What is Kratom and Why is it a Threat?

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Kratom is a plant in the coffee family with opioid-like properties and some stimulant properties. It grows predominantly in Southeast Asia and has been used in the region as traditional medicine and herbal remedy for years. Kratom’s usefulness and safety are still unknown since there has not been much quality research done yet. Many people classify kratom in the category of opioid alternatives, but more research needs to be done on its safety. Some even look to the drug as a natural alternative to the opioid crisis.

Traditional Uses of Kratom

Throughout history, kratom has long been acknowledged as a form of traditional medicine in many regions throughout Southeast Asia. The leaves of the plant are usually chewed to relieve muscle pain, boost energy, increase appetite, and even as an aphrodisiac. The drug also has a medical application and can be used to cure pain and provide treatment for physical injuries. The drug is used extensively by doctors in Thailand to cure many ailments. 

Modern Uses of Kratom

Kratom taken in small amounts has a mild soothing stimulant effect but taken in larger doses, it can have euphoric effects and pain-relief effects similar to opiates. This has led to kratom becoming a popular recreational drug with many claiming that the drug can calm the user, cure depression, and even have a use in drug rehab clinics. The thought is that it can be used as a substitute similar to methadone and become another one of these opioid alternatives. Time will tell if mass adoption of kratom in the United States will take place or not, but more clinical trials will be conducted to determine if there are any underlying long-term effects of the drug.

Application in Drug Rehab Clinics

Many look to the application of kratom to aid people who are going through drug rehab. This is due to the drug having effects that are similar to morphine and containing similar qualities of other opioid alternatives. Kratom has been proven to help with the negative effects of withdrawal, but repeated use may actually lead to addiction. As of now, kratom is legal at the federal level in the United States, although it is banned in some states. Some even suggest that kratom can be used as a safer alternative to conventional opiates and could help curtail the opioid crisis.

Dangers of Using Kratom

Because the drug is often abused as a recreational drug, there are a number of adverse effects reported and even potential dangers posed to users. The side effects of taking kratom include excessive sweating, loss of appetite, hypertension (high blood pressure), and in extreme cases, even seizures. 

There have also been deaths reported that seem to be somehow linked to kratom usage, however, it could not be determined that kratom was the actual cause of death due to other drugs being present in the toxicology report. There are reports that even suggest that the use of kratom has been directly linked to the triggering of psychosis. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) namely the Poison Control Center say calls regarding overconsumption of kratom have spiked recently, and may soon become a serious threat, especially among young people.

Toxicology Details

At low doses, there are mostly only stimulant effects. Typical side effects include narrowing blood vessels and raised blood pressure. Both of these can lead to flushing of the face and smaller pupil size. Adverse effects at this level include anxiety, paranoia, and agitation. There have also been notably some opioid-related effects such as itching, nausea, and loss of appetite.

At moderate doses, the opioid effects generally begin to show. Negative side effects include excessive sweating, heart palpitations, confusion, and low blood pressure all of which can be dangerous.

Continued use of kratom at high doses could cause serious side effects such as tremors, anorexia, sudden weight loss, seizures, and even psychosis. Additionally, frequent high dose users who attempt to quit using kratom could also have symptoms similar to opioids withdrawal. The symptoms include anger, agitation, raised blood pressure, loss of appetite, and insomnia.

Respiratory Depression

Respiratory depression is one of the biggest threats to opioid users. Also known as “hypoventilation”, it basically means that the body is unable to process the involuntary air exchange which is usually automatic (involuntary). So this may lead to bigger problems like a stroke or aneurysm if the blood vessels don’t receive oxygen for a certain amount of time. Many believe that kratom is not immune to the risk of respiratory depression. Acting in a similar fashion to many other opioids, the hypothesis is that the symptoms are the same, although more testing needs to be done. However, there have been tests done on animals, and the evidence shows that respiratory depression does, in fact, occur at very large doses in animals

Liver toxicity

It has also been reported that regular users of kratom may experience liver injuries and have symptoms such as malaise, abdominal discomfort, and irritability. Liver injury is a dangerous condition that may in some cases, also lead to renal failure. This is a serious health risk but has rarely been reported in kratom use cases except at extremely high doses.

