Tag Archives | Addiction

Pythagorean Cup: The Cup For Gluttons

I’d venture to say there’s a glutton hiding inside all of us. Some of us are gluttons for food, some for money, and some for that enchanting nectar – alcohol. Alcohol addiction has plagued human kind since we first discovered the joys of that sweet, fermented liquid. The ancient Greeks were no less immune to gluttonous drinking and Pythagoras of Samos cleverly designed a cup that would expose the greedy: the Pythagorean Cup.

Pythagorean cup, (Author: Nevit Dilmen)

Pythagorean cup diagram, (Author: Nevit Dilmen)

From Wikipedia:

A Pythagorean cup (also known as a Pythagoras cup, a Greedy Cup or a Tantalus cup) is a form of drinking cup that forces its user to imbibe only in moderation. Credited to Pythagoras of Samos, it allows the user to fill the cup with wine up to a certain level. If they fill the cup only to that level, the imbiber may enjoy a drink in peace. If they exhibit gluttony, however, the cup spills its entire contents out of the bottom (onto the lap of the immodest drinker).

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Altered Microbial Enzyme Digests Cocaine

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Bioengineered enzyme that eats cocaine and can survive in the human body… sounds like the makings of a low-budget but entirely awesome cocaine zombie movie. (Please let the epidemic begin in Hollywood.)

Bacteria that live in the soil near coca plants make an enzyme called cocaine esterase, which rapidly breaks down the drug. The enzyme could theoretically be useful to  destroy cocaine ingested by people before it takes effect, but the half-life of the enzyme–which was isolated years ago–is only about 12 minutes at human body temperature, according to Chemical & Engineering News. “It would be hard to use this enzyme for therapeutic purposes,” University of Kentucky researcher Chang-Guo Zhan says.

So scientists decided to tinker with it. What if the enzyme could be made sturdy at high temperatures? In a 2008 study, Zhan and colleagues first figured out how to extend the half-life to six hours, possibly enough to treat an overdose.

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How Much Do You Drink? Liar!

Are you lying about how much you drink or just grossly underestimating? It’s pretty much going to be one or the other for the average person writes Keith Humphreys at New York Mag’s Science of Us blog:

One of the enduring mysteries of alcohol research is that when you tally up all the booze that people report consuming when they are surveyed about their drinking habits, it rarely adds up to even half of the alcohol sold.  So either we pour half of the liquor we purchase into the sea (could this be the origin of the phrase “drank like a fish”?) or we tend to forget — or intentionally lie about — how much sauce we imbibe. A clever new study in the journal Addiction provides clues about who is worst at owning up to the full extent of their drinking.

Alcoholic beverages montage

The researchers surveyed over 40,000 people with standard alcohol survey questions about their quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption — “How many drinks have you had in the past month?” and so on.

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Heroin Addicts: Powerless to a Flower

Opium Poppy:  Papaver somniferum

Opium Poppy: Papaver somniferum

Editor’s Note: This opinion piece was written by a contributor. It examines substance addiction, a controversial topic. No endorsement is implied by its publication. The Disinformation Company encourages you to speak with your medical provider(s) regarding this or any other health-related topic.

An old drinking buddy of mine overdosed on heroin recently. He moved out to the Pacific Northwest to skate or die, and wound up doing both, joining a hundred other Americans who go out that way every day. I hadn’t seen or thought about him in years, but by coincidence, I was in town when he passed. A mutual friend told me there would be a memorial at a local skate park. I stopped by to pay my respects.

I found a bundle of droopy balloons hovering over beer can tabs, a condom wrapper, and a melted candle. Mourners had written dedications all over the squeaky balloon skins.… Read the rest

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Indian Man Is Addicted To Eating Nothing But Bricks

Is this the ultimate hearty, raw diet? Via Metro News:
Pakkirappa Hunagundi suffers from a rare eating disorder and says he is addicted to eating only bricks, gravel and mud. "I only like mud and bricks, nothing else," he told Barcroft TV. "I will eat it because it is my habit. I need it every day. I can’t stop." The 30-year-old has been eating bricks since the age of ten. He now eats up to one brick a day and three kilos of mud and gravel to fulfill his craving. It is believed he suffers from a condition known as Pica, the persistent eating of non-food items with no nutritional value. Mr Hunagundi has ignored pleas from friends and family to change his diet and now plans to travel across India to show off his brick-eating abilities. He says he hasn’t suffered any ill-effects from his unusual diet.
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Facebook Strike as Self-Awareness Course

Pic: Rishibando (CC)

Pic: DKalo (CC)

More than once I’ve been struck with the desire to abandon Facebook, and at least one of those times I actually deactivated my account. The reasons for my frustration have varied over the last six years or so, from their sudden formatting changes to prioritize business interests, to the way they mine user data regardless of privacy settings. Other reasons have been more personal, like not having a sufficient method for determining who gets to see the more eccentric or extreme parts of my personality, or simply feeling like I waste too much time on the site.

