The writing is on the wall that cannabis will increasingly be legalized in various ways and that access will become easier and easier. In the face of this reality, two big questions arise: will cannabis usage skyrocket? Will addiction rates go through the roof?
The answer to both is probably not.
Getting psychiatric care is a lot harder than it should be. Patients around the country are having a hard time booking appointments for outpatient care, and both patients and their caregivers face significant hurdles when it comes to receiving inpatient psychiatric care.
US psychologists designed and oversaw the unethical, brutal interrogations used on detainees in military custody during the war on terror with approval from the American Psychological Association. Psychology graduate students appear to receive little instruction about these matters and thus seem vulnerable to violating international law again in the future.
Doctors who are unsafe to practice medicine ought to be prevented from doing so, but every doctor who seeks evaluation and/or help--whether voluntarily or otherwise--should be treated respectfully and fairly, monitored appropriately, and have legitimate avenues of appealing decisions about their care.
It is all too common to have a family member who is misusing drugs in some way, and if they haven’t been there themselves—and sometimes even if they have—many folks are at a loss about what to do in a loved one is abusing drugs. Here I offer 5 essential things you should do if someone in your family is abusing drugs.
Even though the physiological effects of cannabis withdrawal are usually mild, it is incorrect to conclude that marijuana is not addictive. Being addicted to something is more than simply being physically dependent on it and experiencing physiological effects when abruptly stopped.
Although it stimulates the same brain receptors that marijuana does, synthetic marijuana (also known as K2 or Spice, among other names) is dramatically more potent than marijuana itself and also carries far greater risks than marijuana. Manufacturers are often trying to stay one step ahead of the law, so who knows what chemicals will turn up next in synthetic marijuana.
Prescription drug abuse is rampant. Because they are prescribed by physicians and helpful when used appropriately, many believe that these drugs are safer than they actually are and they also generally carry less stigma than “street” drugs like heroin. Nonetheless, the dangers of misusing them are huge and potentially life threatening.
Having health insurance does not guarantee access to needed care. In efforts to generate the biggest profits possible, insurance companies often deny payment or set up roadblocks to accessing care. Americans deserve better and a single payer national health insurance would cure many of these woes.
The overlap between mental health issues and substance abuse is large, and sorting out which one causes the other can be difficult at times if not simply impossible. Regardless, proper treatment of the mental health condition--even using stimulants to treat ADHD--improves outcomes and, in the case of ADHD and probably other conditions, leads to less substance abuse later.
Some think that because marijuana isn't a "hard" drug it doesn't cause problems. The reality is that although drugs like methamphetamine and the opiates can be devastating and even a single use might be too much, regular use of marijuana can also exact a high price and wreak havoc on lives in various ways.
Marijuana might be natural and even legal in many places, but those facts do not mean that it is safe or harmless. It can cause depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals who use it.
The folks who are rewriting the diagnostic manual in psychiatry have often built their careers on the diagnosis in question and/or have received money from Big Pharma, so that the diagnoses they craft are potentially fraught with conflicts of interest and bias. Even though those rewriting the diagnostic manual tried to rectify matters, their efforts fall short.