Other Health Risks

  • Anorexia

  • Obesity

  • Seizures

  • Death (potentially)

Conclusion

Kratom may not be all it is cracked up to be. On the surface, it looks like a great alternative for people going through opioid withdrawals, but once you dig a little deeper, you quickly see that this drug may not be any safer than the opioids they are supposed to mimic. For these reasons, kratom should be used with extreme caution, and under close supervision. Although used in low doses, kratom can be beneficial to the user, the threats of overuse are numerous and severe. More research should be done on this drug before people start using it, and thinking of it as a morphine or methadone alternative. The drug is too new in the United States and while it may one day lead to many people surviving through the opioid crisis, it is better to be safe than sorry. For now, we should just wait for the FDA to do more studies on the drug’s applications for modern society.

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Video Gaming Addiction, Limit Screen Time

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Video games have come a long way since the days of Pong. With the advent of cell phones and online gaming, anyone can play at any time. Additionally, people, particularly young people, are spending significantly more time on the internet than in prior years. They not only play games; they use social media, stream videos, listen to music, and do research and homework assignments.

There are many studies showing that gaming stimulates the brain in good ways, including creative problem-solving, critical thinking, visual acuity, attention, and spatial memory. And while many parents make statements like, “I feel like my child is addicted to video games,” or, “Little Susie is addicted to the internet,” the majority of children and adolescents who spend a lot of time online, either gaming or engaging in other activities, are able to keep up with their responsibilities, like homework, chores, and extracurricular activities. No one can deny that the internet is a wonderful tool for homework research, socializing, and a variety of other things, including entertainment.

But gaming and overuse of the internet can also have adverse effects on the brain. Like anything that is fun or enjoyable, video gaming stimulates the pleasure center of the brain, much like an ice cream cone, or more dangerous things, like drugs or alcohol. Because of this, digital gaming and online entertainment (particularly social media) can become an obsession, interfering with your child’s daily life, preventing them from socializing, studying, and spending time with the family. Internet use, too, can have this effect, specifically in the form of constant social media presence and other, less wholesome things, such as streaming video that many people would find objectionable. If these obsessions are allowed to progress, gaming and internet use can evolve into a video screen, tech, or video gaming addiction.

The World Health Organization (WHO) now officially recognizes video gaming addiction and screen addiction as legitimate mental health disorders, having placed both in their International Classification of Diseases(ICD-10)Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. And while there is a lot of misinformation about tech addiction in general, these addictions are very real and, if left unaddressed, can be just as serious as other addictions.

Being able to recognize the warning signs of tech addiction is the key to making sure that your child’s digital health isn’t being adversely affected. If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from one of these disorders, there are warning signs and symptoms, both emotional and physical, that you should look for.

Warning Signs of Video Gaming and Screen Addiction

If you believe your child might be at risk for one of these addictions, these are some of the things that you should look for.

Emotional Warning Signs

These are a few of the emotional warning signs and symptoms of a tech disorder:

  • A decline in school performance, such as a drop in grades or missing homework assignments.
  • Withdrawal from social events or a lack of interest in social activities like sports, parties, or hanging out with friends and family.
  • Being preoccupied with previous online or gaming activity and a heightened sense of anticipation of the next session.
  • Irritiability when unable to get online or unable to play.
  • Lying about the amount of time spent gaming or online.

If your child displays these signs, it is likely that there is a problem with their digital health.

Physical Warning Signs

In addition to emotional signs, there are physical aspects of these disorders. They include:

  • A decline in personal hygiene.
  • Headaches or migraines caused by eye strain and overly intense concentration.
  • General fatigue and malaise.

If your child displays a significant combination of these signs, it is likely that they are suffering from tech, video gaming, or screen addiction. Addressing this is important in making sure your child does not damage their digital health.

Limiting Screen Time

While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders DSM5) does not currently recognize digital addictions as true mental health disorders, the fact that the WHO has included them in the ICD-10 has opened up many treatment options. An effective option that you can implement immediately is limiting your child’s screen time. Here are some tips on how to lessen the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen.

