fentanyl overdose

Fentanyl Overdose: Recognize the Signs of Addiction Before It’s Too Late

Fentanyl often referred to as heroin’s synthetic cousin is a synthetic opioid that is known for being much stronger than heroin and other analgesics. This deadly drug has been gaining exposure in the addiction world and is one of the leading causes of drug abuse overdose. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said that Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and even more so than heroin. Whether the drug is being added to other opioids or taken alone, using fentanyl increases the likelihood of fatal overdose.  Recognizing the signs and symptoms of addiction in yourself or a loved one is key to getting the right treatment before it’s too late. 

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a type of opioid, typically found in powder form, that was intended to be an anesthetic. Pharmaceutical companies marketed the drug as an anesthetic but it was later discovered that it had a dual ability to act as a painkiller when given in small quantities.  Hospitals and trained clinical doctors began carefully measuring the appropriate dosage of fentanyl to ensure the dose was not only effective but safe. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there were 19,413 synthetic opioid-related overdoses in 2016 alone. Fatal Overdoses involving synthetic opioids including fentanyl, increased almost 47% from 2016 to 2017.3 Roughly 28,400 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids other than methadone in 2017.

National law enforcement has indicated that much of the synthetic opioid overdose increase may be due to illegally or illicitly made fentanyl.

When the drug is bought off the streets, the dose and mix of chemicals is not regulated and often dealers and users don’t realize how strong fentanyl really is. To get the same effect as a typical dose of heroin, you would only need about 1/10th of the amount. Fentanyl also looks identical to heroin and is often mixed up.  These reasons all increase the deadliness of fentanyl and cause high overdose rates. 

Side Effects of Fentanyl

  • Mania
  • Euphoria
  • Confusion
  • Slowed breathing
  • Nausea 
  • Constipation
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Drowsiness
  • Mood swings
  • Overdose 

Like morphine, heroin, and other opioids, fentanyl works by communicating with the parts of the brain that cause emotions and pain. It increases the “feel good” chemicals and decreases both physical and emotional pain. Addiction to opioids can cause the brain to become dependant on the drug to feel pleasure. In turn, attempting to quit can lead to severe anxiety, depression, and mental health issues. 

Apart from the short term effects, Fentanyl may cause, repeated use can leave lasting damage to the body. 

Some of the Long Term Side Effects Include:

  • Heart Failure
  • Liver Damage
  • Kidney Damage
  • Infertility
  • Mental Health Deterioration
  • Brain Damage
  • Death

Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of addiction in your loved one could help you intervene before it’s too late. Addiction changes people’s behavior and overall personality. If you suspect that your loved one is using drugs, and any of the below signs are true for them, you should consider intervening. Some of the more common symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction include:

  • Irritability
  • Manic/Depressive Behavior
  • Anger Tantrums 
  • Loss of Interest in everyday life
  • Stealing Money 
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Not keeping in touch with family or friends
  • Weight Gain or Weight Loss

Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

  • Severe Confusion
  • Slow Breathing
  • Trouble Walking, Talking, and Hearing
  • Obvious Sedation
  • Constricted Pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

A fentanyl overdose has the potential to be fatal.  if you think you or a loved is using fentanyl recreationally and may be suffering from addiction, be sure to purchase and always carry Naloxone (Narcan, Evzio). Naloxone is a medication designed to reverse the effects of an overdose and increase the chances of survival. When administered within a reasonable amount of time, it has been known to save lives. Since Fentanyl always creates a sedated like state of being, it’s important to know how to recognize an overdose so you can administer Naloxone when needed. 

According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Fentanyl is the leading cause of overdose in the Nation and is only increasing. This is likely done to it being less expensive than heroin but much stronger. Many people overdose from Fentanyl by accident thinking it is heroin, or not knowing that extra fentanyl was added to other drugs. 

When too much Fentanyl enters the body, the nervous system is overwhelmed and basic bodily functions shut down. At the same time, since fentanyl is a depressant, the respiratory system is also harmed.

If you or a loved one exhibits any of these symptoms while using fentanyl, it is important to seek medical assistance immediately. Even if you are unaware that fentanyl has put into your drugs, these symptoms should never be ignored. 

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction 

Addiction to Fentanyl is a serious illness that requires a full medical rehabilitation plan. The first step in any addiction treatment is a drug detox. This period of time will enable the individual to safely and effectively rid their body of the drug and its harmful toxins. From there, individuals will typically enter an inpatient residential treatment. 

Residential treatment centers offer the individual a place to rebuild their health, both physical and mental, under the supervision of qualified professionals. Treatment centers will have licensed therapists, doctors, nurses, nutritionists, pharmacists, and holistic practitioners on hand to help with every aspect of recovery. 

Each Individual will have a personalized treatment plan with services tailored to meet their needs. Different combinations of talk therapy, medicated assistance, and holistic treatments will ensure a full recovery is achieved, and long term aftercare is planned. Addiction is a lifelong disease, and detoxing isn’t enough. Going back even for just “one last high” has the potential to cause a fatal overdose. A full treatment plan under the supervision of clinical professionals is needed to ensure lifelong recovery. 

