Drugs & Food: When Do Addicts Overeat & Undereat?

When it comes to drugs and food, there are many different things that can happen. Some people may overeat when they are taking certain drugs, while others may undereat. It all depends on the drug and how it affects the person's hunger or food habits. In this article, we will discuss how drugs can affect someone's eating habits. We will also explore the reasons why people may overeat or undereat when they are taking drugs.

The Effect of Drugs on Hunger or Food Habits

One of the most widely held assumptions is that drugs only affect the mind. However, drugs can also have a profound effect on hunger and food habits. Many people who struggle with addiction find that their appetites change dramatically.

Some may lose their appetite altogether, while others may develop compulsive cravings for certain foods. These changes can lead to drastic weight loss or gain, further impacting physical and mental health. In addition, drugs can cause nutrient deficiencies that can weaken the immune system and contribute to other health problems.

For these reasons, it is essential to seek addiction treatment that includes nutrition counseling and care. By addressing both the mental and physical aspects of addiction, treatment providers can help you regain control of your life and body.

With that in mind, let's explore how different drugs affect hunger or food habits:

Marijuana Munchies

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Marijuana is well-known for increasing appetite, a phenomenon colloquially known as "the munchies." While the exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood, marijuana is known to increase the production of ghrelin, a hormone that signals the body to eat. Ghrelin levels are usually highest before meals, but they are also increased by stress and lack of sleep.

Marijuana also affects the brain's cannabinoid receptors, which play a role in regulating food intake. These receptors are located in the hypothalamus, a brain region that controls hunger and satiety.

When THC binds to these receptors, it mimics the effects of endocannabinoids, natural compounds that increase appetite. THC also increases orexigenic neurons' activity, which promotes hunger, and reduces the activity of anorexigenic neurons, which signal the body to stop eating.

As a result, eating or smoking weed can make one feel hungry and eat more than they would otherwise. In fact, medicinal marijuana has been prescribed as part of treatment for those who lose weight due to not eating or other health issues. But it's worth noting that not everyone experiences the munchies to the same degree. Some people may find that smoking weed decreases their appetite instead.

The Skinny on Cocaine

Cocaine addiction can lead to weight loss for a variety of reasons. For one, cocaine use leads to a decrease in appetite. This causes the body to release a hormone called cortisol, which suppresses hunger.

In addition, cocaine causes the body to burn more calories and decreases fat absorption from food. Its use can result in dehydration and gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea and nausea, contributing to weight loss. This explains why cocaine-dependent people lose a lot of weight.

Some people deliberately use cocaine to try to shed some weight. But it is not a healthy way to lose weight and can have serious consequences. Cocaine interferes with the brain's ability to process hunger signals. So those abusing the drug may not feel hungry - or they may binge eat and then purge. The changes in food habits can cause malnutrition and other health problems.

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The Skinny on Amphetamines

Amphetamines are central nervous system stimulants that increase alertness and produce feelings of well-being. They are also appetite suppressants, so some people use them for weight loss. However, long-term use of amphetamines can cause profound metabolic alterations, exposing one to serious health problems.

People who abuse amphetamines often experience a decrease in appetite, leading to weight loss, anorexia, malnourishment, or other eating disorders. Amphetamines can cause a dramatic metabolic increase, leading to excessive weight loss and muscle wasting. They can also interfere with the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels and put one at risk for diabetes.

Hallucinogens and the Senses

When someone takes a hallucinogen, they usually experience a change in their sense of taste. Foods they normally enjoy may taste strange or unpleasant, and they may lose their appetite altogether. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, hallucinogens alter how the brain processes information from the senses. This can cause people to see, hear, and smell things that aren't there, which can make eating seem unappealing.

Additionally, many hallucinogens produce feelings of nausea and vomiting, which can also discourage someone from eating. Besides, the intense emotions and sensations that are common on a trip can make it hard to focus on anything else, including food.

