Tag Archives: psychological help

Phentermine And Alcohol

Prescription medications are some of the most abused substances. This is largely due to the fact that they are easy to access and can carry “desirable” effects.

Prescription drugs are sometimes abused with alcohol to emphasize or increase the effect of the substance.

However, mixing prescriptions with alcohol is never a wise idea. Many substances, like phentermine, are known to have unpleasant or even dangerous effects when mixed with alcohol.

Breakdown of Phentermine

Phentermine–also known by its brand names as Adipex P or Lomaira–belongs to a unique stimulant subclass of drugs known as anorectics.

Doctors prescribe anorectics to help patients overcome obesity. Due to its unique effect of hunger suppression with few-to-no side effects, it is a valuable medication for individuals who are experiencing health complications due to weight.

The side effects of phentermine are relatively mild compared to some other prescription drugs. While there are some rare side effects that can be dangerous, the most common reported symptoms are usually just ‘unpleasant.’

Common side effects of phentermine include: Faster Heart Rate Pins and Needles Dry Mouth Trouble Sleeping Constipation Nervousness

In the brain, phentermine causes the release of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is responsible for the brain’s reaction to stress responses and emergency situations.

The medication suppresses the hunger sensation in the brain and also acts upon the rest of the body by releasing adrenaline and epinephrine. Together, these two chemicals communicate to the body to break down fat, further helping the treatment of obesity.

Phentermine diminishes in effectiveness over time, so prescriptions for it are usually short-term. Three months is around the maximum amount of time that a phentermine prescription lasts.

After as few as three weeks, the effectiveness of the substance weakens, and the treatment no longer benefits the patient. The eventual lack of effectiveness seems inevitable, but tolerance might not be to blame.

Though the substance might appear to be dangerous if taken for extended periods of time, there has been little demonstrated abuse potential for phentermine.

Phentermine Abuse Potential

Stimulants are notorious for having substances that have a high potential for abuse: methamphetamine and cocaine are two of the most recognizable illicit substances.

However, not all stimulants hold the potential for abuse. Despite multiple studies exploring the potential for abuse of phentermine, no recorded cases have emerged.

Phentermine also does not appear to affect withdrawal symptoms upon users. This likely has to do with the way that the substance interacts with the chemicals of the brain.

While a chemical dependence to phentermine is extremely unlikely to develop, psychological dependence might be another story.

Many addictive substances interact with either dopamine or serotonin. Since phentermine interacts only with norepinephrine, this might explain why patients who have taken it for long periods of time do not experience withdrawal symptoms.

While a chemical dependence to phentermine is extremely unlikely to develop, psychological dependence might be another story.

Psychological dependence has to do with an individual’s specific thoughts, perceptions, and attitudes towards a substance. Even if a substance is not chemically addictive, someone who takes it for an extended period of time might become so accustomed to the pattern, that it forms an attachment phenomenon mirroring addiction.

For phentermine, this might become a problem since it inhibits hunger. Extreme weight loss as a result of abusing phentermine could bring its own health complications.

Mixing Phentermine And Alcohol

When mixed, the side effects of either alcohol or phentermine may worsen to unpleasant levels. Sometimes “new” side effects may even develop as a direct result of the combination.

One of the major reasons to avoid the combination is due to the area that each of these substances affect.

Both phentermine and alcohol interact with the central nervous system. Together, they may trigger unexpected and unpleasant side effects such as dizziness, trouble concentrating, and mood swings.

Since both phentermine and alcohol can cause an increased heart rate, the combination can cause dangerously irregular cardiac function.

Additionally, alcohol can make losing weight more difficult. Even if no interaction occurs, drinking alcohol–especially in excess–blocks phentermine’s effectiveness by encouraging weight gain. The most serious interaction between the two, however, occurs in the heart.

Since both phentermine and alcohol can cause an increased heart rate, the combination can cause dangerously irregular cardiac function. Individuals dealing with obesity are already at greater risk for heart complications, so this can be especially risky.

It is better to err on the side of caution with phentermine and alcohol and avoid drinking while taking this prescription.

Help for Psychological Dependence and Polysubstance Abuse

Fortunately, phentermine shows very little risk of addiction, but this does not mean it is beyond the capacity for abuse. Psychological dependence can be just as debilitating as chemical dependence–and may even have longer-lasting effects.

If you suspect someone you love may be dependent upon any prescription medication or combining them regularly with alcohol, it’s important to seek professional advice. Reach out to us today to speak with one of our caring, professional staff about how to identify addictive behaviors and practical options.

Chemical Dependency

Though a substance use disorder (SUD) might seem like an easily identifiable problem, they are often made up of multiple layers of pain and struggle.

