sex
- Significant reductions in mental abilities
Potential Adverse Health Effects:
- Involuntary jaw clenching and teeth grinding
- Muscle cramping
- Blurred vision
- Marked rise in body temperature (hyperthermia)
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
Symptoms of MDMA Overdose:
- High Blood Pressure
- Panic attacks
- Loss of consciousness
As noted, MDMA is not a benign drug, it can produce a variety of adverse health effects, including nausea, chills, sweating, involuntary teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision. MDMA overdose can also occur—the symptoms can include high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, and in severe cases, a loss of consciousness and seizures.1
Because of its stimulant properties and the environments in which it is often taken,the drug is associated with vigorous physical activity for extended periods.2 This can lead to one of the most significant, although rare, acute adverse effects—a marked rise in body temperature (hyperthermia). Treatment of hypothermia requires prompt medical attention, as it can rapidly lead to muscle breakdown, which can in turn result in kidney failure. In addition, dehydration, hypertension, and heart failure may occur in susceptible individuals. It can also reduce the pumping efficiency of the heart, of particular concern during periods of increased physical activity, further complicating these problems.
MDMA is rapidly absorbed into the human bloodstream, but once in the body, it metabolites interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize, or break down, the drug. As a result, additional doses of the drug can produce unexpectedly high blood levels, which could worsen the cardiovascular and other toxic effects of this drug. MDMA also interferes with the metabolism of other drugs, including some of the adulterants that may be found in Ecstasy tablets.
In the hours after taking the drug it produces significant reductions in mental abilities. These changes, particularly those affecting memory, can last for up to a week, and possibly longer in regular users. The fact that MDMA markedly impairs information processing emphasizes the potential dangers of performing complex or skilled activities, such as driving a car, while under the influence of this drug.
The Neurobiology of Ecstasy (MDMA)
Over the course of a week following moderate use of the drug, many drug users report feeling a range of emotions, including anxiety, restlessness, irritability, and sadness that in some individuals can be as severe as true clinical depression. Similarly, elevated anxiety, impulsiveness, and aggression, as well as sleep disturbances, lack of appetite, and reduced interest in and pleasure from sex have been observed in regular MDMA users. Some of these disturbances may not be directly attributable to MDMA, but may be related to some of the other drugs often used in combination with MDMA, such as cocaine or marijuana, or to adulterants commonly found in MDMA tablets.
What are the short-term effects of crack cocaine?
Crack cocaine causes a short-lived, intense high that is immediately followed by the opposite—intense depression, edginess and a craving for more of the drug. People who use it often don’t eat or sleep properly. They can experience greatly increased heart rate, muscle spasms and convulsions. The drug can make people feel paranoid,1 angry, hostile and anxious—even when they aren’t high.
Regardless of how much of the drug is used or how frequently, crack cocaine increases the risk that the user will experience a heart attack, stroke, seizure or respiratory (breathing) failure, any of which can result in sudden death.
Smoking crack further presents a series of health risks. Crack is often mixed with other substances that create toxic fumes when burned. As crack smoke does not remain potent for long, crack pipes are generally very short. This often causes cracked and blistered lips, known as “crack lip,” from users having a very hot pipe pressed against their lips.
“The only thing on my mind was crack cocaine. And if somebody offers you any of it, you’ll jump at it and take it. It’s like offering a starving man a loaf of bread if he walks for miles….
“Things came to a head for me when I’d been smoking constantly for a couple of weeks. One day I just decided I’d had enough—I couldn’t live like this anymore. And I tried to commit suicide.
“I’m going to have to try and fight….I hope my survival instincts kick in.” —John
What are the long-term effects of crack cocaine?
In addition to the usual risks associated with cocaine use, crack users may experience severe respiratory problems, including coughing, shortness of breath, lung damage and bleeding.
Long-term effects from use of crack cocaine include severe damage to the heart, liver and kidneys. Users are more likely to have infectious diseases.
Continued daily use causes sleep deprivation and loss of appetite, resulting in malnutrition. Smoking crack cocaine also can cause aggressive and paranoid behavior.