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Heroin and Your Appetite

Heroin use can have a significant impact on appetite and diet. Many users often have a decreased interest in food and sometimes even a complete loss of appetite. This can lead to weight loss and malnutrition. 

In addition, heroin can cause nausea and vomiting, making it difficult for addicts to keep food down. In fact, their bodies reject all kinds of foods, including fatty foods. As a result, many heroin addicts are significantly underweight and may suffer from health problems due to their poor diet. Heroin use can interfere with the body's ability to absorb nutrients, further exacerbating the problem of malnutrition.

However, some people struggling with heroin addiction also overeat compulsively. This is because the drug can increase levels of the hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for stimulating appetite. For these addicts, maintaining a healthy weight can be a constant struggle.

Addiction and Food Habits

Substance abuse is a complex disease that affects the brain in many ways. One of the most insidious effects is how it can alter the brain's circuitry for regulating mood and impulse control. This can lead to changes in eating habits that can be either overeating or undereating.

Unfortunately, these changes can further compound the problems associated with addiction, creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break free from. Overeating can lead to obesity and associated health problems, while undereating can lead to malnutrition and extreme weight loss. In either case, these changes in eating habits can make it even harder for addicts to recover from their disease.

If you are struggling with addiction and its effects on your eating habits, it is important to seek professional help. Many addiction treatment centers exist to help you overcome addiction and establish healthy eating habits.

We can help. Give us a call today. We are open 24/7. You'll be glad you did.

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Stuck In A Loop: When Hallucinogens Cause Cyclical Behavior or HPPD

There are instances when individuals who abuse hallucinogenic drugs like MDMA (ecstasy), psilocybin (also called magic mushroom), and LSD experience the effects several weeks, months, and even years after abusing the drug. These effects are commonly referred to as flashbacks and are prevalent in people suffering from HPPD (Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder).

This article will discuss HPPD in detail. We will look at what HPPD is, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is HPPD?

Simply put, HPPD refers to the visual disturbances that hallucinogenic drug users experience long after using the drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, visual disturbances range from bright circles and size distortion to blurry patterns.

People suffering from HPPD only experience flashbacks. They do not re-experience any other feeling of being high on the drugs they consumed before.

HPPD flashbacks are annoying, especially if they happen frequently. Although the flashbacks aren’t necessarily full hallucinations, they may result in mental health problems like anxiety.

Scientists argue that HPPD hallucinations are pseudo hallucinations, and those who experience them can differentiate what is real from what isn’t.

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What do flashbacks feel like?

People who experience flashbacks feel like they are reliving something they experienced in the past. Some flashbacks happen after drug use, while others happen after one undergoes a traumatic experience, i.e., post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  

Both people with HPPD and PTSD experience moments when their sensory information tells them they are experiencing moments they experienced in the past, even though they aren’t.

With PTSD, the flashbacks are more vivid. On the other hand, flashbacks of those with HPPD are not in-depth. HPPD victims only experience visual snows.

If you suffer from HPPD, you will be aware of the flashbacks but won’t experience the high that the drugs you used before gave you. Note that these flashbacks may become frequent over time and can overwhelm you.

Symptoms

The 2016 review revealed that there are two types of HPPD; type one and type 2. Those who suffer from type 1 HPPD only experience brief flashbacks, while those that suffer from type 2 HPPD experience more intense flashbacks.

If you suffer from unwanted hallucinations or cyclical behaviors, you are likely to experience any of the following visual disturbance symptoms of HPPD.

  1. Color flashes- you may notice random flashes of color at random times.
  2. Intense colors- the colors of objects around you seem brighter.
  3. Color confusion- you may be unable to tell the difference between similar colors. For instance, you wouldn’t be able to tell maroon and red apart.
  4. When you stare at objects, you see a glowing halo around them.
  5. Objects may appear bigger or smaller than they are.
  6. You may notice patterns on various objects when in reality, the object does not have any patterns on it.
  7. Items or objects may appear to leave a trail behind them as they move.
  8. You may have a difficult time reading since words on screens or pages appear to be in motion.
  9. You may feel uneasy every time you have an episode since you know that what you are experiencing is not real.

