Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book Review: Addicted Kids; Our Lost Generation: An Integrated Approach To Understanding And Treating Addictions In Teens

Several weeks ago I was browsing through the books at our local library and came across the book, Addicted Kids; Our Lost Generation: An Integrated Approach To Understanding And Treating Addictions In Teens.

You can buy the book here.

  Since I am among the population addicted to an antidepressant, the book title grabbed my attention. Of course, I am no longer a teen but I do have children who will be teens in the not so distant future. Now that I am aware how dangerous drugs, whether legal or otherwise can be, I feel I would do well to be at least a little informed. I am also constantly looking for ways to help with weaning off the SSRI that was helpful at one point in my life but is now making my life miserable! I checked out the book and was pleased to see it was written in language I could understand.

 Here are some of the bits of information I found intriguing. I encourage you to get the book and read it for yourself.

Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain and body.  They relay signals between nerve cells, called “neurons.”  The brain uses neurotransmitters to tell your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe, and your stomach to digest.  They can also affect mood, sleep, concentration, weight, and can cause adverse symptoms when they are out of balance. Neurotransmitter levels can be depleted many ways.  As a matter of fact, it is estimated that 86% of Americans have suboptimal neurotransmitter levels.  Stress, poor diet, neurotoxins, genetic predisposition, drugs (prescription and recreational), alcohol and caffeine usage can cause these levels to be out of optimal range.

The three major categories of substances that act as 

neurotransmitters are (1) amino acids (primarily glutamic 
acid, GABA, aspartic acid & glycine), (2) peptides (vasopressin, somatostatin, neurotensin, etc.) and (3) monoamines (norepinephrinedopamine & serotonin) plus acetylcholine

The following comments are copied directly from the book. 

The comments in parenthesis are mine

"Although opioids have a high intrinsic activity (the ability of a drug-receptor complex to produce a maximum functional response) they are not what your cells need. So although the GABA receptor will be satisfied by the opioid, the cell really wants GABA."

"Opioids can become so potent they stimulate the receptor to aggressively, when this happens the cell receptor will sometimes mutate or morth into a receptor that "likes" (has a better response to) the opioid better than it's inherent substance, such as GABA. This is an issue with teens who have a long term history of opioid use due to the plasticity of their brain. This is also a problem in babies born to addicted mothers. These (babies) have receptors that were "created" to need a certain drug, and when/if they expose their brain to this drug through recreational use or modern medications, the receptor will "wake up" and crave the drug to which it has been exposed."

"The reason we don't just use GABA is that it is not strong enough to displace the opioid from the receptor. (The drug that is the strongest is the one that clings to the receptor, which in this example is the opioid). In other words, if someone is using morphine or another opioide, the GABA will not be able to displace the opioid, therefore it (the GABA) cannot be used by that cell. If a person is off opioids and in withdrawal it takes tremendous doses of GABA to calm down receptors because it (the receptor) is so used to the highly stimulating effects of the opioid."

"You may take GABA but taking it does not promote the nervous system to  produce it (GABA)."

These comments only give you a brief glimpse into this very informational book.

Note: Opiates are drugs derived from opium. At one time "opioids" referred to syntheticopiates only (drugs created to emulate opium, however different chemically). Now the term Opioid is used for the entire family of opiates including natural, synthetic and semi-synthetic.

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