Does Alcohol & Drug Use Make COVID Symptoms Worse?

Drug addiction is a serious medical condition that can profoundly impact every aspect of an individual's life. It can damage relationships, cause financial problems, and lead to various health care problems. Left untreated, addiction can be deadly. Amid the unprecedented global pandemic, drug addiction presents an even greater danger to public health as it can make COVID symptoms much worse than they already are.

People who use drugs are more likely to contract the virus and experience severe symptoms if they become infected. Additionally, those who are addicted to drugs are more likely to engage in risky behaviors that can spread the virus to others. For example, they may share injection needles or fail to observe the safety measures like wearing masks, washing hands, avoiding crowded areas, or coughing to the elbow, thereby increasing the risk of transmission.

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The Relationship between Addiction and Severe COVID-19 Symptoms

Recent studies suggest that alcohol and drug abuse may make COVID symptoms worse. This is a significant discovery, as it could mean that people already struggling with addiction may be at an increased risk of developing more severe symptoms if they contract the virus.

One cross-sectional study compared the hospitalization rate for COVID in 2020 in those diagnosed with substance use disorders vs. those without these disorders. The findings were that those with alcohol or drug use disorders had a greater chance of being hospitalized for COVID-19 infection than the general population. This suggests that they suffer worse conditions or physical symptoms than the non-using population. The study also noticed higher mortality rates among hospitalized SUD patients than in the general population.

The Centers for Disease Control also notes that people with underlying conditions like substance use disorders, chronic heart, liver or lung disease, etc., are likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Severe illness from COVID-19 can also increase the sense of hopelessness that makes it so difficult for suicide prevention strategies. 

These studies underscore the importance of seeking addiction treatment. If you are worried about how COVID might impact your addiction, please consult your doctor or therapist for guidance.

Why Do Drugs Make COVID Symptoms Worse?

Drugs make COVID-19 worse by weakening your immune system, making you more likely to get other infections, interfering with treatment, and increasing risk factors where you are more likely to spread the disease to others.

·      Weakened immune system: Some drugs, such as steroids, can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight the virus. 

·      Making you more likely to get other infections: Drugs that suppress your immune system can also make you more likely to get infections and autoimmune diseases like HIV/AIDS. These infections can be serious and even life-threatening. 

·      Interfering with treatment: Some drugs can interfere with how your body responds to treatment for COVID-19. This can make the disease worse and increase the chances of death. 

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Besides, drugs also affect the body in a range of other ways. For example:

·      Opioids cause slow breathing, reduce oxygen in the blood, and result in brain damage or death. 

·      Stimulants like cocaine, meth, and amphetamine increase heart rate and blood pressure, making it harder for the heart to pump blood and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. These drugs can also cause acute respiratory failure.

·      Smoking or vaping crack cocaine, heroin, or marijuana can increase lung damage risk and make breathing harder. It can also worsen COPD, asthma, and other lung conditions.

·      The effects of alcohol on the immune system are also well-documented. Alcohol abuse can increase the risk of developing various infectious diseases, including pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Should I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine if I'm on Drugs?

Yes, you should get a COVID-19 vaccine if you're on drugs. The CDC recommends that everyone vaccinate against COVID-19, regardless of their drug use status. You don't even need to have health insurance to get the vaccine. When considering the adverse effects that COVID-19 has on addiction patients, vaccination can be your best line of defense. It might even save your life.

On the bright side, 12.46 billion doses have been administered globally today, and there haven't been any documented cases of a person having adverse health effects due to drug use.

However, people with certain medical conditions should talk to their doctor before getting the vaccine. These conditions include:

·      A history of severe allergic reaction to a vaccine or ingredient in the vaccine

·      A weakened immune system due to cancer, HIV/AIDS, steroid use, or other conditions

·      If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, you should also talk to your doctor before getting the vaccine.

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Do Addictive Drugs Affect the COVID-19 Vaccine?

There is currently no evidence that alcohol or drugs affect the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are taking medications to treat an addiction, it is important to speak to your doctor about whether or not the vaccine is right for you. You might also want to err on the side of caution and abstain from use before and after receiving the vaccine.

Harm Reduction Strategies for Those Unable to Stop Abusing Drugs or Alcohol

Among the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, those who struggle with substance abuse face unique risks. In addition to the dangers posed by the virus itself, the COVID restrictions made it difficult for many to access treatment and support services. As a result, harm reduction strategies have become even more important for those unable to stop using drugs or alcohol. These strategies include:

·      Create a safe space for drug use. This can be done by ensuring that all surfaces are clean and disinfected and that ventilation is adequate. Not sharing drug-use equipment like needles, vapes, cigars, bongs, etc. 

·      It is also important to have a supply of clean needles and other supplies on hand and a first-aid kit in case of accidental injuries.

·      Observe COVID-19 restrictions to curb the spread of the virus-like washing hands, avoiding crowded spaces, and social distancing. 

·      Additionally, it is crucial to know your limits and always use drugs under the supervision of someone who can assist if necessary.

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By following these harm reduction strategies, those unable to stop using drugs or alcohol can help protect themselves and others from the potentially deadly effects of COVID-19. In addition, these strategies can also help to reduce the spread of the virus among those who are most vulnerable.

Protect Your Health with Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it's important to seek professional help. There are a variety of human resources and treatment options available, and the right one for you will depend on your individual needs.

If you're struggling with addiction, don't wait to get help. Treatment can help you to overcome addiction and achieve recovery. It can also provide vital support and resources during difficult times. Seek treatment today and begin your journey to a healthier, happier life.

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What Are the Most Popular Drugs Used at Music Festivals?