As crack cocaine interferes with the way the brain processes chemicals, one needs more and more of the drug just to feel “normal.” Those who become addicted to crack cocaine (as with most other drugs) lose interest in other areas of life.
“I retired as a successful corporate exec who had put two daughters through college and had earned my retirement. My retirement party was, however, the beginning of five years of hell. That was when I was introduced to crack cocaine for the first time. Over the next five years, I would lose my home, my wife, all my financial resources, my health and almost my life. I also spent two years in prison.” —William
PHYSICAL & MENTAL EFFECTS
Because it is smoked, the effects of crack cocaine are more immediate and more intense than that of powdered cocaine.
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature
- Contracted blood vessels
- Increased rate of breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior
- Hallucinations, hyperexcitability, irritability
- Tactile hallucination that creates the illusion of bugs burrowing under the skin
- Intense euphoria
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Intense drug craving
- Panic and psychosis
- Convulsions, seizures and sudden death from high doses (even one time)
- Permanent damage to blood vessels of ear and brain, high blood pressure, leading to heart attacks, strokes and death
- Liver, kidney and lung damage
- Severe chest pains
- Respiratory failure
- Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
- Malnutrition, weight loss
- Severe tooth decay
- Auditory and tactile hallucinations
- Sexual problems, reproductive damage and infertility (for both men and women)
- Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion
- Irritability and mood disturbances
- Increased frequency of risky behavior
- Delirium or psychosis
- Severe depression
- Tolerance and addiction (even after just one use)
Kat, Cat, Methcathinone, Khat
Methcathinone is largely unknown in the West, but this white crystalline powder, commonly known as “cat” and sometimes “bathtub speed,” has gained a major foothold in South Africa.
It is “almost as addictive as crack” by some accounts, but also much milder in its effects, like a more manageable speed or souped-up Ritalin. South African rehabilitation centers are reporting that its use is growing out of the typical 17-25 age bracket and starting to span the generations.
Methcathinone’s popularity is in part due to its ease of manufacture. Amateur chemistry is often tricky — synthesizing MDMA takes degree-level precision, while synthesizing speed requires specialized equipment and the sort of molecules that governments normally put on watchlists.
Cat is far simpler to make, requiring ephedrine, (easily bought in cold and medications), acetone (or paint solvent from a local hardware store), and sulfuric acid. In terms of equipment, the process requires a strainer, then a microwave or a hair-dryer, and a fridge.
At anywhere between 20 and 60 South African rand per wrap ($1.70 to $5.15), this is partly why cat is now chasing at the heels of methamphetamine to be South Africa’s sixth-largest drug of abuse.
While it has pockets of popularity across the country, the drug’s chief national stronghold is the Gauteng province, that includes South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, and capital, Pretoria. It can be swallowed or smoked but the most effective kick comes from snorting.
“It’s viewed as the poor mans’ coke,” Wayne Kellsal, who runs the Step Away treatment center, told VICE News. “Cocaine is rather costly here, and so cat now has very fast-growing demand, along with crystal meth.”
Sandra Pretorius, director of the government rehabilitation clinic SANCA Horizon, told VICE News that the changing admissions she sees suggest a growing market. “It used to be just young adults, between 19 and 26,” she said. “Now that profile has changed: We see teenagers and older people too. It’s become part of a mix of club drugs involving ecstasy, cocaine, and speed.”
Alan, a web designer who just checked out of a private Johannesburg clinic, told VICE News: “I got into the gay scene quite late in life, and at first I found it seemed like a good party drug when I couldn’t afford coke. You could go through one gram of it on a night out, rather than three of coke. You don’t get so much paranoia either. It feels very manageable. It’s a very easy thing to lie to yourself about.”
Michael Morris, from Port Elizabeth, started using cat regularly at 15. He’s now 17 and fresh out of rehab. Morris told VICE News: “Cat is widely used and abused all over South Africa. It is one of the most used drugs in SA, mostly used by white people.” He agreed that it is more satisfying than cocaine, before adding: “But the comedown for me was really bad, it made me depressed and aggressive.”
