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.

Texas is Dealing with Even More Fentanyl Problems

Fentanyl is the newest drug to blame for the growing opioid epidemic in Texas. This might sound odd, considering the drug is medically approved and is often prescribed by doctors. However, statistics show deaths involve fentanyl abuse more now than ever before in the state of Texas

The misuse of opioids, including fentanyl, heroin, and prescription opioids, has reached epidemic proportions in the US, leading to over 69,710 overdose deaths in 2020. This is according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Texas, in particular, has experienced an upsurge in overdose deaths, accounting for over 3,000 deaths in 2020. Moreover, trends in opioid abuse in the state point to worsening problems in the coming years.

What is fentanyl?

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Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid used to treat chronic severe pain or severe pain following surgery. It is a Schedule II drug like morphine, only about 50-100 times more potent. When used under doctor’s supervision, fentanyl has legitimate medical use. However, some people use fentanyl at unprescribed levels, exposing themselves to many issues, like tolerance and addiction.

Fentanyl is highly addictive due to its potency. It’s therefore common for those taking prescription fentanyl to experience dependence that’s characterized by withdrawal symptoms upon stopping. Symptoms like sleep issues, muscle and bone pain, cold flashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe cravings are uncomfortable and make it hard for people to stop taking fentanyl.

When these people can no longer access prescription fentanyl, they may turn to the streets for options. Unless they enroll in a treatment programthey might not be able to pull themselves out of the hole. Alcohol or drug addictions are best treated by professionals.

On the streets, fentanyl has nicknames like:

Illegal fentanyl is available in different forms, including nasal sprays, powder, pressed pill, eyedroppers, and dropped onto blotter paper. The risks of drug overdose on fentanyl than other opioids are extremely high due to its potency.

In fact, it is now the number one cause of drug overdose deaths. And to worsen the situation, illegal manufacturers often cut fentanyl into other opioids making it even more potent. Examples of these drugs include heroin and cocaine. The lack of quality control on illegal drug production adds another layer of danger.

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Fentanyl epidemic in Texas

Many drugs are sold on the streets of Texas, but none is doing as much damage as fentanyl. According to statistics, the drug has led to a significant increase in opioid overdoses in recent years. In 2020, drug overdose deaths rose to 93,000 and were mostly fueled by the rise of fentanyl.

The scary part is that this year, the Texas Department of Public Safety seized enough fentanyl to kill everyone in California and Texas combined– a 950% rise compared to last year. Most fentanyl enters Texas through the southern border.

Gov. Greg Abbott believes that President Biden’s border policies are the reason behind Texas’s fentanyl problem that begun in 2020 but drastically increased in the first four months of 2021. According to Abbott, people crossing the border come with things that are not visible to the public yet carry deadly danger.

“2mg of Fentanyl has the power to take a life,” read Gov. Abbott’s tweet. “This year, @TxDPS has seized 95lbs of Fentanyl. That’s 21.5M lethal doses. Biden’s deadly border policies are being felt in communities throughout TX and the country. DPS & @TexasGuard are working on getting these drugs off the streets.”

Organizations that traffic fentanyl typically distribute by kilogram. A Kg of fentanyl can kill up to 500,000 people. Sadly, most people who take street drugs have no idea they contain fentanyl. And even those who know they’re taking fentanyl still have no idea that it has a lethal dose.

According to the Center for Disease Control, synthetic opioids are the main culprits behind overdose deaths in Texas and the country at large, rising 38.4% during 12 month period that ends May 2020. In this period, the DEA reports:

Pandemic and fentanyl overdose deaths

The proximity to the border is not the only factor that fuels fentanyl use in Texas. Different sources say there has been evidence of increased fentanyl use during the pandemic. The disruption of the supply chain forced people to turn to drugs they weren’t familiar with. And the stay-at-home measures meant more people were taking drugs in isolation. Other risk factors for fentanyl addiction include:

Where is the fentanyl coming from?

Most of the illegal drugs that come into the US are cultivated in poppy fields in Mexico. They are then distributed by cartels the DEA describes as the greatest drug traffic threat to the US. These cartels smuggle fentanyl and other drugs in passenger and commercial vehicles and through underground tunnels.

