Meth is a very dangerous and highly addictive drug. It is used by a wide range of different types of people in the United States. However, it is typically more common among old teens or young adults, with the average age of a meth user being around 30 years old, much younger than cocaine and heroin users. This fact may be due to habitual users tending to overdose, or wind up in jail, well before becoming a middle aged adult. Although, there are still many people who are not in their 20’s or 30’s that still abuse meth as well. According to a recent survey conducted in 2017, nearly 1.6 million people reported having used meth at least once within the last year, with around 53% of them stating that they were addicted and roughly around 22% said that they had progressed far enough into their substance abuse disorder or addiction that they began injecting the drug into their veins.
What is methamphetamine, or crystal meth?
Meth, also known by many other names such as crystal meth, methamphetamines, and ice, is usually seen in the form of a clear crystal or a white rock looking substance. Meth is an illegal drug that acts as a central nervous system stimulant. What makes this drug extremely dangerous is that there is no medicinal value so it is only made in illicit, unregulated labs by untrained people who are also highly likely to be drug users themselves. Many harmful chemicals, such as battery acid, drain cleaner, antifreeze, or lantern fuel, are used in this illegal manufacturing process. Overdose with this drug is also extremely likely as the safety and strength of the product go unmonitored and untested for safe human consumption.
The truth around meth that it is highly toxic becomes even more apparent when you begin looking at some of the physical and mental side effects that are commonly seen among steady meth users. One of these side effects is that meth can cause the person's body temperature to become so high that they either pass out or die, causing what is usually considered an unintended overdose.
Common short term side effects of meth abuse include:
Bizarre, obsessive, erratic, and even violent behavior
Loss of appetite
Increased anxiety, fear, panic, delusions, or psychosis
Hallucinations, extreme excitability, and irritability
Convulsions or seizures, even overdose
Inability to sleep
These are just a few of the alarming short term side effects that are common among meth users. The highly toxic effects of meth do not take long to cause negative consequences to the brain and the body. With repeated use, these side effects only begin to worsen.
Meth abuse causes changes to the overall structure and function of the brain.
For instance, prolonged meth use causes damage to the dopamine circuit in the brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter most often related to pleasure and is responsible for those feel-good emotions associated with things like eating a piece of chocolate cake, or being intimate with a loved one. Dopamine is associated with reward driven behavior, it causes those feel-good sensations to increase the likelihood that a certain action will be completed again. Over time, with repeated release of the brain chemical known as dopamine, especially in unnatural situations, (such as meth abuse) the receptors become less sensitive. When receptors become less sensitive, this makes it much harder for a person to feel pleasure from natural situations.
Not only can overuse of meth cause the dopamine receptors in the brain become less sensitive, it also decreases the natural supply of dopamine in the brain. Eventually, this may lead to a permanent dopamine deficiency and has been shown to have the same effects as a condition known as Parkinson’s disease. Abusing methamphetamine can triple the chance of developing Parkinson’s for some people, it can even increase the chance of developing Parkinson’s up to 5 times for women. This condition affects the body's ability to control its muscle movements.
Unfortunately, these are not the only changes to the brain that occur from long-term meth abuse. Research has shown damage to the areas that affect both memory and emotion. It can also lead to changes in impulse control and the decision making process, diminishing the person's ability to stop certain behaviors. Some of these changes can even be permanent, usually depending on the severity of damage.
Some other physical side effects of meth use include:
Permanent damage to blood vessels in the heart and brain, increasing chances of stroke, heart attacks, and even death.
Damage to kidneys and liver from highly toxic chemicals.
Damage to lungs if inhaled. May cause many different respiratory problems.
Extreme tooth decay. A condition also known as meth mouth, which is where a person has severe tooth decay and gum disease with teeth breaking or falling out.
Infectious diseases and skin abscesses if injected.
Psychosis, including auditory and visual hallucinations.
Weight loss. May also suffer malnutrition.
Skin lesions or scabs caused by excessive picking, usually linked to “meth mites”. Meth mites are imaginary bugs meth users believe to be crawling on or under their skin.
There are many other long-term side effects someone may experience with prolonged substance abuse. However, not all of the side effects are related to someone's physical or mental health. An addiction to meth has also been known to cause damage to other areas of people's lives.
Meth abuse can destroy your life.
Not only does meth destroy your appearance or your health, but it also destroys your life. When someone becomes addicted to meth, that is the only thing that starts to matter. Many people suffer job loss, homelessness, and problems with the law. Close relationships with family, friends, and children get ruined because of an addiction to meth. While meth abuse may destroy these aspects of your life, rehabilitation from a meth addiction is possible.