  • Utilize Parental Controls:
    You have at your fingertips the ability to protect your child from explicit television and online content, as well as violent and otherwise objectionable games. Implement parental controls on your TV and internet to block this content and monitor your child’s online activity.
  • Be a Healthy Role Model:
    It is important that you display healthy technology habits to your children. Binging on television shows on your computer, keeping the television on all the time, or constantly scrolling through your phone, sets the tone for your child’s technology use and teaches them bad habits,
  • Become Tech Savvy:
    You can’t display healthy tech habits if you aren’t aware of the most current apps and online sites. Keep in mind that today’s young people usually know more about technology than adults. If you want to teach your child about the dangers of too much technology use, you need to be fully informed about those dangers.
  • Create Time to “Unplug”:
    Institute “tech-free time” for the entire family. Making dinner time, early mornings, and the hour or two before bedtime tech-free is a wonderful way for your entire family to enjoy quality time without the presence of digital distractions.
  • Keep the Internet out of Your Child’s Bedroom:
    You cannot monitor your child’s screen time if they have a computer, video gaming system, or television in their bedroom. Make your child’s bedroom a tech-free zone. This includes hand-held devices that many children use. Using them at night will disrupt your child’s sleep.
  • Obtain Your Child’s Passwords:
    If it fits in with your values (and depending on your child’s age), obtain your child’s passwords to social media and other online accounts. Many children, especially younger ones, cannot handle the problems they may encounter on social media, particularly cyberbullying. It is imperative that you take responsibility for keeping your child safe from these hazards. If you aren’t comfortable with obtaining their passwords, make rules surrounding which media sites are okay and which are off limits, and make it a rule that you are added as a contact or “friend” on these sites.

There are other ways to limit your child’s screen time. Create a dialogue about the hazards of too much time spent online, gaming, and watching television. A child that understands these dangers is less likely to break your rules surrounding screen time than a child who thinks their screen time is limited because their parents are “mean.” Talk to them, in an age-appropriate way, about the dangers of violent television shows, video games, and movies. Be sure to include in this dialogue the very real danger of online predators and how they put your child at risk. Don’t try to scare them; simply lay out the information in terms that they will understand.

Also encourage your child to engage in other activities, such as reading a book or playing with friends outside. The more screen-free entertainment your child engages in, the better.

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Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT)

Among the more modern forms of addiction therapy is referred to as rapid resolution therapy®. This type of therapy is often times administered as a means of treating psychological trauma and the problems that are derived from it. If you’ve been suffering from an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or some similar problem, it’s important to seek addiction treatment so that you can better manage your addiction. In the event that you have experienced any kind of psychological trauma in the past, the symptoms of this trauma may have manifested themselves in a negative coping habit or addiction. If you’re searching for an effective way to progress through addiction recovery, rapid resolution therapy® may be exactly what you need.

 

What Is Rapid Resolution Therapy®?

 

This is a somewhat new type of addiction treatment that’s aimed at assisting in the treatment of both trauma and addiction, which can oftentimes be intertwined. Developed by Dr. Jon Connelly, this therapy is designed to assist people in overcoming the negative effects of both trauma and addiction. It’s also a very effective form of addiction recovery because it’s a quick method of treatment that can be completed in anywhere from 1-5 treatment sessions. The duration of rapid resolution therapy® depends on the individual needs of each patient.

 

The first session of rapid resolution therapy®typically lasts for around two hours. Any additional sessions are usually shorter with a duration of 45-60 minutes. The main goal of rapid resolution therapy®is to help patients understand why they first became addicted to drugs, alcohol, or a similar addiction. An addiction oftentimes begins because of undue amounts of stress or depression.

 

Rapid resolution therapy®is able to tackle these psychological traumas, which means that an addicted individual may be able to fully control their addiction once they’ve identified their trauma and dealt with it. RRT combines a range of treatment methods to help eliminate trauma and addictive tendencies, which range from guided imagery and hypnosis to multilevel communication. The end result of this addiction therapy is that the addicted individual should be able to get rid of the negative emotions and triggers that have caused them to continue their addiction.