Socioeconomic consequences of fentanyl use

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The fentanyl epidemic is having devastating effects on other aspects of public health. It has led to high rates of HIV, hepatitis C, and other illnesses, mostly because of shared syringes. There are also more cases of pregnant mothers passing opioid dependency on their unborn children.

study performed by HHS researchers revealed that cases of neonatal withdrawal symptoms experienced by newborns exposed to opioids while in the womb skyrocketed to over 80% between 2010 and 2017. Not only that. There’s a good chance that the opioid crisis caused an upsurge in the number of children in foster care.

Besides, those struggling with addiction may suffer a job loss or even end up with legal troubles. Addiction is expensive and often puts a strain on family and friends. After all, only those who care about the patient will provide resources to see one through treatment. In some cases, it’s also the close relations that take the most financial heat – like when the person struggling with addiction spends lots of money or they max out the credit in their pursuit to use.

Treating fentanyl addiction

Fentanyl is one of the strongest opioids and can quickly lead to addiction. It is therefore, crucial to know the risk factors and warning signs of fentanyl addiction. Awareness can help prevent overdose and related deaths and encourage one to get help.

Facilities offering treatment for drug addiction exist to help those who end up with addiction regain control of their lives. There are also support groups to help one stay on the path to long-term recovery.

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.

Call us, 24/7:

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Alcoholism is Getting Bad Thanks to the Pandemic

Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, creating feelings of relaxation. It also lowers inhibitions, memory, and judgment. Because of these qualities, many people turn to alcohol to distance themselves from the challenges or stressors they’re facing due to COVID-19. The pandemic is associated with negative economic and health impacts, loss, grief, isolation, prolonged uncertainty and stress.

Recent studies show that people are binge drinking to cope with the negative impacts COVID-19 pandemic. One study found that American adults have sharply increased their alcohol consumption, drinking on more days per week.

The study released by RAND Corporation compared the drinking habits of adults between spring 2019 and spring 2020. Reviewing over 1500 adults across America, participants were asked about their change in alcohol use between 2019 and 2020 during the first peak of the virus.

The study found a 14% increase in alcohol use among adults, compared to the same time last year. This was a 19% increase among all adults ages 30-59. Women, in particular, showed a 41% increase in alcohol use.

Experts warn that the pandemic’s stress could be could be prodding some people to drink alcohol. In the previous years, surges in alcohol use were noted following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 2003 SARS, and September 11th terrorist attacks. Such traumatic events and their resulting stressors tend to lead to increased post-disaster alcohol use and abuse.

Why are people drinking during the pandemic?

People are consuming alcohol as a way to manage emotional stress. The pandemic has created collective grief and loss of security and safety with incredible uncertainty. Before the pandemic, alcohol use was already a significant public health concern. The pandemic seems to be fueling this even further with its vast effects, like:

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, people would go out and blow off some steam. They’d go to the gym for a workout or the movies to calm down. But with the lockdown and less social contact rules, that’s not an option anymore. People can’t hang out with their friends and loved ones as they used to. They can no longer engage in activities that help them reduce stress and enhance well-being. But they can access alcohol because liquor stores were deemed essential businesses and stayed open.

When you combine anxiety and stress with the ability to order alcohol through an app and have it delivered to your doorstep within an hour, you get a perfect pathway towards excessive drinking and abuse.

The effects of alcohol on the body

These studies show that many people could be turning to alcohol to cope with pressures created by COVID-19. Drinking alcohol to cope with life situations like boredom or stress can become a habit that leads to substance abuse disorder. When a person self-medicates with alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues, they can develop co-occurring substance use disorder.

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Alcohol is a depressant and sedative that affects the central nervous system. At first, drinking alcohol can reduce fears and take the mind of troubles. It can help an individual feel less anxious, boost mood and make them generally relaxed.

In fact, the effects of alcohol can be the same as those of anti-anxiety medications. That’s because alcohol slows activity in the amygdala, a brain part that prepares the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress.

Repeated use decreases the amygdala’s dampening effect. It also causes tolerance and dependence. So a person has to drink more alcohol to achieve a similar level of high. At this point, they can’t stop drinking because of withdrawal symptoms, like tremors, nausea, anxiety, headache, confusion, and insomnia.

Mild alcohol withdrawal can be treated at home. But severe cases need supervised care in a hospital setting to avoid potentially dangerous complications like seizures.

Who is more vulnerable to increased alcohol use during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The measures to curb the spread of coronavirus have been hard on everyone. So, everyone is susceptible and may end up with problems with alcohol. However, studies show that some groups are more vulnerable than others.