An individual suffering from an addiction has developed either chemical dependency to a drug, a psychological dependence, or both. Treatment for either requires multiple steps, and can be complex, but there is hope.

Types of Dependence

A SUD usually leads to drug dependence–which often grows into addiction.

Though the one often informs or encourages the other, dependence upon a substance does not necessarily mean that an individual has an addiction. Drug dependence is one sign or step in the progression from sobriety to addiction.

Dependence can form in multiple ways. Though chemical dependency may involve the highest risk, psychological dependence can be habit-forming and debilitating as well.

Psychological dependence can be easily identified by constant thoughts about obtaining or using a drug. Rather than manifesting in physical reactions to the drug, a psychological dependence controls how an individual thinks–and sometimes speaks–about a substance.

Conversely, chemical dependence is evident when an individual has physical symptoms if they take less of the drug, or stop it altogether.

Tolerance or withdrawal are obvious signs that an individual has a chemical dependence to a drug. While they may not “feel” dependent upon it, increasing the amount taken or experiencing side-effects from missing doses indicates that the body/brain has formed a chemical dependency.

Psychological Dependence

Many assume that psychological dependence is (comparatively) less harmful than a chemical dependence. The truth is that this type of substance reliance can have far longer lasting effects on the person after the body has detoxed from chemical dependency.

It is incredibly rare for a person to develop psychological dependence without the presence of a chemical one. However, drugs like cannabis, LSD, and antidepressants are some of the most common substances for individuals to develop a stand-alone psychological dependence.

Constant thoughts about obtaining or using a drug are sign that an individual has a psychological dependence to a substance

Since these substances contain little to no chemically addictive substances, individuals who use them often develop a mental fixation with the drug, where they become dependent on the feelings it gives and use it as a coping mechanism. This is different than when the body and brain develop a chemical dependency at the molecular level.

The symptoms of withdrawal for psychological dependence often manifest as psychosis. Anxiety, agitation, or depression are among the most common symptoms for psychological dependence. Unfortunately, psychological dependence can encourage uncharacteristic behavior and even mental disorders.

Chemical Dependency

Chemical dependence can often be observed through physical effects. As a whole, this type of dependence is much better understood than psychological dependence.

While the brain is incredibly complex, the process associated with the development of chemical dependence remains roughly the same from patient to patient. Substances that cause chemical dependencies impact individuals very similarly, as opposed to the widely varied expressions of psychological dependencies.

Though better understood, chemical dependency to a drug is still incredibly difficult to overcome.

Chemical dependency develops when the brain becomes accustomed to functioning with a substance

Substances that cause chemical dependency often structurally alter the physical processes that occur in the brain. After enough time, the brain becomes accustomed to functioning with the substance. This is why a sudden deficiency of the drug in the body can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Substances like nicotine, alcohol, and even caffeine can cause chemical dependence.

Oftentimes, individuals who develop a dependence will also experience a buildup of tolerance for a substance. As tolerance increases, individuals need more and more of a substance to experience the same effects that, before, only a small dose produced.

The symptoms for chemical dependency vary significantly, but often include shakiness, tiredness, fast heartbeat, or sweating. Which specific symptoms of withdrawal a person experiences depends on the substance used, how much, and for how long.

Coinciding Dependency

Dependence does not necessarily mean addiction, but addictions often involve a combination of psychological and chemical depency

Though some substances do not form chemical dependency, and others do not cause psychological dependence, many substances are capable of causing both types of dependence.

Commonly abused illicit drugs, like heroin or methamphetamine, often result in both chemical and psychological dependence.

The presence of a dependence does not necessarily mean there is an addiction, but addictions often involve a combination of chemical and psychological dependence. As a debilitating disorder, an addiction can interfere with physical processes, as well as regular mental function.

Help for Psychological and Chemical Dependency

An individual experiencing a dependence upon a substance does not guarantee that they have a SUD, but it may be a warning sign for one.

Addictions often form from one or both types of dependence, so it is important for individuals who exhibit symptoms of both to examine whether they may be in danger of forming an addiction.

An individual who is suffering from an addiction may not even realize that they have a problem. If you think a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse disorder, or experiencing a chemical dependency to a substance, contact us. Reach out to see how we can help prevent the progression from dependence to addiction today.

