Serotonin syndrome is unique among mental health disorders because it is one of the few that has a discernable cause: a negative drug reaction. It is a problem that is usually caused by taking two drugs designed to impact the level of serotonin. For example, combining triptans prescribed to treat migraines in addition to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for the treatment of depression can cause this serotonin syndrome to occur.
This is not, however, the only drug that can cause serotonin syndrome. The use of LSD and/or Ecstasy can also trigger the mental health disorder in users. When this occurs due to chronic abuse of these substances, Dual Diagnosis – or the presence of two mental health/medical disorders – is an issue, and treatment for both conditions is recommended.
The best way to get treatment for both issues at the same time is to undergo treatment at a Dual Diagnosis rehab center that allows patients to get the intensive care necessary to stabilize immediately and then utilize all the resources necessary to manage symptoms of both disorders at the same time.
Symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome
In most patients, serotonin syndrome occurs when the patient first begins taking the drugs in combination or when one or both medication doses are increased. Symptoms can begin within a few hours or even a few minutes in some cases. According to Medline Plus, the signs of the disorder include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure or changes in blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Loss of coordination
Club Drug Abuse
Users of club drugs like LSD and Ecstasy commonly use the drugs in social settings, taking the drugs to create a feeling of euphoria, better enjoy specific musical experiences, and to hang out with friends who use the same substance. Unfortunately, these drugs are not only a possible trigger for serotonin syndrome, but when used in combination with other party drugs like cocaine or alcohol, the risk of overdose and acute medical emergency rise significantly.
Serotonin syndrome and overdose are just a few of the issues that can occur due to drug abuse. Others include:
- Chronic health problems. Ongoing drug abuse, especially when taking medications for underlying medical ailments, can contribute to a range of problems, including cardiac issues, infection and decreased immune system, kidney and liver failure, and other conditions.
- Addiction. Dependence upon alcohol and other substances is both psychological and physical in nature. It can create changes in personality as well as permanent or semi-permanent changes in neurological functioning.
- Social issues. It’s not uncommon for those who are living with an active drug use disorder to disconnect from positive influences in their lives and isolate themselves or else only spend time with others who are heavy drug users. This can make it difficult to get and maintain employment, sustain happy relationships at home, and enjoy a balanced social life.
- Financial problems. Drugs are expensive and club drugs are no exception. It’s also difficult to keep the bank balance in the black without regular employment – a common issue among those whose choices and lifestyle are primarily ruled by drug use.
Treatment Can Start Right Now
Connect with a Dual Diagnosis rehab that can help your loved one to treat serotonin syndrome and address other co-occurring disorders, including drug and alcohol abuse, when you contact us today. Call now.
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.