Younger people

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol use has led to at least four deaths on college campuses since spring 2021. Young adults face unprecedented stressors: loss of income, the uncertainty of the future, and social isolation, resulting in conditions like loneliness, depression, and anxiety which can increase the risk of heavy drinking.

Women

The psychological stress associated with the pandemic was also linked to greater drinking for women. A study by RAND Corporation and supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism shows that heavy drinking among women has soared. In the survey, 1 in 5 women had heavily consumed alcohol at least one additional day per month compared with the previous year.

Physicians

A survey of 12,000 physicians found that over 40% of physicians experienced burnout, which was amplified mainly by COVID-19. Of these physicians, more than a quarter were drinking to cope with the burnout and resulting stress.

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More studies point to the increase in alcohol use thanks to the pandemic

BlueCross BlueShield survey dubbed “Behavioral health by the numbers: a closer look at the impact of COVID-19” reveals a 23% increase in alcohol consumption since the outbreak began.

Another survey on 1,000 American adults 18 years and older by The Recovery Village found that 55% of the participant had an increase in past-month alcohol consumption, with 18% reporting a significant increase.

How to cope with the negative impacts of COVID-19 without alcohol

Healthy coping involves taking part in activities that directly reduce stress or improve wellbeing. This includes exercising, getting enough sleep, following creative pursuits, eating nutritious food, and staying hydrated. It is also a good idea for people to reach out for help and get support to make healthier life choices.

Those recovering from alcohol can take part in online Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. Such support groups can serve as a pillar to help avoid relapse.

How Much Does Alcohol Rehab Cost?

It is never a good feeling when you, or a loved one, are considering whether or not professional treatment is necessary for an alcohol use disorder or an alcohol addiction.

However, the simple fact that there is even a question is a strong indicator that there is possibly a problem and that professional help may be necessary. This is especially true if there have been negative consequences associated with the alcohol use, such as getting a DUI, getting fired from work, relationship difficulties, getting in trouble with the law, or other negative consequences of drug or alcohol abuse.

According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, around 17.6 million people struggle with an alcohol abuse or dependence issue every year in the United States. So, just know that if you or a loved one are suffering, you are certainly not alone. In the year since the pandemic began, alcohol use has seen a sharp increase in the United States.

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One of the biggest steps that people can take when they are suffering from an alcohol use disorder or addiction is to admit that they have a problem, and then get the help necessary to recover.

Once you have decided that help may be necessary for whoever is struggling, you may begin to wonder if your family can afford it.

Exactly how much does alcohol rehab cost?

Well, the answer to this question can depend on many factors. No two people are alike, and the same can be said about their addictions. The cost will typically depend on the level of treatment required for that individual to begin the road to a successful recovery.

The level of treatment someone needs depends on a variety of issues such as how long they’ve been using alcohol or drugs, whether they abuse alcohol in combination with other drugs or substances, and how often they abuse their drug of choice. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the addiction, a more intensive treatment may be necessary.

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What is an alcohol rehab program like?

Typically, when a person is looking to get treatment for alcohol abuse, they do an intake assessment to determine what level of care is appropriate. When it comes to alcohol rehab, there are several different levels of treatment, each with their own general cost. Here are some of the most common.

*These prices are based off out-of-pocket expenses without insurance coverage. However, many insurance companies will pay for all or a portion of alcohol rehab treatment costs.

Aside from the different levels of treatment that may affect the overall cost of alcohol rehab, there are several other factors to consider when it comes to the price. One of those factors is the length of the program. Along with the intake assessment, many treatment centers will also specify an amount of time they believe necessary for effective treatment. Depending on the individual's specific needs, this time frame typically ranges between 30 to 90 days.

The location and amenities of the treatment center can also play a significant role in the overall cost. If you decide to go to an alcohol rehab center located on the beach, it’s likely to cost more than the one nestled in the heart of a small inland city.

The amenities the rehab center offers will also add some major dollar signs to the total cost. Some luxury rehabs offer acupuncture, private tennis courts, and swimming pools. Keep in mind that you don't have to stay at the Ritz in order to get quality treatment but choosing a treatment center with just the right number of amenities may go a long way in making the stay much more enjoyable and beneficial in the long run.

At our beautiful Texas rehab centers, known collectively as More Than Rehab, we combine the right balance of affordability, while still providing luxuries that encourage you to get involved with your recovery process. If you feel as though the cost of alcohol rehab may be too much, keep in mind that most insurance plans will cover all, or a portion of the cost for your alcohol addiction or substance abuse treatment.

