What Is Brain Injury From Drug Use
Brain injury resulting from drug or alcohol use can range from minor damage to brain cells to severe physical damage such as in the case of brain hypoxia due to overdose.. Some of these consequences can be more serious and/or persistent, such as in the case of traumatic brain injury , stroke, and WernickeKorsakoff syndrome.1,2,3 Others can include potentially reversible changes such as mild brain atrophy and changes to white matter.4,5
Brain injury or other neurological complications can be a direct or indirect result of substance use. Brain hypoxia can result from an overdose of opioids, for example; this is a result of opioids can significantly decrease the bodys respiratory drive. They can also occur due to poor health and nutrition, accidents, or increased risk-taking behaviors people engage in while theyre intoxicated or because they have a substance use disorder.3,6
Certain substances may have neurotoxic effects at high doses or with chronic exposure. These are substances that may cause damage or injury to brain cells. Taking these substances, especially over longer periods of time or at certain times in the human aging process, could increase your risk of suffering from substance-related brain changes or neurological issues. For example, high-dose or chronic amphetamine use may accelerate and enhance a persons age-related decline in dopaminergic function.1
What Happens When You Take Multiple Drugs At Once
Polydrug abuse taking more than one substance at a time compounds the dangers. Drugs are hard to control, to begin with, but once they get into your brain, there are effects and side effects that you might not even be aware of. When you start combining drugs, the complications multiply.
Most drugs work on levels in your brain. Consider alcohol and blood alcohol content . When you drink alcohol, your BAC increases for a period of time. Eventually, the alcohol in your blood moves to your brain or is filtered out by your liver. Without a new supply of alcohol, your brain eventually clears and goes back to normal.
People who abuse alcohol tend to maintain a constant BAC, which becomes the new normal for their bodies. Because it is normal, they dont realize that theres alcohol in their bloodstream even before they have their first drink of the day. When they add another drug on top of the alcohol, theyre in danger of overdosing without even realizing it.
Many drugs deliver too much of a good thing when it comes to their interaction with the reward system of the brain. Too much plus too much is scary dangerous. All of that pleasure sensation is just going to accelerate the addiction process that much faster. An overload of feel-good chemicals isnt going to feel very good when it wears off. The subsequent low after the high-high could be deadly.
Psychedelic Drug Triggers Growth Of New Brain Cells In Mice
Research in mice has found that N,N-dimethyltryptamine , one of the active ingredients of the psychedelic tea ayahuasca, can spark the creation of new nerve cells and improve spatial learning and performance in memory tasks.
The scientists behind the new study speculate that the drug could serve to treat neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease.
Neurodegenerative diseases involve the progressive loss of nerve cells in affected parts of the brain or, in some cases, in other locations of the nervous system. One way to reverse the damage might be to restore the capacity to produce new nerve cells, which is known as neurogenesis.
The generation of most nerve cells in the human body takes place before birth. However, some studies suggest that the creation of new neurons is possible in adulthood, though other researchers have disputed the findings.
Ayahuasca, a tea that shamans in several South American countries use for ritual and healing purposes, is emerging as a surprising potential source of drugs that could stimulate neurogenesis.
Preliminary studies have shown that the psychedelic brew has antidepressant properties. Its newly reported potential ability to promote the growth of new nerves in the brain may partly explain these effects.
They have now discovered that DMT also stimulates neurogenesis in mice. In addition, it improves their performance in tests of spatial learning and memory.
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Hypoxic Brain Damage From Overdose
Overdoses of certain substances can lead to potentially fatal neurological complications and injuries, including hypoxia, the shortage of oxygen delivery to the brain, and anoxia, meaning the total loss of oxygen that is usually due to hypoxia.17,18
Hypoxic brain injury can occur due to respiratory depression, a serious consequence of opioid overdose.19 In addition to being a particular risk with opioids , use of benzodiazepines, alcohol, or other sedatives can also lead to respiratory depression. Poly-substance use, which often involve combining substances that have depressant effects, such as opioids, sedatives, or alcohol. Combining substances in generalbut especially depressantscan have unpredictable and dangerous outcomes.19
Overdose survivors may develop a hypoxic brain injury that leads to long-lasting or even permanent damage such as ;short-term memory loss, stroke, mental disorientation, loss of body movement, changes in gait, incontinence, temporary leg paralysis, reduced motor skills, slowed reaction time, seizures, nerve injury, and memory impairment.20
How Drugs Do What They Do
No matter what type of drugs you use, whether theyre pills prescribed by a doctor or something you bought on the street to smoke, they eventually find their way to your brain. Smoking, swallowing, snorting, drinking, injecting or any combination of these will all deliver drugs to your bloodstream, which in turn moves them to your brain.
Since your brain manages all functioning and thoughts, it makes sense that a drug would have to travel to your brain to have any effect. Consider an over-the-counter cough suppressant that relaxes the cough reflex, so you can get some sleep. That reflex is regulated by your brain, so the active ingredient in the cough medicine has to change the messages in your brain to be effective.