Currently, there is no scientific explanation of when these symptoms manifest. Therefore they can happen to you at any time.

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People experiencing HPPD may also experience mental health issues, including anxiety, panic disorders whose common symptom is increased heart rate and heavy breathing, suicidal thoughts, and symptoms of depersonalization. Despite most people suffering from the disorder acknowledging that they experience these symptoms, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not acknowledge them as possible symptoms. The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders only acknowledges the visual disturbances symptoms we discussed above because it is still unclear whether HPPD directly causes mental health issues.

HPPD causes

Scientists believe that individuals who consume hallucinogenic drugs recreationally are at a high risk of suffering from HPPD. However, they are yet to conclude on the frequency of drug use that causes HPPD.

A recent study revealed that HPPD is common in people who consume more than one dose of LSD. It is also prevalent in people who use other hallucinogens on one occasion or more.

Contrary to common belief, HPPD is not a result of mental disorders or brain damage. It is also not a result of a “bad trip.” This is caused by hallucinogenic drugs and is more often than not, one of the many effects of LSD abuse.

HPPD management and treatment

If you experience any of the symptoms we discussed above, you should visit your doctor. They will ask you several questions before giving you a full diagnosis.

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After being diagnosed with Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, you need to learn how to manage and treat it. Currently, two drugs have proved to be effective in HPPD treatment: lamotrigine and clonazepam.

Lamotrigine

Lamotrigine is a mood-stabilizing medication that is effective in relieving individuals of HPPD symptoms. A case study showed that lamotrigine is effective in the treatment of HPPD. Unlike other medications like antipsychotics, it did not make any symptoms worse.

Clonazepam

Like lamotrigine, clonazepam is effective in treating this disorder. It makes the symptoms less severe and more manageable.

To manage these symptoms, doctors also advise individuals to avoid stressful situations and illicit drugs. Additionally, doctors may give patients a few techniques to cope with the symptoms. For example, your doctor may advise you to use calming breathing exercises every time you have an episode. They may also prescribe rest and talk therapy.

Note that there is no single treatment for HPPD. You will undergo drug therapy. Drug therapy varies with individuals depending on the difference in visual disturbances symptoms.

Most times, drug therapy is successful, and individuals lead everyday lives after that.

Conclusion

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder is a serious condition. Anyone who uses hallucinogens can eventually develop this disease.

If you experience any of these symptoms, they may eventually fade away. However, there are instances when the symptoms will persist for an extended time.

It would be best to seek professional help if you notice any of the symptoms above. Your doctor may prescribe drug therapy to treat the condition and other techniques to manage the symptoms and make them more bearable.

The Link Between Music and Drugs

A good number of musicians have used drugs to augment their creativity. Their fans, on the other hand, may use drugs to intensify the pleasure they get from music. This has been the norm for centuries, leading to intensive research on the link between music and drugs.

On the surface, music and drugs are like two different worlds. However, the two have a lot in common; including the way they affect the human brain. Drugs and music trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin.

These are the same feel-good hormones that saturate your brain when you have sex, eat junk food, or do something you love. Dopamine and serotonin make you feel happy and contented. They also boost your energy levels and sharpen your sensory perception.

When you combine drugs and music, your brain’s function and the surrounding culture merge to give you a unique and euphoric experience. That’s because the two augment each other to make the experience even better. It’s a good reason why clubs and substances go hand-in-hand. People go to the club to listen to music, use drugs or do both. 

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But the similarity between drugs and music doesn’t stop there. 

Music and drugs – a mutual relationship

As mentioned earlier, drugs and music thrive off each other. But not all music pairs with all drugs. As it turns out, some genres work with some types of drugs. For example, hard rock does well with LSD, while reggae does well with weed.

That’s because of the response this music triggers. When people use weed, they feel relaxed and want to dance to slow jams, like reggae. LSD is quite the opposite – it makes them want to shake vigorously, which explains why they prefer EDM music.