At More Than Rehab we offer a wide range of care levels and work with most major insurance companies. We pride ourselves on remaining affordable while providing the highest quality of care--all while staying at a beautiful and serene location surrounded by the most wonderful natural surroundings that Texas has to offer.

There is absolutely no shame in getting help when you need it. So please reach out to us today at More Than Rehab and let our highly trained staff help you or your loved one. As always, we are available 24/7. Give us a call today!

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How Can Drug Court Help Addicts Recover & Avoid Jail?

Recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction is never easy, but for some it can require more intervention. The level of care necessary really depends on the individual and is affected by things like how long the person has been abusing alcohol or drugs, how heavily they have been using these substances, and whether or not they use more than one drug at a time. For anyone who has been there, getting and staying sober can be extremely difficult. It can also be hard to see a loved one struggle with a substance abuse disorder, especially if they have acquired some legal trouble along the way. This is where the option of a drug court can come into play in the recovery of an addict.

Many addicts will find themselves behind bars at one point or another in their lives, which often leads them to being surrounded by people who are living the same type of lifestyle and gives them the opportunity to make even more connections that will continue to enable their criminal behavior. Usually, after enough criminal activity, or depending on the severity of the charge, probation or parole are often the first steps, but many will still end up reoffending and get yet another new drug-related charge or conviction. This problem has led many states to create new methods of reform, or treatment, when an offender has substance abuse issues and also has drug or alcohol related charges.

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Drug Court is a relatively new attempt at solving the war on drugs for many jurisdictions across the United States.

Drug court is often a specialized branch in the judicial system that handles, oversees, monitors, and resides over special cases related to non-violent drug offenders. Today, there are approximately 3,000 drug court systems throughout the United States, each of them with the goal to recover addicts and keep them out of jail. Serving time behind bars has long been known to not work in place of an individual’s drug rehabilitation. This is meant to provide an alternative to jail for people with substance abuse problems. As the American justice system is gaining a better understanding of how to properly manage these cases, drug courts are being seen as a better alternative than jail.

Addiction is served better with treatment, than jail time.

Most drug courts are run by public servants who operate under the knowledge that addiction is a public health problem and not inherently a criminal one. It is likely that many would not have committed these crimes unless they were suffering from the disease of addiction.

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For the family and friends of those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, we may want to believe that jail will make them better. It logically seems as though they would flourish with the restrictive daily routine that jail imposes on them. Yet, drugs are readily available in jails and prisons across the United States. Since there are those who continue abusing substances while in jail, it is likely difficult for people to ever “get better” while behind bars. Either way, for the majority of addicts, a few weeks out of jail and they are back to their old ways.

Drug court systems have shown positive results on helping people recover from addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Drug court works by providing this intense supervision that many addicts need in order to effectively change their behavior, the people they hang out with, and the learned habits that come with being addicted to drugs or alcohol. This includes regular drug and alcohol testing, often multiple times per day while the person is new to the program.

Drug court participants have consistent reporting sent to case managers, they must participate in many different treatment programs and group counseling sessions, regular court dates to track progress and prompt intervention by drug court personnel, should there be a setback or relapse. The overall idea is to closely monitor participants and actively engage them in their own recovery in order to keep them focused and dedicated to actual change.

Drug courts can lower the recidivism rates of its participants.

While research and data varies some on this topic, many can agree that recidivism rates of people with substance abuse issues, who also completed a drug court program, are significantly lower than those who did participate in a drug court program. According to the National Institute of Justice, the felony re-arrest rate decreased from 40% all the way down to 12% after a two year follow up time period. Other reputable sources show that well-administered drug courts reduce criminal activity by up to 35%, a remarkable finding when compared to traditional case management or proceedings. Not to mention, the cost for treating these individuals is far lower than the cost of keeping them in jail, where they are also more likely to reoffend. This makes drug court a more effective method than the usual jail-time punishment, from the perspective of both the taxpayer and the person suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

There are many reasons why drug courts are more effective. Not only do they provide that crucial structure many addicts need while early in recovery, but they keep addicts out of jail and they also reunite them with their families. Drug courts provide services that allow addicted family members to kick their habit, stay out of jail, and shows them the tools necessary to live life while healthy and sober. Parents in these programs are twice as likely to attend and complete treatment, also decreasing the amount of time their children may have needed to spend out of the home, in places like foster care.