Once in your brain, drugs interfere with your normal brain chemistry to produce the desired effect. Because the brain is so complex, and our understanding of its functioning is not complete, drugs all have side effects, as well. The cough suppressant reduces your cough and also makes you drowsy. Every drug you take has more than one effect on you.
Usually, drugs affect you mentally and physically. While alcohol reduces your inhibitions, it also depresses respiratory functions, for example. Side effects can be the more dangerous part of any drugs since youre not looking for or monitoring them. Most people tend to focus on the primary function of a drug and try to ignore the side effects.
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What About Becoming Permafried
The term permafried not a medical term, by the way has been around for decades. It refers to the myth that LSD can cause permanent brain damage or a never-ending trip.
Again, weve all heard the horror stories of someone who was never the same after they used LSD.
Based on case studies and other research on LSD, HPPD is the only known effect of LSD that bares any resemblance to the permafried myth.
Can It Really Repair Parts Of The Brain
If these same results can be replicated in humans , LSD may help reverse the process, resulting in improved treatments for a range of mental health conditions.
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Potential Health Benefits Of Acid
Several studies have looked at using classical psychedelics for the treatment of mental health conditions that do not respond to traditional treatment methods.
The studies included the use of psilocybin , ayahuasca, and LSD. Collectively, the seven studies looked at 130 people who had depression, anxiety, or both.
The participants experienced immediate and significant antidepressant and anxiolytic effects with the use of psychedelics. These effects lasted for several months.
The common side effects in these studies included headaches, nausea, slightly higher blood pressure levels, a higher heart rate, and transient anxiety.
Although the results sound promising, researchers must continue to investigate these preliminary findings. The Food and Drug Administration have not approved acid for these uses.
It is also important to note that LSD is illegal in the United States.
Can Drug Use Cause Brain Damage
People can experience a wide range of neurological changes due to substance use, but many of these are a direct result of intoxication and they end after the substance clears your body. Chronic or heavy use of certain some substances, however, are associated with certain neurological issues that can be detrimental and long-lasting, but these arent usually a result of cell death causing permanent neurological injury. In fact, many brain changes or neurological complications that result from substance use can improve or even be reversed when you stop using drugs or alcohol.
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Synthetic Marijuanas Effect On The Brain
Synthetic Marijuana, a man-made Hallucinogenic substance typically sprayed onto plant material, is not safe for human consumption but has become popular in recent years. Also known as Fake Weed, it produces mind-altering effects and can cause the individual to act in an odd manner. Synthetic Marijuana is illegal and may have toxic ingredients that can cause increased heart rate, unexplained bleeding, and vomiting.
Similarly to Marijuana, Synthetic Marijuana affects the brain by attaching itself to the Cannabinoid receptor type 1 found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Synthetic weed binds more strongly to CB1 receptors than THC, making it at least 100 times more potent in the brain. Because CB1 receptors have multiple locations in the brain, side effects can be intense and harmful.
Synthetic Marijuana may cause the brain and body to experience:
- Memory loss
The Start Of The Trip
The LSD story began when chemist Albert Hoffman was tinkering in the laboratories of Sandoz chemicals in Switzerland where he was developing drugs to treat post-partum hemorrhaging. When his fingers touched a bit of LSD-25, the world began to shimmer: I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense kaleidoscopic play of colours, he wrote in his diary. Intrigued, he decided on a self-experiment and dosed himself with 0.25mg of acid before riding home by bicycle. The world melted, and our understanding of the mind changed forever. That day 19 April;1943 is today known as Bicycle Day.
Though the straight-laced Swissman had never dabbled in drugs before, he certainly did afterwards: he took the drug until he was 96 . Albert was the happiest human I have ever known, I think because he realized what a gift he had given to mankind, says Amanda Feilding, Founder of the Beckley Foundation, a drugs policy think tank. Feilding is a co-author of Nutts landmark study realising the promise she made to Hoffman shortly before his death, that she would do her part to help his dream of seeing the brain on LSD.
With such profound capacity to change everything about the way we see, feel and think, Hoffman believed LSD could be an unparalleled tool for understanding the brain. For a time, his peers agreed: psychiatrists the world over-deployed the drug in their quest to understand the human condition.
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Overdose On Lsd Is Possible
Typically, LSD is not considered a drug that causes overdose. There are no recorded instances of a person taking LSD and dying because of physical side effects. However, if one takes a very large dose of this hallucinogen and has a long, paranoid trip, this may lead to a suicide attempt, other kinds of self-harm, aggression toward others, or experiencing an accident because one cannot tell the difference between reality and hallucination.