So, if you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please come get help from us today. You are not alone, many of us have been where you are before so we understand what it takes to get and stay on the road to recovery. We are here to help and we can show you the way! An addiction to meth is certainly not worth losing everything you have.
I’m sure the year of 2020 hasn’t turned out quite the way any of us had envisioned it would have in the beginning of the year. Since the arrival of COVID-19 in our country, we have all faced many challenging obstacles. Temporary closures of businesses deemed non-essential, self-isolation, quarantine, and other dramatic changes of how we live on a daily basis have all led to some seriously negative consequences that experts suggest we will be dealing with for years. While many of the effects of this global pandemic have remained relatively unmeasured, there are still several issues that have substance abuse treatment specialists rightfully worried throughout the United States.
Alcoholism is on the rise during COVID-19 across the US.
Along with increased rates of overdose and relapse, alcoholism has also been on a steep rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent data shows that the purchase of alcohol and the rates of alcohol abuse have rapidly been growing since the beginning of the year.
For example, alcohol sales increased by 54% for the week ending March 21 of this year, right around the same time that the quarantine and major government shut-down began; online sales have also reportedly increased by over 260% since 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also released several statements regarding this issue. Not only are they concerned with riskier behavior that is associated with the consumption of alcohol, but alcohol also increases the likelihood of contracting the virus and can make the symptoms of the coronavirus much more severe.
Social isolation in quarantine can contribute to increased drug and alcohol consumption.
Many are having to adapt to conditions such as working from home with distractions that they aren't ordinarily used to putting up with, managing personal relationships with their partner or spouse while living and working in the same proximity, or having to juggle helping their kids stay at home and learn in the virtual classroom. All of this makes it very easy to understand the desire to pour a glass of wine or grab yourself a beer after a long stressful day to help take the edge off, especially when one considers the amount of changes we are all going through on a daily basis.
According to a recent self-reporting survey, more than 55% of adults reported an increase in their drinking since the beginning of the pandemic, with nearly 20% reporting a significant increase. An issue that may be more of a concern for certain members of the population, as another self-reporting study showed that excessive drinking has increased by over 41% for women. Though a large number of the population admittedly seem to be enjoying a drink more often because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still such a thing as “too much” - and one may begin to wonder, what exactly is that limit?
How much alcohol consumption is “too much”?
Though the amount of alcohol recommended for daily consumption varies slightly depending on the source, all major health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agree that drinking in moderation is the safest way to consume alcohol in order to most effectively avoid any negative health effects associated with drinking. Moderate drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as up to 4 alcoholic drinks per day for men and 3 alcohol drinks per day for women. Though, this can differ depending on many things such as weight, height, and family history.
One concern of drinking above moderation is that it can lead to changes in tolerance and dependence. Not only that, but researchers are concerned that less people will seek medical attention due to the pandemic for fear of overburdening the system or catching the virus. This can lead to those in help not seeking the medical treatment that they need.
So, if you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with an alcohol addiction or other substance abuse disorder, then More Than Rehab is still here to help! Do not worry, we are also taking extra precautions during this time to ensure that our clients are safe while on their road to recovery.
Signs that you, or a loved one may be struggling with alcoholism:
If you are still unsure if you or loved one have gone from recreational drinking to what may be an alcohol abuse disorder, then here are some common signs or symptoms that there might be a bigger problem:
Drinking so much that you experience temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss
Making excessive excuses to drink such as stress, to relax, because of anxiety, or to feel normal
Drinking by yourself, especially in secret
Feeling sick or hungover because you haven’t started drinking yet
Showing signs of irritability, extreme agitation, or unexplained mood-swings
Choosing drinking or alcohol over other activities or responsibilities
Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink or use alcohol
Using alcohol in conditions where it is not safe, such as driving
Spending a lot time drinking or recovering from drinking
Continuing to drink even though you know it is causing problems in your daily life
Spend time worrying about when or how you will be able to get your next drink
There are other many alcohol related symptoms that one may want to look out for if you are concerned that there may be a problem. Alcohol is an easy substance to become addicted to and is the leading reason people seek substance abuse treatment in the United States.
The first step to getting help for alcoholism is admitting that you have a problem.
We know that daily life has become especially difficult for people living in our world today. If you are a loved one have developed a problem, or have been struggling with an addiction for a long time and need help recovering again, we can help to get your life back on track. At More Than Rehab, we also help teach you healthy coping skills, so that you no longer need to rely on alcohol to help relieve the stress of today’s world. Many of us here at More Than Rehab have been where you are before, so we know what it takes to lead a healthy life without drugs or alcohol. Please let our family help yours today!