Cat has two close relatives — speed and khat. Khat is the chewy leaf common to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, often found in Somali cafes in the UK. But, as with many off-radar drugs, cat first came to prominence in the Soviet Union. It was first synthesized in Germany in 1928, then prescribed for use as an anti-depressant in the USSR through the 1930s and 40s. It was banned after the war owing to misuse — though continued to enjoy a strong misuse following in the Soviet Union throughout the 60s and 70s.
At the same time that the Russians were banning it, American pharma company Parke Davis began investigating its use for weight-loss and depression. They ceased their experiments when the addictive dangers of the drug began to reveal themselves. It wasn’t until 1989, when a student working at a Parke Davis lab reportedly smuggled some out into the Michigan area that cat appeared in recreational use in the West. Since then, it has remained an ongoing cult concern in the US Midwest. Apart from South Africa, only New Zealand seems to have a respectable user base.
Cat users gain a state of relaxed alertness and computer programmers and students use it to enhance their productivity. It’s moreish though and in heavy users that can mean one to four days without sleep, with attendant big crashes into depression and sleep-deprivation psychosis.
“In my estimation, I would say it is often as difficult to get off as crack,” said Pretorius. “The difficult part with cat is that one of the side-effects is to dissociate the user from reality and what’s around them. When they’re getting off it, their emotions become very volatile and they’re all over the place. So they tend to come to us as in-patients, and then they tend to need a range of medications, such as benzodiapenes, in order to get off, so getting the right treatment becomes very expensive.”
In rehab, Alan had to go through exactly that catatonia. “The first four days I was there were the longest of my life. Deep depression. People would come in and look at me and I wouldn’t even be able to acknowledge them.”
“We call it ‘cotton wool head,'” explained Pretorius. “People are overstimulated by cat and then when they come to us they get very slow. You ask them a question and by the time they get round to answering you’re about to ask the question again.”
For the already overstretched South African Police Service, cat is nowhere near the top of their priorities, though they do regularly raid mobile cat labs. The chemistry may be easy, but it’s also dangerous — evidence of fires and chemical spills often pock-mark these premises.
At least it smells good. For slightly obscure chemical reasons, the reaction emits an odor that is “like pistachio ice cream.” This is quite different from the chemical taint users reportedly emit after a heavy binge, which is “like cat urine.”
Yet the risks barely matter. As demand continues to grow, the supply will always be there. And as long as it’s so cheap to consume, in a poor country, demand will always be there.
The immediate effects of taking marijuana include rapid heart beat, disorientation, lack of physical coordination, often followed by depression or sleepiness. Some users suffer panic attacks or anxiety.
But the problem does not end there. According to scientific studies, the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, remains in the body for weeks or longer.
MJ smoke contains 50% to 70% more cancer-causing substances than tobacco smoke. One major research study reported that a single cannabis joint could cause as much damage to the lungs as up to five regular cigarettes smoked one after another. Long-time joint smokers often suffer from bronchitis, an inflammation of the respiratory tract.
The drug can affect more than your physical health. Studies in Australia in 2008 linked years of heavy MJ use to brain abnormalities. This is backed up by earlier research on the long-term effects of MJ, which indicate changes in the brain similar to those caused by long-term abuse of other major drugs. And a number of studies have shown a connection between continued MJ use and psychosis.
MJ changes the structure of sperm cells, deforming them. Thus even small amounts of MJ can cause temporary sterility in men. MJ use can upset a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Studies show that the mental functions of people who have smoked a lot of MJ tend to be diminished. The THC in cannabis disrupts nerve cells in the brain affecting memory.
Cannabis is one of the few drugs which causes abnormal cell division which leads to severe hereditary defects. A pregnant woman who regularly smokes MJ or hashish may give birth prematurely to an undersized, underweight baby. Over the last ten years, many children of MJ users have been born with reduced initiative and lessened abilities to concentrate and pursue life goals. Studies also suggest that prenatal (before birth) use of the drug may result in birth defects, mental abnormalities and increased risk of leukemia in children.