According to the;Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration;, there were 2.5 million emergency department visits due to drug misuse; just over half of these involved intentional abuse of illicit drugs, and many of these involved multiple drugs at the same time. LSD is no longer a widely abused drug, but among the ED visits, 4,819 admissions involved this hallucinogen. This indicates that taking LSD can cause physical and mental side effects that are more intense and potentially harmful than many assume. These effects may also lead to long-term health problems due to underlying heart conditions, stomach or lung problems, or brain damage.
Scanning The Brain On Lsd
Carhart-Harris had first approached Nutt with ambitions to study LSD ten years ago and Feilding had wanted to see the brain on LSD through a scientific lens for decades. LSD is the jewel for researchers in a way, it is the prototypical psychedelic, he says. It took them nine years to cross all the regulatory hurdles, and another two years to publish the findings.After waiting for so long, the team decided to get as much data as possible out of the 20 subjects made slightly easier by the fact that an LSD trip lasts up to eight hours . During the hour that each participant spent in the MRI scanner, the team deployed three different neuroimaging techniques to gather three forms of data. Then, with many hours to go, they scanned all 20 brains with magnetoencephalography, and put each subject through a raft of cognitive tests. The main paper, published in the journal PNAS today, is one of a raft of studies they will put out using information from the same 20 study people.
Which points to what many see as the great promise for psychedelic research: that it could hold the key to treating some of our most poorly treated condtions, from PTSD to depression and addiction. Prof Nutt certainly thinks they will, often describing the blanket ban on psychedelics as one of the biggest missed opportunities in the history of medicine.
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Effect Of Marijuana Use On Iq
The effect Marijuana has on the brain is influenced by the amount a person has smoked and the users age. Individuals under 25, whose brains are still developing, are most susceptible to the effects of Marijuana on the brain. A study of Marijuanas effect on IQ revealed individuals who began using Marijuana at a young age lost 6 to 8 points from their IQ by middle age. Moreover, those who smoked Marijuana throughout their adolescence, then stopped, did not regain their IQ points. Conversely, individuals who began using Marijuana in their adulthood did not experience any IQ loss.
Is It A Myth That Lsd Can Permanently Fry Your Brain
When I was 12,;Dan, the kid at my middle;school who already claimed to have;done acid,;told;me about this guy one town over who had dropped so much acid, he just never stopped tripping.;I took it as a serious admonition: Watch your dosage, or you can end up;a;vegetable, or at least a burnout.;Dan used the really unappealing word “frying” to mean “tripping,” and he said this guy was “permafried.”
It turns out;other people use the term “permafried,” too. Drug-education YouTuber;NeuroSoup tosses out the term in her video on the subject.;Redditors;who love acid;fear that their favorite;chemical could leave them permafried;as well,;and they cite rumors similar to the ones I’ve heard. Apparently, there are;people out there who;did acid once, and “are still kind of gone,” one Redditor writes. You;may also recall something similar happening to Devon Sawa’s character in SLC Punk!,so the rumor;is pretty widespread.
“What we basically found out in this paper is that LSD gets trapped in the receptor. But it doesn’t stay there forever. It stays for six or seven hours.”Dr.;David Nichols
When you say;”the visual system has become sensitized somehow,” can that be from acid?There is no LSD in there. LSD activates serotonin neurons, and normally there are mechanisms to keep them from becoming too excited, so maybe if those don’t work, the neurons stay too excitable.;No one knows why HPPD occurs, just as no one knows why people get seizure disorders.
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Get Help Ending Lsd Abuse
Although LSD may not lead to the same level of compulsive behaviors as much shorter-acting drugs like heroin or cocaine, it is still very dangerous to abuse and can cause long-term harm.
Working with addiction specialists to uncover he reasons that keep you abusing LSD and other substances and address them will help you prevent or alleviate the physical and psychological harm that may result from abusing LSD. At Desert Hope, we offer many evidence-based therapies and groups to help you leave substance abuse behind.
What Proponents Say
Many proponents follow a way of microdosing created by Bay Area psychologist James Fadiman, PhD. Considered a pioneer of psychedelic science, his research dates back to the ’60s; he authored a book, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys, in 2011; and he began looking into microdosing 7 years ago.
Fadiman is based in Silicon Valley and says people in the tech industry have told him that microdosing helps them be more efficient at work. Apple founder Steve Jobs credited LSD with inspiring at least some of his creative genius.
Since January 2017, he has been collecting information on more than 1,500 microdosers between the ages of 18 and 80 in 59 countries following his way of microdosing.
âI donât call it research. I call it a search,â Fadiman says. âI am asking people why are you doing this, and they are telling me it seems to be beneficial.â
He says positive, but unscientific, reports include better moods and health habits; improved reflexes, sleep and school and work performance; and less use of other substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and coffee.
None of these positive reports has been scientifically verified, and the study does not follow high standards for research that would require people in the study to take a placebo for comparison.
Fadiman says some of the positive effects might be exaggerated but he believes there are too many common themes to discount.
He has reports of side effects, as well.
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