Initial Intake

At Reflections Recovery Center, each patient will go through a psychiatric evaluation. This applies to anyone, no matter what state they believe their mental health to be in. A psychiatric evaluation can be essential for many people in recovery. An initial assessment will allow our team to understand if each patient needs any psychiatric services and to what extent. An evaluation will provide a clear picture of our patient’s history covering mental health, physical health, and anything to do with addiction. The truth is, psychiatric help can prove beneficial for anyone. The most healthy people in the world still need to take care of their physical and mental health. With each patient, we want to have a complete understanding of their behavior and history. This will allow us to identify and treat the underlying causes that contributed to their addiction.

When we talk about underlying causes, we are not saying there is a total lack of personal choice and responsibility. Realistically, any person can become addicted under certain circumstances. Any person can choose to participate in, or abstain from, the consumption for certain substances. While there is a personal choice, clearly not everyone is on the edge of addiction.  It is the underlying causes that may make a person more susceptible. Underlying causes may also be what takes it from occasional use or experimentation to abuse and addiction. With a psychiatric evaluation, we hope to identify psychological, social, and biochemistry issues that might be contributing to addiction. Someone may struggle more deeply with one or it can be a combination of all three problems. Each issue can also feed into the other problems creating a negative cycle.

Mental Health Screening

Identifying and treating mental health problems can help significantly when dealing with addiction. The severity of mental illness is something that can obviously have a wide range. Someone might struggle with a psychological issue and it may not be as severe as other problems. Nevertheless, every person, no matter the severity, should have their mental health taken just as seriously. Many people suffer from mental health disorders and turn to substance abuse to self-medicate. Unfortunately, anxiety is not always perceived to be as serious as other mental health disorders. While it may not be as severe as other disorders, this leads many people to brush it off as something that people should be able to work on by themselves. For anyone struggling with anxiety, this can create a sense of helplessness. Someone may then turn to abusing alcohol or prescription drugs to cope with their undiagnosed and untreated anxiety.

Biochemistry and Addiction

In each patient’s initial evaluation we will also look at their biochemistry with lab testing. This will allow us to look for genetic factors that might be contributing to addiction. We also want to look for any other physical ailments that can be treated. As stated above, anxiety is something that might come up in a psychological assessment. There are of course many ways to treat this, such as medication or various forms of therapy. It could also be the case that someone’s anxiety could be biochemical issues that can also be treated with a holistic approach. With poor nutrition, our bodies deal with inflammation and that greatly impacts our mood. This can leave someone feeling depressed, lethargic, and incredibly anxious.

Identifying Social Issues

The environment that we are each raised in shapes who we are. It can be what makes us unique and capable of doing incredible things. Our social and cultural surroundings can also unfortunately be what drags us down. Some of it is out of our control – our families, where we live, and often our economic status. Illicit drugs may be more widely available in certain places, and this will absolutely be a factor in addiction rates. Cultural elements that can contribute to addiction can include social media, friend groups, and entertainment sources.

These elements are not inherently bad at all, but can quickly become problems. Social media can be isolating and also misleading. It can present the image that users want, which can make substance abuse appear fulfilling when it is not. Entertainment, in many formats, can present a similar image. In particular, alcohol is presented as a means to a happier, more social life. Many people even find humor in stories or behavior that is a result of heavy-drinking. This normalizes heavy-drinking and binge-drinking, which pose significant risks to every person’s health. Understandably, this makes it difficult for most people to recognize when alcohol use turns to abuse and addiction.

Moving Forward

If we can identify the factors that contribute to addiction, we can help our patients work to move past them. We cannot guarantee a complete fix for everything, no one can. However, we can help provide tools for dealing with problems as they arise in life. An article published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine, regarding psychological evaluations, noted, “While in therapy, patients strengthen their motivation, acquire skills supporting them to resist temptation of use, encounter gratifying activities not involving drugs able to replace former ones, and improve their problem solving skills.”* This explains what we want to accomplish at Reflections. We hope to provide all of that so our patients can live a full life and avoid relapse.

With therapy for mental health issues, we can work with patients to provide tools to ease and manage symptoms. Lab testing will give us a closer look at a patient’s biochemistry; we can identify physical issues that are contributing to addiction and keeping them vulnerable. Social issues might seem like a simple fix, but can actually be quite complex. We will need to identify where in the patient’s social environment they may be faced with problems. Is it a friend group that is encouraging use of various substances? It can be incredibly difficult to make a clean break or continue to participate in the same social circle and resist temptation.

A psychiatric evaluation will help provide a comprehensive look at each patient’s history. All patients will be unique in their needs and that is something that can be found at Reflections Recovery Center. We recognize the need for group therapy, but also individualized help. With everything we provide, we want each patient to walk away better equipped to maintain sobriety and to also live a full life in every aspect.

*Resources:
The relevance of the psychological evaluation in drug dependence – NIH