You can reach our team of professionals by contacting us here.

how long does meth stay in your system

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Approximately half a million Americans use meth each week. If you’re addicted to the drug, you’re not alone. At least 5% of the American population has used meth at least once. While nationwide meth use trends are slowly declining, the drug still remains popular in some parts of the United States. Reports indicate that meth use is particularly popular on the west coast and in the midwest.

Although most people know the consequences of meth use and addiction, not everyone knows the full extent of the effects that meth can have on the body. For instance, how long does meth stay in your system?

This article will outline the timeline of meth as well as different types of drug tests that can positively identify meth in the body.

How Long Does It Take for the Body to Process Meth?

The amount of time it takes for your body to process meth depends on the meth itself. For example, if you take meth in the form of a pill, the drug will reach its peak in your bloodstream anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 hours after taking it. Twelve hours later, amphetamine metabolite will also peak.

If you inject meth intravenously, or by using a syringe, the half-life is around 12 hours. This means that, after 12 hours, half of the substance will have left your system. The longevity of intravenous meth use can prolong the feeling of euphoria, which is why injection is the most popular route of administration among users— despite the health risks.

Since meth is water-soluble, it leaves your body through your urine once it has been processed. Still, there are tests that can detect meth even after it has passed through your system.

Hair Follicle Tests

hair follicle test is the most accurate and extensive drug test. These tests can determine if a user has ingested any amount of meth at any point in the last 90 days. This is because, once meth has entered your bloodstream, traces of it can become part of your hair as it grows.

In other words, you can’t get a “clean” hair follicle test by dying your hair, cutting it, or washing it.

Since this type of drug testing is the most accurate, some states require people to take court-ordered hair follicle tests in order for them to maintain specific rights. For example, parents with joint custody or limited visitation of their children may only be able to visit if they provide a clean hair follicle sample.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are perhaps the most invasive way to detect drug use. As the name suggests, these types of tests look for traces of drugs in your bloodstream.

For the most part, blood testing can positively identify meth use that occurred within the past four days or so. So, they are more accurate than urine and saliva tests but less accurate than hair follicle tests.

Urine Tests

Urine tests are probably the most common way to test for drug use. These kinds of tests are both reliable and inexpensive, which is why many businesses and correctional facilities rely on them.

However, unlike hair follicle and blood tests, there is a much smaller window of detection for urine tests. Most urine tests can usually only detect meth use within the last two or so days.

Still, the results of a urine test mostly depend on how much meth a user consumed in the days prior to the test. In other words, if your meth use is both heavy and chronic, then a urine test will most likely be able to detect it even if weeks have passed since your last dose.

Saliva Test

A saliva test is relatively straightforward. All it requires is a small sample of saliva, usually taken from a cheek swab. The test then looks for any traces of drugs in your saliva.

Saliva tests typically turn out positive if the user ingested meth within the last one to four days. So, these tests are about as accurate as urine tests.

Meth Withdrawal

If you or a loved one has gone through meth withdrawal, then you know that the symptoms can last several weeks. For some individuals, meth withdrawal can persist months after their last dose.

However, it’s important to know that the duration of withdrawal symptoms is not an indication that meth is still in your system. Remember, meth does not stay in the body for more than a couple days, at most.

What Withdrawal Symptoms Mean

Many people withdrawing or detoxing from meth may experience symptoms like anxiety for five weeks or longer. Plus, users who already struggle with mental health issues like chronic depression or anxiety may experience additional psychological issues after quitting the drug. They may also experience cravings for several weeks after the last dose.

However, this does not necessarily mean that meth is present in the user’s body. Meth increases the levels of dopamine in the brain, which induces feelings of euphoria. This is what drives cravings after quitting.

So, if anything, withdrawal symptoms are a sign that the body is working to recover from issues that were brought about by meth use. They are not a sign that meth is still in your system.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System? It Depends

The amount of time that meth stays in your system will vary depending on you, your body, how much of the drug you use, how you take it, and how often you use it. In any case, different types of drug testing can confirm past drug use even months after the last dose.

If you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction or going through intense withdrawal symptoms, please contact us. We can help you find the best addiction treatment for you.

References

ADAMHSCC Board. (n.d.). Facts about Methamphetamine. Retrieved from http://adamhscc.org/en-US/facts-meth.aspx

Fogoros, R. N. (Ed.). (2019, June 24). How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System? Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-methamphetamine-stay-in-your-system-80283

Hartney, E. (2019, June 28). 5 Meth Withdrawal Symptoms Users Experience. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-to-expect-from-meth-withdrawal-22358

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). What is the scope of methamphetamine misuse in the United States? Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-scope-methamphetamine-abuse-in-united-states

Roehr, B. (2005, September 03). Half a million Americans use methamphetamine every week. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1199019/

Sauer, M. (n.d.). Hair Follicle Drug Test: How It Works, Uses, and What to Expect (D. Sullivan, Ed.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-follicle-drug-test

how long does cocaine stay in your system

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Of all the drugs in the world, cocaine is perhaps the most infamous. It frequently appears in movies about gangsters, actors, and singers. By now, people all over the world are familiar with the basic appearance and general effects of cocaine. However, most people don’t know how long this powerful drug stays in the body.