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Accountability is also very crucial to those in recovery, and drug courts supervision and comprehensive care prevents the vast majority of offenders from dropping out of the program early on. The connection they have with the judge they see usually on a weekly basis, the peers they spend time with in group counseling sessions, and other members of the drug court team all work together in keeping the person accountable for their recovery. Because of this participants in drug court are 6 times more likely to finish treatment.

If you are facing the decision of participating in drug court or staying in jail, the research doesn’t lie. By participating in drug court you are much more likely to succeed in sobriety, but you have to want to change. The same can be said for anyone who is looking to get help for the drug or alcohol addiction. If you are needing help and are unsure where to turn, please reach out and give us a call! Here at More Than Rehab, much like drug court systems, we know what it takes to make a lasting change to live a healthy life of sobriety.

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PTSD & Drug Use: Military, Police, Fire & Healthcare Workers

Many have heard the term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but what does that really mean? Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric condition in which the person suffering has either experienced or witnessed a terrifying or traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident such as a car crash, combat in war, rape, or some other type of violent personal assault. The symptoms of PTSD are often grouped into four categories; intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking or mood, and changes in physical or emotional reactions.

What are the four categories of symptoms with PTSD?

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include recurrent and unwanted memories of the event that cause or trigger distress, flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event(s) as if it were currently happening. Terrifying dreams or nightmares related to the incident may occur, along with severe emotional distress or physical reactions to things that remind you of the traumatic event.

Symptoms of avoidance usually include trying to avoid thinking or talking about the event and avoiding people, places, or things that may remind you of the event.

Negative changes in thinking or mood may include symptoms such as; negative thoughts about yourself, people, or the world in general, hopelessness about the future, memory issues, and difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.

Lastly, symptoms of changes in physical or emotional reactions are being easily startled or frightened, always being on guard for danger, trouble sleeping or trouble concentrating, and overwhelming guilt or shame.

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, and have also experienced a traumatic event, you may have what is known as PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. There is no shame in asking for help and you may want to consider reaching out to a mental health professional so that they can help you better manage the symptoms.

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Call us today for help with your drug or alcohol addiction. We offer the best evidence-based treatment program in the Houston, Texas area.

PTSD and drug use is very common among people in the United States

It is estimated that one in eleven people will be diagnosed with PTSD at one point in their lives. Though, this may be true, there are certain jobs within the community that put people at a higher risk to experience a traumatic event. People in the military, both men and women, people on the police force, first responders such as fire fighters, border patrol agents and people in the healthcare industry all have jobs that are more likely to expose them to traumatic experiences that can affect mental health.

There has long been a link between drug use and PTSD, as sufferers likely turn to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with the devastating symptoms they experience because of the traumatic events they have gone through. For instance, people who suffer from PTSD are 14 times more likely to develop substance use problems of some kind. Research also has found that people with PTSD are much more likely to abuse alcohol over other illicit drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine. That is not to say, though, that some sufferers of PTSD do not abuse other drugs as well, because they commonly do.

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It is no secret that our military members engage in, or witness, acts of war or combat. In recent times, between the years of 1995 and 2012, there has been a 52% increase in the amount of veterans receiving treatment for a substance abuse disorder, this is most likely because of the recent “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is estimated that 27% of veterans who suffer from PTSD also develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

National Institutes of Health

The reintegration of our veterans is often difficult, as they are forced to adjust quickly and without much guidance or supervision. This often leads them to trying to self-medicate their symptoms. Unfortunately, many are afraid to ask for help, due to the negative stigma surrounding addiction.

For the men and women in our police forces, they are often the first line of defense, causing them to witness and experience some traumatic events. It is estimated that around 7-19% of police officers suffer from PTSD at any given time; compared to the 3.5% of the average population, or one in eleven people. A recent study showed that roughly 25% of people who serve on the police force also suffer from a substance abuse disorder, with the majority of them turning to alcohol-- though some say that number is inflated, and that the actual percentage is closer to 16. Either way, the studies concluded that many turn to alcohol in order to help them sleep and ward off any nightmares they may be experiencing.

