Through my eyes: Addiction and recovery

Growing up, I had the picture-perfect family. I lived in a beautiful home in the suburbs of Detroit with my parents and younger brother. I had every opportunity in the world, attended private schools, and even made it onto the honor roll. I was involved in dance, theater, and many of the school sports teams.

Beneath the surface, however, I always felt a lot of pressure to be perfect.

I was the first of 12 grandchildren, and this led to me feeling that I had to be the best at everything I did, which gave me terrible anxiety from the early age of 5.

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Is amyl nitrite safe?

Poppers are a liquid drug that can give an instant high when inhaled. Other names for it are amyl nitrate, butyl nitrite, and liquid gold. The effects of poppers appear quickly and include dizziness, warm sensations, an increased heart rate, and headaches.

Poppers have a widespread recreational use. The drug can cause euphoric effects and act as a sex enhancer by relaxing the anal muscles.

Poppers are sometimes marketed as room deodorizers or leather cleaners, although people rarely use them for these purposes.

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Drugs of abuse: Identifying the addiction circuit

What happens in the brain of a compulsive drug user? What is the difference in brain function between an addict and a person who takes a drug in a controlled manner? In an attempt solve this puzzle, neurobiologists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland; have been looking at this difference in a rodent addiction model. They have discovered that the brain circuit connecting the decision-making region to the reward system is stronger in compulsive animals. The researchers also found that by decreasing the activity of this circuit, compulsive mice were able to regain control and that conversely, by stimulating the connection a mouse that initially remained in control became addicted. The work is published in this week’s edition of the journal Nature.

Addiction is an disease that develops in stages: it starts with the initial exposure to a substance followed by a phase where consumption remains controlled. Some individuals however will start using drugs compulsively in spite of the major negative effects it has on their lives (such as mounting debt, social isolation or incarceration). Clinical estimates suggest that only one person in five moves from controlled to compulsive use.

“We do not know why one person becomes addicted to drugs while another doesn’t,” begins Christian Lüscher, senior author and professor at the Departments of Basic and Clinical Neurosciences of the Faculty of Medicine. “But our study identifies the difference in brain function between the two behaviors.”

Full story at Science Daily

Alcoholic beverages are frequently considered migraine triggers

In a European Journal of Neurology study of 2,197 patients who experience migraines, alcoholic beverages were reported as a trigger by 35.6 percent of participants.

Additionally, more than 25 percent of migraine patients who had stopped consuming or never consumed alcoholic beverages did so because of presumed trigger effects. Wine, especially red wine (77.8 percent of participants), was recognized as the most common trigger among the alcoholic beverages; however, red wine consistently led to an attack in only 8.8 percent of participants. Time of onset was rapid (less than three hours) in one third of patients, and almost 90 percent of patients had an onset in under 10 hours independent of the type of alcoholic beverage consumed.

The authors noted that it can be debated if alcohol is a factual or a presumed trigger. Additional studies are needed to unravel this relationship.

Full story at Science Daily

What are the health benefits of 5-HTP?

L-5 hydroxytryptophan is a natural chemical in the body that people can also take as a nutritional supplement. Some people believe that taking the supplement can improve certain aspects of health, including mental health and sleep quality.

The compound is a natural precursor to a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps produce “feel-good” chemicals in the brain and body.

However, there is little significant research to prove that L-5 hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can offer such benefits.

In this article, learn about the possible benefits of 5-HTP, as well as its possible side effects.

Full story at Medical News Today