This article outlines the effects of cocaine, describes the intensity and duration of its effects, and answers the burning question: how long does cocaine stay in your system? 

Cocaine: What is It? 

Cocaine is a white powder derived from the leaf of the coca plant. As a stimulant, cocaine can cause feelings of intense euphoria, energy, and even anxiety. It can also suppress appetite and induce erratic behavior, like random outbursts of anger. The drug is also known for causing increased heart rate, elevating the risk of heart attack and stroke for many users. 

Cocaine is always white, but its consistency varies. Sometimes, it appears fine and powdery, like flour. Other times, cocaine is made up of tiny, pebble-like rocks that look more like crystals. In any case, cocaine always has a bitter taste and rotten smell; some batches of the drug even smell like gasoline. 

How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?

Although cocaine is a very potent stimulant, the effects of the drug are relatively short-lived. In fact, they can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the “purity” of the cocaine, the amount ingested, and the user.

Purity

The purity of cocaine has a large impact on how long the user feels the effects. “Pure” cocaine is rare because it is often cut, or mixed, with other substances to increase the quantity. Naturally, this results in lower concentrations of the drug.

For the most part, cocaine is cut with powdery substances. Typical ingredients include baby powder, aspirin, and laxatives. Still, cocaine can also be cut with other more dangerous substances, like fentanyl or numbing agents.

Quantity

One of the reasons why cocaine use is so dangerous is that it is impossible to tell what it has been cut with— or if it was cut with anything at all.

While large amounts of substances like fentanyl are life-threatening, it is exceptionally easy to overdose on pure cocaine. Even small amounts of pure cocaine are enough to trigger a heart attack or stroke. 

All in all, users won’t know what’s in their batch until they ingest it. At that point, it may be too late.

Gender and Body Weight

The gender and weight of the user can also have a big impact on the effects and longevity of the drug.

For instance, people who have above-average body weight will likely need greater quantities of the drug to feel any of its effects.

Cocaine also has a greater impact on women than on men. In other words, women can more easily get high on cocaine. This is because estradiol, a female hormone, strengthens the drug. 

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Although the effects of cocaine only last for a couple of hours at the longest, it remains in your system for much, much longer.

The amount of time that cocaine stays in the body will depend on factors like age, weight, gender, diet, and exercise or activity levels. These and some other factors will affect how long cocaine lingers after the effects have worn off.

However, the most telling factor is the amount of cocaine the user consumes.

Small Amounts Linger for Two to Four Days

However, if you don’t use cocaine often, then it will most likely stay in your system for two to four days after you use it. Cocaine is water-soluble, so it will exit your body through your urine.

Large Amounts Linger for Weeks or Even Months 

If you use cocaine regularly, then it may take days or even weeks for it to completely leave your system. Sometimes, like marijuana, cocaine can even remain in your body for months.

This is especially true if you use cocaine every day. Frequent cocaine use leads to byproduct buildup in your system, meaning that it will take a long time for the drug to leave your body via urine. 

How Long is Cocaine Detectable in Your System?

No matter how long it takes for cocaine to leave your body, it may still be detectable long after your last dose. This is because, when your body processes cocaine, it releases benzoylecgonine into your blood.

Benzoylecgonine

Benzoylecgonine is what companies look for during drug testing. The presence of benzoylecgonine in your system indicates that you took cocaine or something similar. By looking for benzoylecgonine, blood and urine tests are able to detect cocaine weeks after it has left the body.

People who use cocaine all the time will have larger levels of benzoylecgonine in their system than those who rarely use it. In fact, infrequent users typically flush benzoylecgonine from their systems in a matter of a couple of days.

However, there are some drug tests that can detect benzoylecgonine months after the last dose, no matter how much cocaine was taken. These tests usually look for signs of drug use by examining hair samples.

Hair Samples in Drug Testing 

The keratin in your hair is a biological record of what was in your body as your hair was growing. When you take any drug, trace amounts of it usually appear in your hair. Sometimes, hair will retain trace amounts of drugs until it falls out or gets cut.

In other words, drug tests that examine hair follicles can detect drugs months after ingestion. So, cocaine can stay in your system for much, much longer than just a couple of days. 

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

How long does cocaine stay in your system? Generally, it takes two to four days, but the answer is different for everyone.

Now that you have more information about cocaine, its effects, and how long it stays in your system, you have the knowledge you need to make sure cocaine doesn’t ruin your life like it has for so many others. 

If you or a loved one are suffering from cocaine addiction, please contact us for more information about treatment options and insurance coverage.