How music matches the effects of drugs

Music can mimic the specific effects of drugs. For example, fast and repetitive music matches amphetamine because users can dance quickly due to the stimulation. Ecstasy gives one a feeling of pleasure through dance and body movement; hence, it matches repetitive music.

The link between music and drugs is a complex relationship. However, there is a rich drug representation in popular music. Studies have shown that listeners of specific music genres abuse drugs more than listeners of other genres. 

Musicians, fans, and drug use

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It is not uncommon for musicians and songwriters to compose lyrics that reflect their relationship with drugs. Others even go all out to promote illicit and prescription drug use. The Acid Queen, by Tina Turner and The Who for example, talks about how LSD makes one more alive. To quote the lyrics:

If your child ain't all he should be now

 This girl will put him right

 I'll show him what he could be now

 Just give me one night

I'm the gypsy, the acid queen

 Pay me before I start

 I'm the gypsy and I'm guaranteed

 To mend his aching heart

Give us a room, close the door

 Leave us for a while

 You won't be a boy no more

 Young, but not a child

I'm the gypsy, the acid queen

 Pay me before I start

 I'm the gypsy, I'm guaranteed

 To tear your soul apart

Gather your wits and hold them fast

 Your mind must learn to roam

 Just as the gypsy queen must do

 You're gonna hit the road

My work's been done, now look at him

 He's never been more alive

 His head it shakes, his fingers clutch

 Watch his body writhe

With such lyrics, it’s easy to see why fans may want to try out this acid, especially it comes from their favorite artists. 

In the 1980s and 1990s, the high availability of molly and ecstasy made house music appealing to the then generation. The same thing happened with LSD and acid rock. Artists performing would take an addictive substance or chemical substances before going on stage for live performances. If you have gone to live music events, music shows, or concerts, you may have seen artists under the influence performing on stage. 

Listening to music while under the influence

Music tends to enhance the “high” effects of drugs. Research has shown that drugs can alter one’s experience of music. For instance, clinical trials that administered LSD to volunteers revealed LSD elevates music-induced emotion, with participants reporting feelings of tenderness, power, wonder, and superiority. Other studies found that LSD modulates music-evoked imagery through changes in parahippocampal connectivity.

Social bonds

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Both music and drugs are tools that strengthen social bonds. They give listeners and drug users a sense of identity. Simply put, music and drugs make people connect, be it socially or politically. 

Most people form peer groups with people they share cultural preferences with. Therefore, it is easy to see why they interlink music with drugs of their choice. Even though people easily associate certain drugs with specific music genres, it is evident that drugs are a minor element of a much broader identity. The drugs distinguish one group from the other.

Does music promote drug abuse?

There is a link between music and drugs. However, you mustn’t assume music leads to drug abuse or drug addiction. 

Lyrics of various songs occasionally refer to drugs and have a drug use culture surrounding them. This raised concerns about the long-term effects music glorifying drug use has on young listeners. 

One study showed that the youth positively associate music with illicit drug use and alcohol abuse. However, the study could not determine whether the listener’s behavior influenced their music preferences or whether their music preferences influenced their behavior.

There is a slight chance that drug use could influence a person’s music choice and vice versa. Whichever way the influence goes, it may lead to drug addiction. Drug addiction can lead to several disorders, including mental disorders and high blood pressure.

If someone you know is battling drug abuse, help them seek medical advice on dealing with the issue. Addiction is a chronic disease, but there are several treatment options available.

Treatment options for drug addiction

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Treatment for drug addiction should help the individual stop using drugs, remain drug-free, and be a productive member of society.

As mentioned, there are several treatment options for drug addiction. They include:

For drug addiction treatment to be successful, one needs to have a tailored treatment program with follow-up options. The patient's follow-up care can be family-based or community-based.

Conclusion

There is a link between music and drugs, but you mustn’t assume that listening to a specific music genre would influence you to take drugs. Those who get addicted to drug use should seek help for them to be rehabilitated.