 

History of Rapid Resolution Therapy®

 

Rapid resolution therapy®was created by Dr. Jon Connelly a little over a decade ago and has since become a very effective form of therapy for people who are struggling with addiction and are searching for a quick treatment method. Whether addicted to drugs or gambling, rapid resolution therapy®may be able to help eliminate the emotions that are triggering the addiction. Since this therapy was first developed by Dr. Connelly, thousands of professionals in the mental health and addiction recovery fields have received training for rapid resolution therapy®. The years that Dr. Connelly spent working with teenagers and adults suffering from trauma provided him with the knowledge and expertise to create rapid resolution therapy®.

 

What to Expect From This Therapy

 

When attempting to recover from an addiction, this therapy should be able assist in overcoming the addiction and the negative feelings associated with it. There are several key components of this therapy that will occur in a standard treatment session, all of which can be beneficial when attempting to manage an addiction. The first aspect of rapid resolution therapy®calls for the patient to envision the desired outcome at the very beginning of the treatment. Their therapist will ask them to imagine how they would feel if the treatment was successful and they were no longer addicted. Being able to create a clear and striking picture of what life would be like if addiction was no longer an issue should provide the patient with a goal to strive towards throughout the rest of therapy.

 

This therapy also asks patients to remain emotionally connected to the present. It’s common for people to dwell on past mistakes or spend half of their life worrying about the future. Both of these issues are commonly found in people who are suffering from an addiction, which is why it’s important to stay within the present moment as much as possible. The process of moving from negative thoughts of the past or worries of the future to the present moment will provide the therapist with information that they need to determine what kinds of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors have kept the patient stuck in an emotional state that only worsens their addiction. If the root of the addiction is some kind of past trauma, the therapist will help the individual describe the details of their trauma from a disengaged perspective, which should help lessen the impact of the trauma.

 

The therapist will also use a combination of metaphors, stories, and symbolic imagery to help the addicted individual better connect with who they are. The goal of this aspect of RRT is to change the person’s perspective so that they can begin viewing their addiction in a more positive and healthier manner. Humor is used regularly in rapid resolution therapy®as well, which is aimed at helping the addicted individual shift to more positive emotions. There are several reasons as to why humor is used within this therapy, the primary of which is that it can help an addicted person lower their defenses and be more receptive to the therapy.

 

The use of humor is also designed to lessen the negative emotions that are related to addiction, which could be anything from shame to anger. Once these negative feelings and emotions are reduced, more positive emotions can replace them with the help of humor. This is among the most effective aspects of rapid resolution therapy®that isn’t commonly found in other forms of addiction therapy. With other types of therapy, people often feel like they are drained emotionally after each therapy session, which can mitigate the benefits of therapy. Rapid resolution therapy®avoids this issue by mixing in some humor and general playfulness.

 

Benefits That Rapid Resolution Therapy®Provides

 

There are an array of benefits that can be obtained from rapid resolution therapy®for anyone who is suffering from addiction. For one, this is a pain-free treatment that allows for fast recovery from any kind of trauma that may have played a part in causing the addiction. Many people who have obtained this therapy in the past have benefited from higher self-esteem, a reduction in stress, and the ability to overcome their bad behaviors and addictions. It’s also common to experience an increase in motivation for reaching goals and completing objectives, which can help the addicted individual avoid relapsing.

 

When obtaining this form of therapy, there should be a substantial reduction in negative emotions that could have caused the addiction to linger and fester, which could include fear, anger, grief, sadness, and distrust. The changes that occur with rapid resolution therapy® are typically lasting changes, which lessens the likelihood of relapse. Many people who progress through rapid resolution therapy®feel as though they are taking control of their life once the therapy is finished. If a repressed trauma has played a part in the addiction, RRT is also known to help addicted individuals recover from this trauma without even needing to become fully aware of it while the therapy is ongoing. Since this is a very brief form of therapy, it won’t take long to determine if the treatment has been as effective as advertised. While most forms of therapy require months upon months of sessions, rapid resolution therapy®is typically completed in 2-5 sessions.

 

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