References

McKinnonJon, J., & ADT Healthcare. (2019, June 12). How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System? Retrieved from https://www.adt-healthcare.com/blog/post/how-long-cocaine-stay-system/

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2017, August 03). Why Females Are More Sensitive to Cocaine. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2017/08/why-females-are-more-sensitive-to-cocaine

ScienceDirect. (n.d.). Benzoylecgonine. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/benzoylecgonine

Stein, S. (Ed.). (n.d.). How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System If Mixed with Substances? Retrieved from https://lagunatreatment.com/cocaine-abuse/combined-with-other-substances/

WagenerReviewed, D., & Stein, S. (n.d.). How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System? (Blood, Urine & Saliva). Retrieved from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/cocaine-treatment/how-long-in-system

bath salts

Not for Human Consumption: The Dangers of Bath Salts

The bath salt abuse trend seems to have come out of nowhere. It caused 23,000 emergency visits in 2011! Even today, bath salts have a widespread effect— especially on younger people.

Don’t underestimate the dangers of bath salt abuse. Read on to learn more about the basics of bath salts, the dangerous side effects they carry, and how to find help if you’re struggling with addiction.

What Are Bath Salts?

Synthetic cathinones, or “bath salts,” come in a crystallized powder that resembles Epsom salt, hence the name.

Bath salts are a “designer drug,” or a synthetic version of a controlled substance. These particular drugs produce short-lived but extreme highs due to their highly concentrated ingredients.

The lab-grown nature of these drugs is also cause for concern. Not only are synthetic cathinones highly addictive, but factors like ingredient impurity, lack of lab sanitation, and the addition of other chemicals like detergent pose a threat to users.

Ingredients in Bath Salts

The main ingredient of this drug comes from the khat plant, an herb native to parts of Arabia and Africa. The plant contains cathinone, a natural amphetamine stimulant.

Alone, khat plants and cathinone can pose a number of health risks due to the presence of methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). However, lab-generated cathinone is far more powerful. In fact, synthetic cathinone shares a similar chemical makeup to methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA. Some people even call it “fake cocaine.”

Street Names for Bath Salts

All things considered, these drugs are relatively new to the United States. But since their introduction, they’ve garnered a lot of (mostly negative) attention.

The U.S. government even signed an emergency federal ban on the drug within a few months of its stateside appearance.

However, as a result of the ban, the drug gained a number of additional street names, including:

  • Bliss
  • Sextasy
  • Plant food
  • Meow meow
  • Phone screen cleaner

Of course, “bath salts” is still the most popular street name for synthetic cathinones.

Bath Salts Side Effects

The use of this drug can bring about a number of dangerous side effects. The results can land users in the hospital, cause permanent damage, or even prove fatal.

Here are a few of the more common side effects:

Euphoria

The most common effect of this drug is the extreme and sudden sense of euphoria, not unlike that experienced with similar drugs like cocaine.

But the high itself isn’t the greatest cause for concern. Rather, it’s the sudden start followed by an almost spontaneous crash three to four hours later. This can put an enormous strain on the body.

Confusion or Memory Loss

Many bath salts users reported feeling a sense of confusion, almost like amnesia. They forgot who they were, where they were, and why they were there. Although this side effect tends to lessen over time, it is possible for a user to never fully recover.

Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Many people who use bath salts report a massive surge in energy after ingesting the drug. This exhilaration is partially due to an increase in blood flow to the heart.

This may seem harmless, but make no mistake: increased heart rate can be one of the most dangerous side effects of drug use.

In one case, a 27-year-old man was hospitalized after ingesting the drug. Doctors noted that although the man was healthy by all accounts, he now exhibited signs of cardiomyopathy and cardiogenic shock.

Increased heart rate isn’t the only cardiovascular risk of bath salt abuse. Elevated blood pressure is also a major threat. A sudden spike in blood pressure increases a person’s chance of succumbing to a stroke or heart attack.

Liver Damage

Our bodies are not designed for filtering toxins like the ones found in bath salts. As a result, a user may experience extreme liver damage, not unlike an alcoholic.

Seizures

Up to 9% of all epileptic episodes are caused by drug abuse. A single seizure is dangerous enough, but prolonged bath salt abuse can cause repeat incidents, leading to permanent brain damage.

Extreme Mood Swings

One of the most well-known symptoms of bath salt use is the erratic mood swings that make for unpredictable behavior. Other symptoms include extreme paranoia and anxiety that can last for days after ingestion.

Powerful Hallucinations

Bath salts are psychoactive substances. The intense chemical reactions they cause in the brain can result in any number of auditory or visual hallucinations. This side effect can be particularly dangerous when combined with mood swings.

The most infamous case of bath salt abuse involving this particular side effect took place in Florida. A homeless man high on bath salts attacked and began cannibalizing another homeless man. He was subsequently shot and killed by police officers. The victim lost 75 percent of his face, but survived.

