Monash University-2009 Alcohol and Other Drugs. Presenter: Effie Moraitis Senior Clinician. Topics covered today:. What is a drug? – some definitions Theoretical models of drug use Harm minimisation Dependence Syndrome
Presenter: Effie Moraitis
“Any substance which when taken into the body, alters its function physically and/or psychologically, excluding food, water and oxygen” (cited in McCallum 1994 p 90 – WHO 1994)
True or False?
using drugs is morally wrong and anti-social
spiritual direction, gaol, providing an environment that promotes pro-social values
Some people have a natural predisposition to drug use
Dependency is controlled by physiological / genetic factors
Dependency will inevitably result in a loss of control and progression of their condition
Disease Model con’t
- Total abstinence
- Self-help (eg: 12 step programs)
- Supporters of this model suggest that a person addicted to a drug / s will be unable to control their substance use.
Focuses on the interaction between the environment, the individual and the drug. Drug use is learnt
Learning new coping strategies
May use cognitive restructuring techniques
Looks at the availability of the drug, cost, the properties of the substance, individual factors and socio-political factors (advertising, economic gains from drug use, peer pressure)
Education, political actions, legislation
- demand reduction (prevention)
- supply reduction (law enforcement)
- harm reduction (education, information
Maladaptive pattern of substance use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.
The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended
There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.
The need for increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or the desired effect.
This may vary
- across individuals
- across substances
- across physiological systems
Maladaptive behavioural change (which may be the opposite to the acute effect of the substance
Withdrawal syndromes may change according to the substance
The same or closely related substances may be taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms
Drugs are often classified in two ways:
What are some important points to cover in an AOD assessment?
When Alcohol hits your lips your whole body is affected.
Within the lining of your mouth a small percentage of alcohol is absorbed. It irritates the mouth lining as well as the oesophagus, acting like an anaesthetic.
Where to from here?
In chronic heavy alcohol consumers, the frontal lobes of the brain shrink. This is probably partly due to loss of water and partly due to cell death.
The lobes may expand again if the person stops drinking, but evidence of cell death remains in impaired function.
When people become intoxicated it is common to feel warmth, however this is misleading. Alcohol acts as a vasodilator, dilating surface blood cells. This actually expands blood vessels causing people to lose body heat.
Marijuana also known as Cannabis, is a green, brown, or grey mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant. You may hear marijuana called by street names such as pot, herb, weed, grass, boom, Mary Jane, gangster, or chronic. There are more than 200 slang terms for marijuana.Sinsemilla (sin-seh-me-yah; a Spanish word), hashish ("hash" for short), and hash oil are stronger forms of marijuana.
All forms of marijuana are mind-altering. In other words, they change how the brain works. They all contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana. They also contain more than 400 other chemicals. Marijuana's effects on the user depend on the strength or potency of the THC it contains (5). THC potency of marijuana has increased since the 1970s but has been about the same since the mid-1980s.
Cannabinoids is an active ingredient of Marijuana. The most psychoactive cannabinoids chemical in Marijuana that has the biggest impact on the brain is tetrahydrocannibol, or THC. THC is the main active ingredient in marijuana because it affects the brain by binding to and activating specific receptors, known as cannabinoid receptors. "These receptors control memory, thought, concentration, time and depth, and coordinated movement. THC also affects the production, release or re-uptake (a regulating mechanism) of various neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters are chemical messenger molecules that carry signals between neurons. Some of these affects are personality disturbances, depression and chronic anxiety. Psychiatrists who treat schizophrenic patients advise them to not use this drug because marijuana can trigger severe mental disturbances and cause a relapse.
When one's memory is affected by high doses of marijuana, short-term memory is the first to be triggered. Marijuana's damage to short-term memory occurs because THC alters the way in which information is processed by the hippocampus, a brain area responsible for memory formation. One region of the brain that contains a lot of THC receptors is the hippocampus, which processes memory.
Marijuana also impairs emotions. When smoking marijuana, the user may have uncontrollable laughter one minute and paranoia the next. This instant change in emotions has to do with the way that THC affects the brain's limbic system. The limbic system is another region of the brain that governs one's behaviour and emotions.
The chemicals in Marijuana bring cognitive impairment and troubles with learning for the user. Smoking [marijuana] causes some changes in the brain that are like those caused but cocaine, heroin, and alcohol.
Cannabis is linked with Mental Health Disorders.
If there is a predisposition in a persons family history of a mental health disorder, Marijuana can trigger it to occur.
Short Term Memory loss
Research has begun on potential Learning difficulties experienced by children whose mothers used Marijuana during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Treatment for any drug is more effective when tailored to the specific individual requirements.
It can involve a combination of methods including:
In Victoria there are over 1,000 Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services.
Inclusive in these are 24/7, free and immediate Counselling, Information and referral services specifically for anyone who has any Alcohol and Other Drug related concerns. These services are anonymous and confidential (within confidentiality limitations).
This service has 24/7 Addiction Specialist Medical Consultants.
All services are staffed by Professional Counsellors