Drug use is rampant at music festivals due to the carefree atmosphere and the availability of drugs. Many people view drug use as a part of the festival experience and feel that it enhances the music and the overall atmosphere. The overall atmosphere of festivals can make it difficult to “dance safe.”

However, drug use can also lead to negative consequences, such as bad trips, overdoses, and arrests. According to the National Institute on Drug Use, drug use can also trigger or worsen mental health disorders. As a result, individuals need to be aware of the risks associated with drug use before they choose to use drugs at a music festival. Health care is not and should not be top-of-mind when attending a music festival but drug use makes future health care issues a problem.

Popular Drugs Used At Festivals

According to a Drugabuse.com study of 976 people in the United States, 53% of those attending live music events admitted to using illicit drugs or alcohol, with more than 93% consuming alcoholic beverages. Additionally, about 40% of festival goers used marijuana at live music events, followed by 8% who each used hallucinogens or MDMA.

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Here are some of the most popular drugs used at music festivals:

Each of these drugs produces different effects, depending on the individual's physiology, the dose taken, and the person's state of mind. While some people may enjoy the effects of these drugs, others may find them uncomfortable or frightening. Keep in mind that each person reacts differently to drugs, so it is important to be cautious when taking any substance.

Most Intoxicated Live Music Event Genres

The study by drugabuse.com also found that festival goers abused drugs or alcohol more in some music event genres than in others.

In the study, EDM, heavy metal, and alternative music events had the highest percentage of people who drank alcohol or used drugs, with 67.5%, 52.2%, and 60.6%, respectively. Indie rock and reggae were also found to be relatively high on the list, with 60.2% and 60.0% of respondents saying they had used alcohol or drugs in the events. Classical and Rock music events had the lowest, with 39.8% and 39.6%.

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Consumption at Concerts

Here is a quick look at consumption at concerts per substance, according to Drugabuse.com

Popular Substance at EventsPrevalence in Music EventsPercentage
AlcoholAlternateHeavy MetalEDM  57.6%56.2%54.9%
MarijuanaReggaeHip-Hop/RapEDM33.3%29.6%29.3%
MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly)EDMReggaeIndie Rock25.6%4.8%3.0%
HallucinogensEDMIndie RockHeavy Metal9.8%4.8%3.8%
CocaineEDMHip-Hop/RapBlues8.5%3.3%2.9%
OpioidsHip-Hop/RapEDMReggae2.6%2.4%2.4%

Why Do People Use Drugs at Festivals?

While the use of drugs is certainly not limited to festivals, several factors can contribute to drug use at these events.

Anonymity

The anonymous and often crowded nature of festivals can make it easier for people to buy and use drugs without being detected.

Availability of Drugs

The availability of drugs at festivals is usually higher than at other events, as dealers know that there will be a demand for their products. Besides, things like alcohol are often heavily promoted in such events since manufacturers usually sponsor.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is often a factor, as people feel pressured to conform to the behaviors of those around them.

Just for Fun

Many people use drugs as a way to let loose and have fun. The relaxed atmosphere of a festival can make it seem like an ideal time to try new things. Others use drugs to try to stay awake and not miss out.

Enhance the Experience

For some people, taking drugs is also a way to enhance their music experience. Certain substances can cause colors and sounds to seem more intense, leading to a more immersive and enjoyable experience.

Makes Sharing Space Easier

Drug use can make sharing space with large groups of people easier. In crowded environments, drugs can help to reduce anxiety and promote feelings of social connectedness.

Some people also use drugs to self-medicate, relieving anxiety or boredom. However, it is important to remember that drug use comes with risks. Overdosing or mixing drugs can lead to serious health problems and even death.

Dangers of Using Drugs at Music Festivals

Drug use is common at these events and can lead to serious side effects. Ecstasy, for example, can cause dehydration, overheating, and heart problems. Club drugs like ketamine and GHB can cause vomiting, hallucinations, and blackouts. And marijuana use can impair your judgment and coordination.

There's also a risk of combining drugs in dangerous ways. For example, one might drink alcohol to quench the thirst from ecstasy use. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, such mixing masks the impact of ecstasy and can lead to accidental overdose and death.

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There are also increasing cases of drugs being cut with other substances, which can make them more potent and dangerous. For example, cocaine may be cut with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that can be deadly even in small amounts. MDMA may be cut with n-ethylpentylone, a psychoactive drug linked to adverse effects such as anxiety and paranoia.

In addition, drugs like MDMA can cause dehydration and overheating, which can be dangerous in a crowded and chaotic environment like a music festival. Because of the drug-related harm involved, it is important to be aware of the dangers of using drugs at music festivals and ensure that you stay safe if you attend one of these events.

Ways to Stay Safe At Music Festivals

If you choose to use drugs at a music festival, you can utilize some harm reduction approaches to reduce the risks.

How to Attend a Music Concert Without Participating in the Substance Use Culture

Just because substance abuse is common at music festivals doesn't mean you have to participate. There are plenty of ways to enjoy these events without using drugs or alcohol. You can choose to attend smaller, local events that may be less likely to involve drug use. Alternatively, you can look for festivals that focus on specific genres of music, such as jazz or folk, which tend to attract a more mature crowd.

You can also take steps to create a drug-free environment at a festival. If you're camping, for example, you can choose to stay in a designated sober camping area. And if you see someone who looks like they're struggling, don't be afraid to reach out and offer help.

Music festivals can be a great way to enjoy your favorite artists and explore new genres of music. But it's important to be aware of the risks of drug use at these events. By being informed and taking precautions, you can stay safe and have a great time without putting yourself, and public health at risk.

Holidays 2021: A Guide to Avoiding Relapse Triggers

The holidays are a time when most people reunite with friends and family to celebrate. It is considered a time to drink, eat, and be merry.