What is the Difference Between Norco, Heroin, and Fentanyl?
Drug and alcohol addiction is a very serious problem in our country today, even more so with the current pandemic that has struck the world. It is estimated that nearly 21 million Americans struggle with a substance abuse problem of some kind. The current Covid-19 pandemic has recently caused a lot of issues with substance use, including devastating impacts to sobriety and recovery for many people. However, what many may not know is that there is an epidemic that has been hitting our country pretty hard for several years and that is the opioid crisis. The opioid crisis, also known as the opioid epidemic, is in part to the overprescribing of addictive painkillers, like Norco that eventually lead to people buying drugs on the street, such as heroin, fentanyl, or even other prescription drugs. This is especially true if they are no longer able to obtain them through legal channels, like a prescription from their doctor.
Opioids are a class of drugs that are naturally found in the opium poppy plant and target the opioid receptors in the brain to produce effects very similar to morphine. Many opioid medications work by blocking pain signals to the brain. Even though there are many different opioids, Norcos, heroin, and fentanyl are some of the most popular substances that are commonly abused by people who suffer from an addiction or substance abuse problem. With so many different opioid drugs on the market, it is easy to be confused about the differences between them, so here is a brief explanation of Norcos, heroin, and fentanyl.
Norco prescription painkillers are very addictive
Norco is a prescription painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain but can also become very addictive. Norcos are made with a combination of acetaminophen (over the counter pain reliever) and hydrocodone (a synthetic opioid). Like many opioid painkillers, this drug works by altering the perception of pain by targeting certain opioid receptors in the brain. Norcos are also very similar to another prescription painkiller known as Vicodin, the only difference between them is the ratio of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Both of these prescription painkillers are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and are considered a Schedule II drug.
The danger with Norco or Vicodin is the potential to become addictive if there is chronic or persistent pain involved. Over time, people are likely to develop a tolerance and physical dependence to the drug, needing to take more and more each time to feel the same effects. A lot of time this leads people to trying “harder” drugs in order to achieve the desired effects, or even to avoid the painful withdrawal symptoms. Some common side effects of Norco are:
Lethargy or drowsiness
Nausea and vomiting
Skin rash or itching
Heroin addiction can result from a dependence on prescription painkillers
Heroin is a highly dangerous and illicit substance. It is derived from morphine, which is made from the naturally occurring opioid poppy plant. Heroin can come in many different forms, the most common are in the form of white powder, brown powder, or a sticky black substance known as black tar heroin. The danger with heroin is that it is made illegally with no real way to test the strength of the product, unlike Norcos which come highly regulated. This has the potential to cause a lot more overdoses and a higher chance of addiction as most of the time the substance is a lot stronger than prescription painkillers.
Some people eventually turn to abusing heroin after their dependence to painkillers has grown strong enough to the point where they need something else in order to feel the desired effect. Heroin is also classified as a schedule I drug, meaning that there is no valid medical purpose for the substance. A lot of times this drug is cut or mixed with other dangerous and cheaper chemicals in order to maximize profits and cut costs for the dealer. Some common side effects of heroin include:
Fentanyl is a powerful, dangerous, and highly addictive opioid painkiller. It is very similar to morphine but is estimated to be anywhere around 50-100 times stronger, making this one of the most powerful opioid substances on the market. The effects of fentanyl are activated at a much lower level than other opioids, making this an extreme danger to those who are not aware of its strength. When people use this drug nonmedically, they are at a very high risk of overdose because it can be anywhere from 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Unfortunately, many dealers dilute their heroin with fentanyl in order to increase their drug’s potency and their own profits. This is because it takes very little to produce the same effects as other drugs. The problem with that is unsuspecting users may ingest more fentanyl than intended because they are not expecting to ingest this dangerous chemical. Dealers have even been known to use fentanyl in MDMA, cocaine, and methamphetamine, causing a lot of unfortunate and unintended overdoses that would not have happened if it weren't for fentanyl unknowingly being there. Some common side effects of this dangerous chemical are:
Uncontrollable shaking in parts of the body
All of these drugs listed above are very dangerous and addictive. They can all destroy your life if you let it. We know that there are times when you need to take painkillers, but that doesn't mean you have to end up addicted to the high for the rest of your life.
If you or a loved one are struggling with any sort of opioid addiction, or an addiction to any other drugs or alcohol, then we are here to help! We know how difficult that getting off of drugs can be, but your comfort is our main concern. We are medically-equipped to take care of all of your needs during and after detox. We want to help show you the way to a happy, healthy life without drugs or alcohol.
Call us today at More Than Rehab so we can start a personalized plan just for you: