Adverse side effects of amphetamine use can be hyperarousal and feelings of anxiety leading to paranoia and panic attacks. Current medical research has identified the brain peptide orexin as having a role in conditions of hyperarousal of the brain such as are caused by amphetamine use. Panic attacks and extreme agitation can also occur with substance abuse, particularly with kids’ huffing.
Orexin is made in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain which is responsive to light and less active at night. Orexin is necessary to cause the “rush” that addicts get with amphetamine use. Experiments have shown that when people are given amphetamines for conditions where they have low levels of orexin, such as narcolepsy (which is when people suddenly fall asleep), amphetamine effects are limited. Although amphetamines are used, and people become more alert, they don’t become addicted.
When orexin is blocked the hyperarousal state is limited, someone using amphetamine with an orexin blocker simply would not get the payoff from using the drug that they want or expect. The levels of dopamine in the brain don’t rise as much so there is no real “high” or sensation of pleasure.
It is suggested that people who have anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, will benefit from using orexin blockers so that feelings of anxiety don’t get out of control. Panic attacks, whether drug-induced or naturally occurring all relate to emotions and feelings that people have experienced at some earlier time and not fully processed. The “chunks” in the brain of unprocessed worrying feelings, mainly in the hippocampus, will not go away or sort themselves out with orexin blocker use. When the use of the orexin blocker is discontinued the same old worries and panic will re-surface. People will not become emotionally healthy by using orexin blockers
Another use for orexin blockers is to help people suffering from anxiety get to sleep at night.
It is suggested that with further development orexin blockers could help with recovery from addiction to amphetamine-type drugs. The problem with using orexin blockers is that they are only another kind of drug. It is not known whether with extended use people could become addicted to or dependent upon orexin blocker use. Using orexin blockers to combat drug addiction might only achieve the desired result when the levels of orexin blockers are so high that the addict simply fails to be excited by anything at all.
The research is interesting but it does not address the root causes of people’s anxiety. Full recovery from all drug use can only occur when the emotional conflicts that cause excess anxiety are resolved. Resolving emotional conflict leads to more healthy and coordinated functioning of the mind and body in general, and to a good night’s sleep.
Using orexin blockers is a bit like putting a cork into a bottle of soda – conditions of life that should make a person take action will simply fail to excite. Using orexin blockers is a form of mind control. Holistic methods for alcohol detox and rehabilitation enable people to work through their conflicted emotions and so deal with their environment from a position of taking control. Recovery from drug addiction is going to involve some pain – but the pain of true catharsis is very much again. Choose holistic style methods for addiction recovery and you simply won’t need the medication again.