Treatment Options for Bath Salts Addiction

It’s important to note that, like methamphetamine and cocaine, bath salts are extremely addictive. In fact, studies show that they may actually be more addictive. It doesn’t take much for a user to become addicted.

Bath salts addiction is a scary, eye-opening experience. It comes with a wide array of physical and mental consequences, all of which require professional help.

With that said, if you or a loved one are dealing with bath salts addiction, the battle is far from over. Detoxification, residential treatment, and outpatient treatment are all quality, affordable forms of addiction care. They work even better together.

Enrolling in rehab will give you or your loved one the opportunity to address the addiction as well as learn life-changing coping skills through various intensive therapies.

Contact Us Today for More Information

Bath salts are dangerous substances with frightening side effects and medical consequences. Using these drugs even once can put you at great risk.

Please remember that help is out there.

Reach out today to discover rehab centers in your area that can help you get your life back.

illicit drugs

Is Your Family Member on Drugs? 8 Signs They Are Using Illicit Drugs

Did you know that over 19 million Americans suffer from drug and alcohol addiction? We never think that it could happen to someone we love— but it can. 

8 Signs of Illicit Drug Use

Is your teenager, sibling, parent, or friend showing signs of substance abuse? If so, know that early diagnosis allows your loved one to get help sooner. But, how can you tell if your loved one is using illicit drugs?

Some signs of substance abuse are physical and others are behavioral. Keep an eye out for the following eight signs that your loved one is using drugs:

1. Physical Changes

There are some obvious physical changes that the body endures when it has drugs in its system. To start, users often get bloodshot or glassy eyes. The pupils may even shrink (constrict) or get enlarged (dilate).  

Weight fluctuation is also common with different drugs. There may also be a loss of hair and general tiredness.

Your loved one may also experience a constantly runny nose. If the substance he or she is abusing is alcohol, look out for the “alcoholic nose.” This is where the bulb of the nose swells or looks flushed.

Some heavy drugs, like meth and heroin, can cause wounds to the skin, either from picking and scratching or from injecting needles.

2. Changes in Routine

The user’s typical routine gets disrupted during drug use. Some users might develop insomnia or start sleeping in excessive amounts.

Personal hygiene habits also get disrupted when getting and using drugs becomes the user’s biggest priority. Users may neglect to take care of their teeth, skin, or body. You may notice your loved one’s clothes are often dirty and he or she has strong body odor.

Moreover, arriving at meetings, work, school, and appointments on time might happen less. Your loved one may start showing up late, or not at all, to obligations.

3. Social Changes

A person who is usually social and personable may become solitary on drugs. You might notice your loved one withdrawing from friends and peers.

Your loved one may even be spending more time with a crowd you don’t know. Users tend to spend social time with people who enable their addictive habits.

This could also mean that your loved one is withdrawing from family.

When users try to hide their addiction, they may isolate themselves from people who love them. They either don’t want to get forced to stop or don’t want to disappoint the people they love.

4. Neglecting Responsibilities

Is it your loved one’s turn to pick up the kids from daycare? Has he or she stopped showing up for work? Or school?

Neglecting responsibilities is a sign of illicit drug use.

Intoxication can make users forget about their obligations and commitments. At that moment, they only care about getting high.

If the user in question is a parent, the situation becomes especially critical. Addiction can harm kids and other dependents. After all, neglect is a form of child abuse.

5. Financial Problems

Addiction is an expensive habit. To maintain daily use, some users pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars each week for their supply of illicit drugs.

If your loved one has started asking to borrow money more frequently, it could be a sign of illicit drug abuse. This is especially true if your loved one promises to pay you back but never does.

Do an experiment: the next time your loved one asks to borrow money, decline the request. How does your loved one react? If he or she gets upset or tries to pressure you further, stand your ground.

It’s important not to enable users by supplying the money they use to buy their drugs. Enabling addictive behaviors don’t help them get clean or seek help. Your support of a healthy, clean life is more influential.

6. Unpredictable Mood Swings

Users take drugs for a variety of reasons. Some use illicit drugs to cope with trauma or escape conflict. Others started off using drugs as meaningless experimentation that wound up causing a physical dependence.

Whatever the case, the vast majority of users don’t want to be addicted.

The unhappiness and discontent your loved one may feel as a result of addiction can cause erratic mood swings. Plus, the drugs themselves could also cause mood swings by affecting the user’s brain chemistry.

Sometimes, mood swings are normal, even for sober people. So, be sure to make note of the intensity and frequency of your loved one’s mood swings.

7. Defensiveness

Have you already approached the topic of addiction with your loved one? If so, he or she probably responded with defensiveness and negativity.

This is a normal response from someone who is struggling with an addiction to illicit drugs.

Some users are fearful that admitting their addiction means that they can’t use drugs anymore. There’s also the fear of upsetting and disappointing those they love.

Others are in complete denial that they have an addiction at all. They may even believe that they have total control over their habit. This makes it very difficult to convince them to get help.

If your loved one gets defensive when you broach the subject of addiction, stay calm. Remind your loved one how much you care.

