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Thinking Nurse

This blog will reflect my interests in learning disabilities, nursing, nursing theory, philosophy and politics and my general interests in the arts and literature. (Nursing is an art as well as a science!) Philosophy and nursing have been intrinsically linked since the days of Socrates, his mother was a midwife, and taught him everything he knew!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Ecstasy And Depression

Here's a link to a study that links the clubber's drug Ecstasy to depression.

I have posted previously about the mental health implications of Cannabis: A drug-induced mental health crisis.

Both ecstasy and cannabis are commonly regarded as being relatively harmless, and are used regularly by large numbers of young people in Britain. These studies are just part of a growing body of evidence that we should be using to challenge such complacent attitudes.

We also desperately need to be talking openly about the many social problems that are driving young people into heavy use of drugs and alcohol as a means of escape, problems of poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity that Tony Blair and New Labour try to pretend no longer exist.

12 Comments:

At 7:36 PM, Blogger Comrade_Smirnoff said...

While I agree that cannabis (in it's modern, ultra powerful form) mashes it's regular users, I have to disagree with you on E.

Some of my peers have regularly taken 4 or 5 E's almost every weekend for the past 5 years, and I haven't noticed any changes in their personalities.

There is the 'come down' but that only lasts a few hours. It is a self-regulating process. Users have a 4 hour high (as the brain uses more serotonin), then a 4 hour low (as it uses less).

Once you know what to expect, it's easy to handle. You are about 100 times more likely to die from eating a peanut, than from taking an ecstacy tablet.

Have you ever taken drugs?

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Thinking Nurse said...

The weaknesses of the study were that it only had 124 subjects, while Ecstasy is regularly used by tens of thousands.

The people who developed depressive symptoms in the Ecstasy study were thought to be people with a genetic predisposition to depression - so it would be sensible, if you are a person who is prone to depression, (one of the most common mental illnesses) not to use ecstasy.

I would be interested to know where you got the figure on comparative mortality between eating peanuts and using ecstasy. If it is true (which I think is unlikely), it is comparing the chances of dieing as a result of an allergic reaction, with peanut allergy being more common than an allergy to ecstasy.

Since depression is a major risk factor for suicide, if ecstasy is likely to increase depression, it could lead to increased suicide, such suicides though, would not be counted among the fatalities due to ecstasy.

It is easy to underestimate exactly how debilitating and unpleasant to the sufferer clinical depression actually is, some have described it as a 'living death'.

The sheer awfulness of the experience of depression should be factored in to any equation of risks and benefits derived from the use of ecstasy.

I have taken drugs - paracetamol being the main one. I avoid aspirin and anti-inflammatories because I have had a stomach ulcer, so the risks of using them outweigh the benefits...

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger Thinking Nurse said...

The other point I would like to make, is that using any drug to causing large, artificial, unpredictable and uncontrolled swings in your brain chemistry, on a regular basis, cannot really do anybody much good - can it?

 
At 6:56 PM, Blogger Comrade_Smirnoff said...

I guess that'd rule out alcohol, chocolate and coffee, not to mention exercise.

Ecstasy is the chemical equivalent of extremely large quantities of chocolate. Plus, when you go jogging your brain releases small quantities of natural occurring heroin.

The only stimulating substances which have any effect on the brain are those for which the brain has receptors (i.e. they occur naturally in small quantities).

Also, it's worth pointing out that there are hundreds of different kinds of ecstasy, some less dangerous than others.

As for the ecstasy vs peanuts analogy, I got that from the old 'hard hitting' adverts. One used to say 'how do you know you're not one of the 1 in 100,000 people allergic to ecstasy?

Also, I don't believe that ecstasy causes depression. Alcohol is far worse in that respect. In fact, from my observations, anti-depressants (somewhat perversely) tend to be the most dangerous drugs out there. Especially Seroxat.

 
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