Unfortunately, the holidays can also be stressful for people in recovery, and the chances of addiction relapse are relatively high. Emotional relapse may make any recovering addict turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Some common holiday triggers are:

Holiday triggers can easily make anyone in recovery return to drug or alcohol abuse. Luckily, we have a few tips that go a long way in preventing relapse during the holidays. These tips will help you stay sober during the holiday season.

Wake up every morning with the decision to stay sober

Every morning, make a conscious decision to stay sober. Plan how to avoid any triggers you may encounter that day and what you’ll do if you get any cravings.

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Eat healthily

Ensure you eat healthy during the holidays. Staying hungry may result in low blood sugar, which may, in turn, make you more irritable. When you are irritable, you become impulsive and may end up relapsing. Be sure to have a snack with you when on the move and snack every few hours.

Avoid high-risk situations

Evaluate every situation and decide whether they are high-risk or low risk. 

If you are in early recovery, it would be best to avoid high-risk situations. If you must, try to leave early.

It would also help to know your triggers for you to avoid them. Some of the most common triggers are anger, loneliness, fatigue, and hunger.

Make a point of taking care of yourself both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Not doing so may lead to physical relapse or mental relapse, which may in turn, lead to alcohol or drug use.

Carry your own drinks to parties

Most office and family parties have non-alcoholic beverages. However, it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages. If the party you’re going to will serve champagne, you can carry flavored sparkling water to sip on as other people drink their champagne. Other alternatives are juices or sparkling cider.

Carrying your drinks helps you avoid the temptation of indulging in the alcoholic drinks that are often served at holiday and Christmas parties.

Bring a sober friend along

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If you’re lucky enough to have a friend staying sober during the holidays, keep them close. A sober friend can keep you in check. If you feel the need to drink or get high, your friend will talk you out of it. Additionally, you’re less likely to feel the pressure to indulge when both of you are drinking non-alcoholic beverages.

Have a schedule

You may notice that over the holidays, most therapists cancel their sessions during the holidays since they either want to go on vacation or be with their friends and family. When this happens, you may not have sessions as often as you are used to. 

Try making a schedule of fun things you can do in your free time to keep yourself busy.

Learn to say "no" (politely)

Sometimes, you may not be ready to share details of your recovery journey with friends or family. Therefore, you need to learn how to politely decline their offers without giving out too many details. Practice your responses in advance so that you’re ready when they question you. For instance, if someone offers you drinks, you can decline by saying that you are the designated driver.

Volunteer

Volunteering during the holidays is an excellent pastime for people in recovery. You can choose to volunteer at a local shelter, food bank, or senior living community. Other than keeping you busy, volunteering can help remind you of how lucky you are.

Don’t isolate yourself

Although avoiding holiday parties and people seems like a good idea, it isn’t necessarily. Don’t isolate yourself by staying indoors. Spending too much time in isolation may lead to a relapse.

Try to choose events you can comfortably attend and make time for your friends and family. Show up for office parties and family events, but ensure you don’t relapse.

Have a support system

As mentioned earlier, the holiday celebrations and stressors can be relapse triggers. Having a strong support system can keep you busy and accountable throughout the holiday season. Support system can be your loved ones or peers in groups like Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these groups complement and extend the effects of professional treatment. If you don’t have a support group or if you have travelled to a different city or state for the holidays, check this site for organizations and support groups in your area.

When the craving kicks in, move past it

Cravings will likely kick in during the holidays. The trick is to stay strong and not give in since the urge will pass after a few minutes. Talk yourself out of it, move to a different venue, meditate, or even just take deep breaths. Do whatever you have to do to move past your cravings. You’ll realize that the more you beat your cravings, the easier it becomes in the long run.

Approximately 21 million Americans struggle with substance use disorders, and during the holidays it could be especially tempting. Due to holiday triggers, the relapse rate for people in recovery is typically much higher.

If you’re having a hard time staying sober during the holidays, know that you are not alone. It would help to reach out for extra support during this season. Try booking extra therapy sessions, going for extra meetings, or even starting a new course of therapy. This way, instead of relapsing, you’ll end the year on a sober note.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse or experiencing a relapse, contact us for safe and secure addiction treatment. You can also call us at: 1-888-249-2191. We are open 24/7 and have several treatment programs approved by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to help you get back on your feet. Our supportive and caring staff will walk with you, every step of the way.

You can also look at resources on the American Society of Addiction Medicine website.

Friends & Family Can Contribute to Drug Addiction

There is truth to the expression, “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.” That’s because ripe apples produce ethylene, a ripening agent. When you store apples together, the ethylene prods other apples to ripen further and eventually rot.

It takes a single apple to start a domino chain that ruins the rest of the bunch. And guess what? The same holds true for drug users. You’re very likely to abuse drugs when you hang out with people who abuse drugs. Not because of weak morals, but because of several mechanisms that we’ll cover in this article.

Understanding addiction

The initial decision to use drugs or alcohol is voluntary for most people. However, repeated use changes the brain in ways that make it hard to quit, even for those who want to. Those recovering from a long term substance abuse disorder have a higher risk of drug use, even after years of leading a sober life. This is especially true if they’re dealing with mental health problems or are hanging around places or people connected to the addictive behavior.

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Friends or family members, who participated in the addictive behavior, are potential triggers for relapse, irrespective of whether or not they’re still using drugs. That’s because they bring back the memories of addiction. In some cases, they may ask you to go out or even tell you stories and share images of their happy moments in your absence. All these can lead you back to addiction.

But relapse is not the only way friends can contribute to drug addiction. This article will discuss different ways friends can worsen your drug use problems. But before we do, let’s look at the relationship between peer pressure and drug use.

Social learning theory

Social scientists who study peer pressure see it through the lens of social learning theory. According to this theory, when people observe other people’s behaviors and reactions using addictive substances, they may wish to replicate what they saw. For example, an agitated friend walks into the room.

They then sniff cocaine or smoke meth. After a few minutes, they’re relaxed and fun to be around. The person observing all this will know that the drug is a good way of coping with stress – because it’s what they’ve seen. So, any time they feel stressed or agitated, they may use the drugs to calm down.

Social learning is the most common way that people learn. When you observe your friends abusing drugs, you become more likely to try out drugs too. That’s because you have learned through observation that drugs achieved a positive result. You could also use drugs out of a need to be part of the group.

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Human beings have a strong need for social interaction. So, it becomes critical to consider the compelling social nature of many addictions. Most addictions need at least the cooperation of other people. And as the addiction progresses, the chances of a person interacting with healthy, non-using individuals become slimmer.

That’s because family and friends eventually disengage. At the same time, addiction takes up most of the addict’s time. In the end, the addict’s entire social circle is dominated by role models associated with the addiction.

How friends and family can contribute to drug addiction

Negative peer pressure

Negative peer pressure can be divided into two parts:

Direct negative often involves peers or friends directly asking you to try something, like abuse illegal drugs. It may be difficult to say no, especially if you are young and are concerned about how they’ll think of you. In some cases, they may hint that you’d be “uncool” if you didn’t take part or even provide reasoning that’s hard to argue against. The fear of losing friends or facing mockery can make you yield. Direct negative peer influence includes your friends or peers:

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Indirect negative is a subtle type of peer pressure and isn’t as apparent as direct negative. It happens when you try out drugs or alcohol just to fit in. Your friends don’t encourage you to participate in risky behaviors, but you feel pressure to do so to continue being part of that social group. Indirect negative peer pressure includes things like:

An NIH study assesses the group influences on an individual’s drinking and other drug use at clubs. A total of 368 social groups representing 986 people were anonymously surveyed. The study found that social groups had a definite impact on the individual outcome.

Group members seemed to know about other members’ drug use or drinking patterns, which were related to their drinking and other drug use. This suggests that normative patterns are established for the group, and social modeling happens within the group.

Signs your friends are making your drug use problem worse

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Positive peer pressure

Not all peer pressure is bad. Friends can influence you into making the right choices. Positive peer pressure is when friends bring a good change in your life – and this can be a useful tool in addiction treatment. In fact, many treatment facilities use this strategy to influence patients’ behavior. The same way a person in a drug-using circle uses drugs to fit in is the same way a person in a sober circle will want to stop using to fit in.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with substance abuse as a result of hanging out with wrong company, we can help. Contact us today to get started. 

Can Delta-8 THC Cause Harm to the Body?

The popularity of Delta-8 THC has been rising in the past few years. According to Headset, the sale of delta-8 grew by 144% between April 2020 and April 2021. However, just like any other new product in the market, actual and potential users of Delta-8 products are anxious. They want clarity on whether the products are safe for their consumption or not. This blog post will dig deeper into the Delta-8 THC safety profile and effects of THC.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 is a type of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that occurs in small amounts in the Cannabis sativa plant. This compound has some properties similar to those found in delta-9 THC, an active constituent of marijuana. However, those who use delta-8 THC do not get the psychoactive effects as experienced by consumers of delta-9 THC. The high concentration of THC in delta-9 is what makes its users experience a high feeling.

Delta-8 THC commonly exists in the form of:

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Is Delta-8 THC Dangerous?

There are no sufficient studies to evaluate the impact of Delta-8 THC consumption on human beings. Thus, there is no proof that the use of this substance has any potential benefits or medicinal value to its users. The reports circulating on social media posts regarding its potential benefits can be misleading.

Most Delta-8 THC products vendors trade these products outside the state-controlled cannabis industries. Since they are operating in an unregulated environment, nothing stops the producers from making toxic products. If no action is taken to control the production and consumption of this substance, it may present a public health risk

Other reasons why Delta-8 THC is dangerous for human consumption include:

Medical experts continue to discourage the consumption of this variant form of THC. The uncontrolled market of delta-8 products qualifies it to be categorized as a dangerous substance to purchase. 

Is Delta-8 THC Legal?

Delta-8 THC is federally legal across different states in the U.S. through a loophole created by the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill legalized hemp because of its low concentration of THC. The legalization made hemp products such as Delta-8 THC legal to be sold and consumed on a federal level.

However, the lack of research on the effects of Delta-8 THC on human consumption has made 14 states illegalize the sale and consumption of this compound. These states include; Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, and Utah. Other states like Michigan, North Carolina, and Virginia have cautioned the public about using the compound.

What are the Effects of THC?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, smoking marijuana with THC as an active element can have immediate side effects. However, these effects may vary from one person to another. They may also depend on how one consumes the substance containing THC. The common side effects include:

Since delta-8 has certain percentages of THC, consuming it may also result in similar side effects as those listed above. Users of these products have reported other effects such as:

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The absence of research data on the adverse effects of delta-8 does not mean the substance doesn’t have serious side effects. In 2020, the Poison Control Center in North Carolina recorded about 109 cases of individuals recording severe reactions to delta-8. 

Delta-8 products packed as fruit-flavored can be tempting to kids who like confectioneries. If you have toddlers in your home, keep any of your cannabis products away from them. 

Factors to Consider Before Buying Delta-8 THC

Before buying delta-8 from any vendor, this is what you need to know.

  1. FDA has not approved any delta-8 product as a safe substance for human consumption. 
  2. FDA has received reports on severe negative effects surrounding the use of delta-8 products. The effects include loss of consciousness and trouble in standing. 
  3. The process of extracting and making concentrates of delta-8 THC uses harmful chemicals, sometimes traced back to the delta-8 products.
  4. Delta-8 THC products have psychoactive and intoxicating effects.
  5. If you have to buy them, ensure you are sourcing them from a licensed vendor, and you should keep them out of reach of children. 

Just because THC products are legal in different states, it does not mean they are safe for consumption. Delta 8 THC and other forms of THC are dangerous and can become addictive when used uncontrollably. If anyone around you is already struggling to free themselves from the consumption of THC products, reach out to us for help. 

Isolation can Lead to Addiction

Addiction is a complex condition that can rarely be attributed to a single cause. One’s environment, genetics, mental health, and past experiences all influence the development of addiction. Studies also point out isolation as a vulnerability to drug addiction.  

Social isolation isn’t necessarily bad: we all crave some alone time, at least occasionally. Being alone can be rejuvenating, meditative, and relaxing. But when the solitude is unwanted or unhealthy, it can become problematic. Isolation has become a growing concern for the health care system.

People who are socially isolated may lack friends, family, or close workmates. So, they tend to feel lonely and depressed. As a result, they may suffer from anxiety, low self-esteem, and other mental health issues, as you’ll notice in this article.

What is social isolation?

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put it, social isolation is the lack of social connections that can lead to loneliness in some people. Those in unhealthy isolation are likely to:

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In some cases, the isolation can include emotional isolation where one is unwilling or unable to share their feelings with others. When this happens, the person can become emotionally numb.

What causes social isolation?

Isolation can be a result of many factors, including:

The effects of isolation

Many studies have shown a connection between isolation and physical health issues. Isolation is a risk factor for issues like heart disease, increased inflammation and stress hormones, diabetes 2, and even disability. An analysis of 70 studies and 3.4 million people pointed out that isolated individuals had a 30% higher risk of dying in the next seven years.

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But the effects of isolation aren’t just physical. They can be mental as well. In fact, numerous studies show a close link between isolation and mental disorders like low self-esteem, depression, social anxiety, dementia, or other mental health concern.

Again, isolation and mental issues tend to feed off of each other. Meaning, an individual might develop anxiety because of isolation, then feel more isolated because of their anxiety, and vice versa.

How isolation leads to addiction

Connecting with other people is an important part of well-being. Humans are social creatures, and not getting enough social interaction can impact health. Isolation can increase the amount of stress hormone cortisol in the body, causing a range of physical health concerns.

Prolonged isolation can lead to mental health issues or worsen the existing ones. When feelings of loneliness go unresolved, it could lead to a range of mental illnesses.

Many studies show a strong connection between mental health disorders and substance use disorders. In fact, as the National Institute on Drug Use puts it, many people who develop mental illnesses are also diagnosed with substance use disorder. Data show high rates of SUD and mental disorders like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and antisocial personality disorders, all of which are common among those who self-isolate. NIDA also points out that people with personality, substance use, and mental disorders were more likely to use non-medical prescription opioids

Isolation may also cause loneliness. When a person is lonely, they may turn to drugs to pass the time or shut down the critical inner voices that tend to multiply in isolation. Speaking of voices, too much isolation leads to fluctuations in thinking, causing one to perceive the world around them negatively. In some cases, the loneliness can make them a little vulnerable, causing them to start looking for reasons people aren’t hanging out with them.

At this point, self-disgust sets in to offer a handy scapegoat. When one fixates on these beliefs and thoughts, they might act in ways to reinforce their actions. They may also abuse substances to cope with their situation or avoid reality. Prolonged use might lead to addiction, driving one further into isolation.

Note that both drugs and social interaction can stimulate one’s dopamine response. Emotional and physical connectedness triggers the production of good feelings, and when that system doesn’t change, one may seek to self-medicate. So they’ll turn to illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol. For those struggling with addiction, this can make for a deadly mix under the wrong circumstances.

Unfortunately, at this point, any attempt to stop using ends in withdrawal symptoms. So, one is likely to struggle alone, with no end in sight.

How to overcome isolation

Going out more and making new friends might seem like an obvious thing to do in this case. However, isolation can have an underlying cause that needs to be addressed to build more fulfilling connections. Treatment programs exist to help individuals gain control of their lives. But one can also try out the following:

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How to prevent relapse in isolation

Those who go through substance abuse treatment need physical, emotional, and financial support from their loved ones to regain full control of their lives. Otherwise, they risk relapsing. Finding support in groups like Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can help prevent relapse.

Getting help for social isolation and addiction

The risks of drug addiction are higher among those suffering from isolation. But the good news is that there are facilities that provide medically-reviewed addiction treatment and therapies to help one reopen communication lines and feel less isolated.

TV Shows About Drug Addiction (And What They Show Us)

Society views addiction as a choice or weakness. So, when someone gets caught up in an addiction, they tend to see themselves as falling short of the standard. They feel guilty of their perceived shortcomings and end up with a negative mindset. The public stigma around the “failings” of those with addiction doesn’t encourage anyone to seek addiction treatment. It also makes it hard for those struggling with addiction to speak about their habits and get immediate help. Luckily, some TV shows about drug addiction are helping to fight the negative stigma.

And since addiction is a chronic disease, it can be challenging for individuals to pull themselves out of it without help. Some try but slip back as soon as the withdrawal symptoms set in. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a person’s ability to not indulge in addictive behavior becomes compromised. Unless they get quick access to medically reviewed treatment, addictions, whether to substance use disorder or behavior, can lead to death.

All these may seem like “usual” words until you experience the struggles of addicts and the damage that addiction does. With that in mind, here are some TV shows about drug addiction to give you a glimpse into how it works and its effects.

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Intervention on A&E

Intervention is an American series that profiles one or two people who struggle with addiction. The addicts in this Emmy-winning series believe they’re being filmed for a documentary until their family and friends stage a dramatic intervention. Launched in 2005 on A&E, Intervention is among the first series that highlights the lifestyle of those who suffer from substance or behavioral addictions. It also captures what these addictions can do to families and teaches the various reasons behind the addiction.

Tackling everything from the opioid crisis to alcoholism to eating disorders, Intervention follows addicts whose loved ones have submitted a request for help in getting them into treatment. The series has some disturbing images that depict the realism of addiction that may make you afraid, but that’s the point. Intervention partners with different addiction treatment centers in the US and provides resources for each individual profiled in the show.

As its name suggests, the series sheds light on addiction and its ugly effects on addicts and their loved ones and takes action to improve the situation. According to Screenrant, 70-75% of addicts who appeared on the show are still sober.

Mom on CBS

Set in Napa, California, Mom follows a dysfunctional mother-daughter duo. The two - Bonnie and Christy Plunkett - had been estranged for years due to addiction. Christy, a single mother of two, Violet and Roscoe, encounters a series of challenges.

Her young daughter, Violet, gets pregnant and decides to put her baby up for adoption. She later gets engaged to an older guy and moves out. Roscoe opts to stay with his dad, even though he’s a drug dealer and deadbeat. Despite all that, Christy strives to maintain her newfound sobriety. She moves to Napa, and works as a waitress, and also attends Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.

But her wayward mother, Bonnie, reenters the picture and criticizes her life. Bonnie is also a recovering alcohol and drug addict attending AA meetings. The CBS series has been applauded for addressing themes of real-life issues like substance abuse disorders, gambling, teen pregnancy, cancer, domestic violence, homelessness, rape, palsy, overdose, stroke, ADHD, etc. It has been praised for striking a perfect balance between the humorous and dark aspects of these issues.

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This Is Us on NBC

This Is Us is an emotional and heartwarming story about a unique set of triplets, struggles, and caring parents. While not the central theme, this NBC series shines a light on different types of addiction, including addiction to food, alcohol, and pain pills. Kevin, the first-born Pearson, got hooked on alcohol and painkillers. He struggles with depression and finds it hard to understand that Jack, his dad, had an addiction. Rebecca, his mother, never mentioned it because of shame and fear of stigma.

Sophie, Kevin’s sister, is a nurse but can’t connect his erratic behavior to addiction. That’s to be expected since loved ones usually have no reason to suspect substance abuse disorder. Earlier on, Jack confesses to Rebecca that he didn’t quit drinking when he said he had. But after another attempt to quit, he was successful.

He attends AA meetings and leads a clean life. Kate, Kevin’s sister, also can’t get over binge eating. She attends an eating support group where she meets Madison, who struggles with not eating enough. 

This Is Us shows us that genetics is one of the risk factors for addiction and that sometimes, loved ones won’t realize there’s a problem. It also uncovers the aspect of shame about addiction and that skinny people struggle with eating problems too. Lastly, it shows us that relapse can be a part of recovery.

Addicted on TLC

Addicted is another one of the American reality TV shows about drug addiction that follows the lives of addicts through intervention, detox, and rehab and behavioral therapies. Kristina Wandzilak, a recovered alcoholic, prostitute, and drug user turned family interventionist, guides the addicts and their loved ones through the process as a sponsor and advocate. It’s incredibly raw and shows those struggling with addiction getting drunk and high in close-up detail. Due to its graphic nature, warnings pop up at every commercial break to prepare you for what is coming.

In the show, you see people consuming large amounts of alcohol, injecting drugs into arms, and getting high. You also see the tricks they use to acquire substances. Kristina intervenes and gets them to rehab; some refuse, some get themselves kicked out of rehab, and some successfully go through it. The show also depicts the pain that addiction inflicts on family. You’ll see the anger, anxiety, and other emotions that families experience dealing with a loved one who struggles with addiction.

Celerity Rehab on VH1

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Celerity Rehab revolves around a group of famous individuals as they undergo substance abuse treatment with Dr. Drew Pinsky and his team at the Pasadena Recovery Center in California. The reality TV show premiered in 2008 on the cable network VH1 and was later renamed Rehab with Dr. Drew, which focused on non-celebrities.

It shines a spotlight on celebrity and their substance abuse or behavioral addiction problems and their journey through rehab. Pinsky, a board-certified physician and addiction expert, adds an air of credibility and makes the show more educational.

If you’d like to see more on celebrity addiction, you can stream Too Young to Die on Pluto TV or Prime Video. It bases its stories on celebrities whose lives were cut short due to addiction and overdose. The episodes of Too Young to Die cover American stars like John Belushi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kurt Cobain, who died from drug abuse. The documentary series shows how serious the drug addiction problem is and how it can be too late to help someone.

Reference to a diagnostic and statistical manual can produce more insight into this problem. As well, various treatment approaches exist to help those struggling with short- and long-term addiction. So, if someone close to you is struggling with any form of addiction, it can be a good idea to help them get treatment immediately.

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What are Quaaludes and Why Were They Popular?

Quaaludes--perhaps you’ve heard of them or maybe you have even tried them yourself? Quaaludes are often talked about with a sense of nostalgia, usually being referenced in movies by someone’s grandma who has a secret stash of them left over from the 70’s when the drug was at its height in popularity. More recently however, the drug has hit media headlines, as accusations of alleged sexual assault against Bill Cosby resurfaced. The disgraced, former TV star later admitted to giving Quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with. It comes as no surprise that the drug was eventually outlawed in 1983 when authorities caught on to the large amount of people who were either abusing the drug recreationally or using it as a date rape drug. So exactly are Quaaludes and why were they popular?

The brief history of Quaaludes

Before the drug was marketed under the brand name of Quaaludes (as well as Sopor) by pharmaceutical companies, the generic name for it was methaqualone. Quaaludes were first synthesized in India during 1951 by Indra Kishore Kacker and Syed Husain Zaheer. Originally, methaqualone was synthesized as a new treatment for malaria when they found that it also had some highly sedative properties aside from what they had created it for. The first two markets it hit were Germany and Japan, where it racked up quite the extensive record of addiction and recreational abuse. Eventually, by 1955 it was being prescribed in Britain under the name of Mandrax, a name still used to this day.

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The drug slowly made its way over to the United States in the 1960’s, where it became widely popular in the “hippie” era. In the United States, methaqualone was mainly manufactured by a pharmaceutical company in Pennsylvania who gave the drug its iconic name. The word Quaalude combines the word “quiet” with “interlude”.  During this time, doctors were essentially giving Quaaludes out like candy. People could buy “Ludes” in semi-legal stress clinics without ever having to visit with an actual doctor. By 1972, it was the sixth best-selling sedative in America. They were also widely prescribed for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety.

However, it did not take very long for the recreational abuse and addiction to follow methaqualone overseas where it was now sold in America under the brand name of Quaaludes.

How Quaaludes became so popular in the drug culture of the United States

In part due to the easy access of obtaining Quaaludes, it became very popular in night clubs and disco scenes. This earned the drug yet another popular pop culture name known as “disco-biscuits”. Due to its popularity in night clubs and disco scenes, non-alcoholic clubs known as “juice bars” were established. These clubs catered to people who wanted to dance while high on Quaaludes, or for short, “Ludes”. Moreover, in 1981 the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) declared Quaaludes the second most abused drug in America. So, by 1983 Quaaludes were outlawed in the United States for reasons including: widespread rates of addiction, recreational abuse and because it could potentially be used as a “date rape drug”.

With the popularity of the drug during the time it was legal in the United States, one has to wonder why so many people abused the drug. Considering how long it has remained in pop culture references during the 1960’s, up until it was banned in 1983, “Ludes” remained somewhat of an urban legend. One of the main reasons for its popularity is that Quaaludes are a very powerful barbiturate. These types of drugs act as a central nervous system depressant. Quaaludes are also highly addictive.

Some of the more noticeable side effects of Quaaludes include:

These are just a few of the side effects that come with taking Quaaludes or methaqualone. Part of the increased risk of abusing Quaaludes is that it was often consumed with other substances such as alcohol, which severely increased the risk of these negative side effects occurring.

The real danger of Quaaludes

At its peak, it was also associated with a large number of suicides, overdoses, injuries, and other dangerous incidents, like car accidents. In prescribed doses, methaqualone was known to produce relaxation, sleepiness, and a slight feeling of euphoria. But the often deadly trio of easy access, peer popularity, and consumption of alcohol lead to many overdoses and comas. The reason being that a lethal dosage of methaqualone is much smaller when combined with other substances, such as alcohol, crystal meth, or other drugs with a potential for abuse. Many people also reported using the substance because of its euphoric high and sleepy drunk effect.

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Addictive drugs often become popular in the United States

Part of the popularity of the drug was also due to its highly addictive properties. When people begin using drugs, it chemically and physically alters the functioning of the brain and its production of dopamine. Much like any other substance, with repeated use people eventually will develop tolerance to the drug. This leads them to consume more and more of the drug, in order to achieve the same desired effects. Over time, the chemicals that get released in the brain will eventually trick your brain into believing that it needs that certain substance in order to survive. This makes quitting the drug much more difficult, as the brain begins to associate different places, people, or things with the drug use.

Thankfully, psychological and medical research on addiction has come a very long way since Quaaludes were outlawed in 1983. Since then, they are nearly impossible to come by on the street, but that doesn't mean they have completely vanished. If you or a loved one may be struggling with an addiction to Quaaludes, or any other substance, then please allow our wonderfully trained staff here at More Than Rehab to help. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help when you need it! You do not have to go through your addiction alone. We understand what it takes to lead a healthy and fulfilling life without the use of drugs or alcohol, so give us a call today:

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How To Spot A Possible Heroin User

Heroin is an extremely dangerous and addictive illicit drug. It can come in many forms and goes by many different names but it often comes in a fine white, brown, or black powder. Another popular form of heroin is black tar heroin, and as the name implies, it looks like black tar and is sticky and gooey. Heroin is an opioid that was originally derived from the seeds of the poppy plant. It has been used by millions across the globe for some time now but it has recently grown in popularity in America, particularly in the last decade. According to data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 170,000 began using heroin for the first time in 2016, a number that had doubled since 2006. Even worse, data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018 shows that 128 people die in the United States every day from an overdose on opioids.

A possible heroin user will likely have an addiction that is difficult to treat

An addiction to heroin can be particularly difficult to overcome, especially considering it often leads to death via unwanted overdoses. A lot of times heroin on the street is cut with harmful chemicals, including substances like fentanyl. Unfortunately, fentanyl has become a favorite among dealers as it is particularly powerful, around 100 times stronger than morphine, and it’s also cheap. This is part of the reason as to why there are so many overdoses associated with heroin and the use of other opioids. That is why it is extremely important to get help for your loved one if you believe they might be suffering from a heroin addiction or other type of substance use disorder. If you are unsure whether or not they are a possible heroin user, then here are some tell-tale signs that they are using heroin.

How to spot a possible heroin user:

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Of course, these are just a few of the signs that someone you know may be a potential heroin user. They may also display things like slurred speech, memory problems and a reduced sense of pain. Their pupils may appear constricted and they may also have a constant runny nose or nose sores if they are prone to snorting the substance. If you are still unsure, then please reach out to us for help! We have many trained professionals with years of experience on treating, managing, and helping people cope with heroin use and other addictions. We have the tools necessary to help begin a successful road to a lifetime of healthy sobriety. We hope that your loved one gets the help that they need and we hope to hear from you soon!

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Where Did Meth Come From? A History of Methamphetamine

Today, there are more than 1.6 million Americans who report having abused crystal meth sometime within the past year. Out of that number, roughly one million of them will also state that they suffered from a methamphetamine use disorder within that same year. A substance use disorder, also known as an addiction, is when someone uncontrollably seeks out and uses drugs despite suffering negative life consequences. In the United States alone, roughly 20 million Americans suffer from a substance use disorder of some kind, and meth use takes up quite a big share of that number. Though it has been around for quite some time, the history of methamphetamine, how it was created and how it was first used is not very well-known.

The history of methamphetamine

In 1887, a Romanian chemist by the name of Lazar Edeleanu became the first to synthesize a substance known today as amphetamines. Amphetamines are a synthetic stimulant that is very similar to methamphetamine, in both structure and their associated side effects. However, amphetamines are still legally prescribed today for the treatment of conditions such as ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. Though discovered in 1887, amphetamine was not clinically used until the 1920’s when Gordon A. Alles resynthesized the drug and used it for the treatment of things like asthma, hay fever, and the common cold.

While amphetamines were first discovered in 1887, the discovery of methamphetamines occurred shortly thereafter. Nagayoshi Nagai first synthesized methamphetamine, a variant of amphetamine, in 1893 in Japan from a chemical that is commonly known as ephedrine. Methamphetamine is much more potent than the previously discovered amphetamine and was used in Japan for the treatment of things like schizophrenia, depression, and Parkinson's disease. However, the widespread use of methamphetamines didn’t become popular until the 1940’s during the second World War.

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During WWII, Temmler, a German pharmaceutical company, marketed and sold unprescribed methamphetamine tablets under the name of Pervitin. It was during this time that German, Japanese, American, and English governments all began giving their military troops methamphetamines in order to help enhance performance and reduce fatigue. Aside from the military use of the drug, people like truck drivers, students, and stay-at-home moms all began using Pervitin for a variety of reasons. Some used the drug as a way to stay awake, lose weight, or simply to feel like they were operating at peak performance. It has also been long-rumored that the Japanese Kamikaze pilots were given high doses of Pervitin before crashing their plane.

The history of methamphetamine use in the post-World War 2 era

By the 1950’s there was still a relative lack of public awareness surrounding the usage of both methamphetamines and amphetamines, so the use of both continued to soar. Both substances were also still mostly legal for the use in over-the-counter drugs. Nasal sprays containing amphetamines were also widely popular among various populations and both substances were still prescribed often for the treatment of conditions like depression, obesity, and narcolepsy. It was during the late 1950’s that an injectable form of methamphetamines first became available.

Due to its increasing popularity and low regulation, outlaw biker gangs began “cooking” meth, which quickly led it to become part of the 1960’s drug culture. The term “crank'' derives from the fact that biker gangs used to hide their stash in their crankshaft. Perhaps also in part due to the creation of injectable IV bags full of methamphetamines, more and more people begin using it for its euphoric effects instead of for the intended medical purposes. The subculture of methamphetamine users grew even stronger because of this, with more and more erratic behavior becoming noticeable among its users. This behavior, known as “tweaking” began to cause some alarm from health experts and governments around the world.

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Around this time, authorities in the United States began to take notice as people began experiencing issues with meth abuse and addiction. It was also becoming increasingly difficult to deny some of the negative side effects associated with the use of these harmful substances. The often noticible side effects of meth abuse include paranoia, delusions, and even total heart failure. It was in 1959 when over-the-counter nasal sprays were first banned by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in America.

With increased Federal regulation came an increase in illegal and dangerous labs, where the illicit manufacturing of methamphetamines began to take place, primarily along the Southern border as ingredients were extremely easy to obtain in places like Mexico. Even though by the 1970's, amphetamine use had been highly regulated and methamphetamines all but outlawed, it was still highly popular among illicit drug users in America. That is why in the early 90’s Federal regulation cracked down tightly on the sale of over-the-counter medications containing chemicals such as ephedrine, a primary ingredient in the illegal manufacturing of meth.

Meth use skyrockets in the US during the 1990s and early 2000s

Despite the best efforts of government regulations, members of the illegal drug trade always find a way to fill the void eventually. Between 1994 and 2004, meth abuse in America soared from just under 2 percent of the adult population to approximately 5 percent – more than doubling in one decade. This prompted even tighter regulations, requiring the verification of a valid ID and that certain products be moved behind the counter. Though meth use has declined over the past decade, in part due to these efforts, it still remains a huge problem that many are facing in our country every day.

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Unfortunately, the war on drugs is a continuing effort that seems to be a vicious cycle with illegal labs continuing to pop up across the country, but that does not mean that there is no hope for those who struggle with an addiction or a substance abuse disorder. Both amphetamines and methamphetamines are highly dangerous and addictive substances that can often be very difficult to get away from, especially without professional help.

Here at More Than Rehab, we understand the power of addiction but we also know what it takes to overcome it. The journey to sobriety can be tough, so let us help guide you and start you on your path to recovery. If you, or a loved one are struggling with any kind of substance use problem, please give us a call any time of the day! You can also chat with us online. We are here to help you, 24/7, 365 days a year. We wish you the best and we hope to hear from you soon!

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