8. Withdrawal from Interests

Another sign that someone you love is using illicit drugs is a sudden withdrawal from favorite activities. When people excel at something or have a passion for it, they will do everything they can to continue doing it. However, drugs make people lose sight of their interests and goals, resulting in shortsightedness and personality changes.

For example, a student who excels at sports may stop going to practice if he or she has become addicted to illicit drugs. Alternatively, a successful business person may stop going to work in favor of using drugs. Even parents may lose interest in playing with their children because of illicit drug addiction.

If your loved one stops doing things that he or she usually loves, then this could be a sign of illicit drug addiction. Try to find out what’s replacing those favorite activities. It could be a new group of peers, illicit drugs, or both.

Is Your Loved One Using Illicit Drugs?

The physical and behavioral changes in someone using illicit drugs are alarming. And, sometimes, getting help for our loved ones can be a struggle, especially if they’re in denial about the addiction.

Addiction Treatment Services can help. We can connect you to experienced and qualified intervention specialists. For more information, please contact us.

meth-signs

Meth Signs of Addiction: 10 Ways to Know Your Loved One is in Danger

Since 2008, hospital admittance for methamphetamine use has risen by roughly 245% in the U.S. The recent opioid crisis has put the dangers of meth abuse in the shadows, but the number of meth users is staggering.

The U.S. border seizes up to 20 times more of the drug than they did a decade ago, proving that the problem is as rampant as ever.

The physical manifestation of meth use is gradual. If you think someone you love is using, keep reading for the common meth signs of addiction and some advice on how to get help.

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine, more commonly known as meth, is a highly addictive, illegal drug that is similar in structure to amphetamines. Amphetamines are used in a variety of common prescription drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexadrine.

While the two chemicals are structurally similar and can produce similar effects, it’s important not to mistake one for the other.

Doctors prescribe amphetamines to treat conditions like ADHD and other focus-related disorders. Methamphatimes are much stronger, highly addictive and completely illegal.

It is a whitish blue glassy substance, which is why its most common street name is crystal meth. Other common street names are crystal, ice, glass, whizz, and jib. People take the drug by injecting, smoking, snorting or ingesting it.

It produces an immediate feeling of extreme euphoria lasting up to 30 minutes. During that time users often feel highly motivated, intellectually charged, alert, and confident.

Meth is widely attributed to being one of the most dangerous, destructive illicit drugs available on the streets today. It has one of the highest rates of relapse due to its highly addictive nature and extremely cheap street prices.

Early Signs of Meth Use

In most cases, meth is not the first drug people try. It’s commonly abused by people who have already struggled with addiction or abuse of other drugs, especially uppers like cocaine or MDMA.

The obvious visible signs of meth use don’t happen quickly; it is a gradual process. If you think someone you love might be using meth, keep an eye out for the following.

While it might not be easy to identify, and might even seem like a positive thing at first, one early sign to look out for is if the person stops using other drugs. Cocaine, for instance, produces some of the same effects but is incredibly expensive.

If you’re close enough to someone to know what drugs they’ve been using, and you notice they’ve stopped buying cocaine, but are still acting in a way that worries you, they could have moved on to meth.

Another thing to watch for is a change in sleeping patterns. Meth users don’t sleep as much since the drug is a powerful stimulant. Withdrawing from loved ones and ditching previously enjoyed activities, work, and school are also red flags.

While it’s tricky to identify the early stages of meth addiction, it can be quite easy to identify if someone has recently taken it. Signs of the meth high include dilated pupils, fast-paced and excessive talking and over-confidence.

Other signs that someone is taking meth include extreme paranoia, delusional behavior, grandiose thoughts, increased libido, decreased appetite, stealing money from loved ones, violence and an increase in reckless behavior.

Late Signs of Meth Use

Unfortunately, it can go from the early stage to the late stage very quickly. It doesn’t take long for meth addiction to take hold, and the physical manifestation of the drug can be very jarring.

Physical signs of late-stage meth use are rotting teeth, mouth sores, bad breath, and scabs. Meth scabs are common due to the skin-crawling feeling that incites the users to pick at their skin, causing scabs and open sores.

Chronic meth use can lead to brain damage, stroke, seizures, and death. Meth addiction can cause the user to lose their job and home, leading them to financial ruin. It causes broken relationships. Often, the user ends up on the street.

Overdose Symptoms

It’s incredibly easy to overdose on meth. Signs that someone is overdosing, or close to overdosing, include intense, aggressive behavior, fever, muscle pains and shakes, nausea and vomiting, deliriousness or confusion or high or low blood pressure.

A meth overdose can lead to a stroke, a coma, and death. There is no drug available that can reduce the effects of a meth overdose.

Doctors will administer fluids through an IV for hydration, and give medication to control blood pressure and anxiety. The sooner the user gets medical attention, the better.

Meth Detox

The meth detox process is not an easy one with such high relapse rates. But it’s not impossible. The earlier the user gets into a treatment center for detoxification, the better.

There are three commonly recognized stages of meth detox. The first stage is the crash, also known as the “come down” or the withdrawal, and lasts up to 3 days from the time the last high subsides.

During this time, the user will be extremely anxious, irritable, hungry, depressed, and exhausted. The next stage is known as the acute stage and can last up to a week once the initial withdrawal symptoms fade.

When in the acute stage of detox, the user will experience severe insomnia, body aches, shakiness, depression, loss of memory and psychosis. During this stage, it’s best for the user to be in a safe environment, preferably a detox center.

The last stage is referred to as extinction, or post-withdrawal acute stage, and in severe cases can last up to several months.

During what will hopefully be the final stage and the end of their addiction, users will experience extreme mood changes, extreme anxiety, depression, irritability, aggression, intense cravings, nightmares, and insomnia.

The Bottom Line: Get Help ASAP

If you think someone you love is using meth, try to get them help as soon as possible.

Deterioration of the body and mind of meth addicts happens fast and can lead to death.

To learn more about meth signs of addiction and to get help, read through our treatment options.

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Unique New Approaches to Meth Addiction Treatment

We’ve talked in previous articles about the dangers of meth addiction.

It is a highly addictive drug. Innovation is needed in primary approaches to treatment.

Many of the pharmacological approaches have their own risks and drawbacks.

One risk includes addiction to those very same drugs.

The below strategies are holistic approaches surrounding existing treatments.

Innovative Approaches to Meth Addiction Treatment

Below are a few potential holistic solutions in treating meth addiction. These approaches focus on the health and well-being of the patient.

Yoga

There are many benefits to practicing yoga, one including increased physical fitness.

The main aspect of yoga that has been shown to help recovering addicts from relapsing is meditation.

Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety in individuals.

Meditation can help a recovering addict by empowering them with the inner strength needed to control their cravings.

Nutrition Therapy

This approach looks toward the patients’ biochemical imbalances for key signifiers of addiction.

They look at factors like adrenal fatigue, stress, nutrient deficiencies, and neurotransmitter imbalances.

This therapy starts with an initial assessment of the recovering addict. It then ends with the creation of a plan to address those imbalances.

Nutritionists argue that these imbalances can act as tipping points to cravings.

Restoring their physical health will help stabilize their mood and reduce those cravings.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has the potential to be an effective way of reducing withdrawal symptoms. 

There are many types of techniques involving acupuncture. This includes needles varying in thickness and temperature. There are also laser-based “needles” that provide the very same effects.

Acupuncture can help reduce pain in the general population. It can be an excellent supplement for those who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Gardening Therapy

Tending a garden can also have a positive impact on recovering addicts.

Being responsible for a physical task like taking care of a garden can help addicts in a few ways.

Gardening requires presence, attention, and patience, which can give patients much needed peace of mind.

It can also help improve concentration and a sense of accomplishment over time.

Pet Therapy

Introducing recovering patients to pets like cats and dogs have their benefits.

Caring for pets gives them a sense of responsibility that can empower them. It also teaches them a form of empathy for another life. Pets also show them much needed love and affection.

This allows them to rediscover their need to nurture and take care of the pets.

Recovering patients who take care of pets report less stress and depressive episodes.

Holistic Approaches As Supplements To Primary Treatment

These approaches help build confidence and reintroduce patients to a normal life.

They’re able to regain their sense of self and identity.

These are all hobbies that can help fill the idle time. It gives them something to focus on, take care of, and accomplish.

The above activities come with a sense of community and belonging. This sense can be difficult to get in a narcotic treatment center.

These approaches supplement primary treatment and recovery strategies. They have the possibility of enhancing the effectiveness of primary treatments.

These are still experimental and not proven to be consistently effective, so take these with a grain of salt.

Increasing Pharmacological Access to At-Risk Populations

The below requires changes to the current healthcare system on the federal level.

Primary care physicians understand this and are pushing for necessary changes.

Methadone Maintenance Therapy in Physician’s Offices

Methadone is one of the most successful drugs used when treating addiction.

Methadone Maintenance Therapy(MMT) is available to those who have completed methadone treatment.

Unfortunately, only narcotic treatment programs can directly prescribe methadone to patients. This bars primary care physicians from prescribing methadone to less severe cases.

As a result, only 20% of those struggling with addiction receive methadone treatment.

Federal law states that physicians can’t prescribe methadone to patients for pain. The problem exists when this prescription involves maintenance/detoxification of opioid-addicted patients.

Physicians would need to register ” as a Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP) with the DEA.

This single restriction for physicians has drastically prevented methadone availability to patients.

On the bright side, there have been pilot programs in certain states that allow physicians to prescribe methadone directly to their patients.

A few of the reported benefits include:

  • Reduced stigma associated with narcotic treatment centers. It is seen as another typical checkup with their doctors
  • Expands overall access to individuals who may need it
  • Allows for a better allocation of resources to those who have more severe symptoms
  • Limits or prevents contact between active users, who might influence meth use.