At the end of 2013, a new kind of Facebook frustration began creeping over me. My attempts to explain it to people only seemed to make it worse, especially because – as I realized – I was creating a paradox by using Facebook to denounce Facebook. Then in late December, I simply stopped posting.… Read the rest

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Playing Tetris Stops Food Cravings

TetrisAre you battling the urge to eat? Or addicted to cigarettes? Gotta have Sex? No problem, just play Tetris and you’ll find the urge lessens! Report from Discovery News:

If cravings are running your life, try playing Tetris. The computer game can lessen the urge for a doughnut, chocolate, a cigarette or maybe even sex, finds a new study published in the journal Appetite.

“We know that cravings are associated with drug use, and early dropout of weight-loss programs,” said Jackie Andrade, a psychology professor at Plymouth University’s Cognition Institute in the U.K. “They make life difficult.”

“It’s not pleasant to be craving,” agreed psychologist David Kavanagh of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.

“It’s great to really want to eat or make love, if that’s possible right now. But it’s a torture if you can’t. So, if we can help people deal with craving — blunt it a bit, or give them some time out — it can not only help them stay in control, but it may make them feel a bit better as well.”

The Plymouth researchers, led by Jessica Skorka-Brown, tested the effects of Tetris on individuals who reported “natural” cravings of varying degrees — as opposed to cravings deliberately generated by researchers with chocolates, for instance.

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Inside China’s Internet Addiction Rehab Camps

internet addictionThe New York Times has a short film exploring life inside one of China's hundreds of boot-camp-style treatment centers for electronics-addled youth who spend night and day gaming online, in some cases allegedly wearing diapers to avoid taking bathroom breaks. The camp director compares the internet to "electronic heroin" and warns that the teens "know the internet inside and out, but nothing about human beings." Questions abound: Is China at the forefront of what will become a global epidemic of Compulsive Internet Use? Are computers being scapegoated for problems that are in fact more subtle and complex? Could you survive several months cold turkey?
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Is Atheism An Intellectual Luxury For The Wealthy?

Crack addict (not one of Arnade's photos - they're all copyrighted)

Crack addict (not one of Arnade’s photos – they’re all copyrighted)

Photographer Chris Arnade has a fantastic collection entitled Faces of Addiction set in New York’s South Bronx. He writes in The Guardian that “The people who challenged my atheism most were drug addicts and prostitutes. I’ve been reminded that life is not as rational as Richard Dawkins sees it. Perhaps atheism is an intellectual luxury for the wealthy”:

They prayed whenever they could find 15 minutes. “Preacher Man”, as we called him, would read from the Bible with his tiny round glasses. It was the only book he had ever read. A dozen or so others would listen, silently praying while stroking rosaries, sitting on bare mattresses, crammed into a half-painted dorm room.

I was the outsider, a 16-year-old working on a summer custodial crew for a local college, saving money to pay for my escape from my hometown. The other employees, close to three dozen, were working to feed themselves, to feed their kids, to pay child support, to pay for the basics of life.

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DMT Use Skyrockets Among American Users

Dmt ideaDisinfonaut DMT tales welcome in the comments! Addiction and recovery site The Fix takes an interest because “Despite powerful hallucinogenic effects and intense vomiting among users, DMT has also been seen as an alternative treatment for addiction”:

DMT, a powerful hallucinogenic compound used in religious rituals among Amazon tribes, has now become a popular recreational drug among U.S. residents.

According to recent reports by the Global Drug Survey and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of people in the U.S. who have used DMT in some form has risen every year since 2006, with over a million users reported in 2012. The drug is a key component in ayahuasca brew, a combination of two plants grown in South America that has been used as a medicinal and religious aid for tribal peoples in the region for countless years.

One of the plants in the brew, Psychotria viridis, contains dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, which is a common element in many plants and even the human body itself, which neutralizes the potency of the drug.

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