Another roadblock includes lack of physician support. This includes things like training, support services, and how-to work with MMT patients.

Physicians can help offset the problem of overcrowding at treatment centers. They can also ensure adherence and success post-treatment.

There’s Still Hope

The opioid crisis has gained national and international attention.

The result has been an increase in addiction research and the need for innovation.

Many treatment centers and research labs are looking for innovative approaches in treatment, including crystal meth addiction.

The holistic approaches help empower and normalize recovering addicts.

Successful collaboration between physicians and treatment centers is a much-needed milestone in the fight against meth addiction.

If you or someone you know is currently dealing with a crystal meth addiction, get in touch. We’ll provide them with a welcoming, supportive community to get them back on their feet.

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What is Dabbing and is It Addictive?

You may have heard of friends giving up on their green for the new craze. While 22.2 million Americans have used marijuana in the past month, they decided they needed something stronger.

That’s right. Dabbing is making its way into the mainstream for the pot industry, but what is dabbing? Is it safe? Is it addictive?

Let’s talk about dabbing, the risks involved, and what you can do about it.

What Is Dabbing?

Dabs, hash oil, wax, glue, or whatever you want to call it, has been around since the mid-’90s.

As you may know, dabs are a wax comprised of concentrated THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.

The process of extracting THC wax can be as simple as using a hair straightener and some wax paper to remove some of the THC from the cannabis plant.

The term for actual “dabs” refers to butane hash oil (BHO). Yes, the butane used in blow torches is used in the extraction process.

Some people have used more effective and different ways of extracting the THC, but no matter how it is done, the potency can be high.

Marijuana can be as high as 20% THC depending on the strain and how it is grown. However, dabs can range between 70-90% THC, making them a lot stronger.

Methods of Use

Dabs can be used in a number of different ways.

Some people who use them will bake them into food or candies and eat them. Edible dabs are fairly popular, as the effects last much longer and they are easier to cook with than marijuana.

Others use dab pens, vaporizers that are made specifically for wax. These will have either an exposed coil that you put the wax on, or it will be a regular vape pen with thinner dab liquid.

The most popular form of dabbing involves a torch and some glass. This can be damaging for your lungs, as the method of doing this involves heating up a “nail” made of glass or quartz with a blowtorch until it is glowing red from heat. Once it is heated up, a piece of the was is placed onto the nail and inhaled.

Types of Addiction

Addiction does not come in one simple form. It can look different for every different user with every different substance. However, we can break the types of addiction down into two different umbrellas.

Physical Addiction

Physical addiction develops after your body adapts to a new substance. People who smoke cigarettes become physically addicted to nicotine because their brain cannot produce the same compound itself, and it grows a dependence for it.

People who are physically addicted to a substance will suffer withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the substance.

Psychological Addiction

Contrary to what you may believe, psychological addictions are the stronger of the two. If you are physically addicted to something and you choose to stop, you have that ability.

However, if you are psychologically addicted to a substance, you need to change your entire mindset about it to stop.

Psychological addictions also make it more difficult to believe that there is no need to quit. Think about it. If you do not feel any withdrawals after stopping for a couple of days, it’s easier to justify to yourself that you aren’t addicted.

On the flip side, if you believe yourself to be addicted and accept it, that can be a hard sell to fix.

People can struggle with both types of addictions simultaneously, or one without the other. However, it is certain that a combination of the two is the most difficult to overcome.

Find out more about the difference between these types of addictions to better understand them.

Is Dabbing Addictive?

In short, yes. People can become psychologically dependent on it with regular use. It can get to the point of believing that you can’t function normally without it.

This can be dangerous for their health, especially if they are using the torch method, but it is dangerous in other ways as well. Regular and consistent dabbing can be destructive financially, socially, or professionally.

For very frequent users, people can actually become physically addicted to dabbing as well. While physical addiction from THC may not be as strong as some other substances, withdrawal symptoms can occur once the user has stopped using the drug for a while.

Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, depression, loss of appetite and trouble with sleep.

Many people use marijuana as a sleep aid and they become dependent on it, making insomnia one of the most common symptoms of withdrawal.

What Should You Do?

If somebody is using marijuana or hash oil in a way that is negatively affecting their life, or the lives around them, then it should be treated as an addiction.

If you feel as if you cannot function without the drug, it may be time to quit. Those feelings will not go away with more use of the drug, and physical withdrawal symptoms will only become worse with longer, sustained use.

Even though the popular belief is that marijuana is not addictive, it can be for some. If it is hurting them or their loved ones, then it is just as serious of a problem as it would be with any other substance.

If it is time to address the issue, find out how to do an intervention the right way.

What Else?

Ignore anybody who says that marijuana or dabbing is not dangerous, and find out if you or a loved one are addicted to it.

If you feel as if somebody you love is addicted to dabbing, talk to them about it and intervene if necessary.

Now that we’ve answered the question “What is dabbing?”, determine if treatment is necessary and check out our services.

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