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Post-traumatic stress disorder in police and fire departments

Those who serve in the fire department also are often the first responders on the scene of many traumatic events, ultimately leading to PTSD. Studies have shown that the number of firefighters who suffer from this condition ranges anywhere from 7-37% at any given time, a rate that is similar to those who serve in the armed forces. According to a report done by the US Firefighters Association, nearly 10% of people in the fire service also struggle with a substance use disorder, with them being twice as likely to abuse alcohol than other substances, a number that is also double that of the general population. Many do not discuss their mental health issues in the firehouse, which likely leads them to self-medication.

Healthcare workers are not immune from PTSD and drug use

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Those in the healthcare field also encounter many situations that are considered to be traumatic, even more so today with the current pandemic that is sweeping across the globe. Consequences of the coronavirus only heighten the concern that healthcare workers may begin to experience post-traumatic stress. A study conducted several years before the coronavirus outbreak suggested that 22% of healthcare workers exhibit symptoms and that 18% met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.

PTSD aside, doctors and nurses have one of the highest rates for addiction and substance abuse disorder, the reasons for that are ample: easier access to drugs, abusing substances to cope with long hours, or self-medicating to alleviate symptoms of an underlying mental health condition, such as PTSD.

It is good to recognize that people in these positions put their lives on the line every day, and they should not have to suffer in silence. Post-traumatic stress disorder is something that can be managed, but more people need to speak out about this condition so that more people feel comfortable discussing. If you, or a loved one, are suffering from an addiction to alcohol or drugs, or need help coping with symptoms of PTSD, please reach out to us for help, we are available 24/7!

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The Military and Drug Use

America is known for having a strong military, whose members are strongly supported by other American citizens, because we recognize that their duty and sacrifice are what allows each of us to enjoy the freedom we all share. Unfortunately, the United States has participated in many conflicts across the globe, most recently in Iraq, in 2003 as a response the 2001 terrorist attacks that took place on American soil on 9/11. American troops are still currently active there, to this day. While many know the long history of the United States, and our involvement in a number of wars, a newer topic in the American discourse is the tumultuous repercussions of these conflicts to our soldier’s mental health. The military and drug use are not mutually-exclusive. Many active duty military personnel and our returning veterans can easily face the very real challenge of developing a substance use disorder.

Military combat veterans and drug use.

Some things that Veterans in our country are forced to deal with, usually upon returning home from war, range from issues like homelessness, unemployment, and mental health disorders such as PTSD (or post-traumatic stress disorder). These issues are certainly not unexpected and they are relatively common. Another issue with members of the military, and their immediate families, are substance abuse disorders, like an addiction or chemical dependence to drugs or alcohol.

Oftentimes, this can go both ways, as the loved one who is a member of the military may develop an addiction overseas or once returning home, or, vice versa, the family members who are not in the military may develop an addiction while their loved one is away at war.

In 2015 alone, more than 30% of active duty military personnel engaged in hazardous drinking behavior or met criteria for an alcohol abuse disorder.

- The Rand Corporation

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What types of drugs are commonly used by military personnel?

Besides alcohol, substances like marijuana and cocaine are also common among active duty service members currently in the military, however, due to the fact that testing positive to a random drug test could lead to a dishonorable discharge, many military members develop problems associated with alcohol or prescription painkillers, commonly prescribed due to injuries from combat or carrying and operating heavy equipment. For instance, during the years of 2001 to 2009, the number of painkillers prescribed to the military more than quadrupled, causing a subsequent rise in opioid use disorders as well. In 2017, one in four active-duty members of the United States military received a prescription for opioids.

According to data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than one out of every 10 veterans has a substance abuse disorder of some kind, which is slightly higher than the general population, even more so when just comparing data for male veterans aged 18-25. This number could be attributed to the fact that many veterans will also develop a mental health disorder as well. A recent report found that nearly 30 percent of active duty personnel have a mental health condition requiring treatment, and just under 50 percent of veterans have a mental health condition that also requires treatment.

The negative stigma concerning mental health prevents military and their families from asking for help.

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Another issue for military members is the stigma surrounding mental health and/or addiction. Many times, they are afraid to seek help in fear of what loved ones or other people may think. If you, or a loved one, are struggling with a mental health issue or a substance abuse disorder, please do not hesitate to ask for help! Years of experience has shown that many family members are accepting and more than willing to try to get you the help that you need. You made sacrifices to help defend American freedom, our heritage and values. You deserve to be treated with respect and care, especially when it comes to your mental health.

As always, please feel free to reach out to one of our addiction specialists today!

More Than Rehab is located just outside of Houston, Texas.

We’re always here to offer help when needed!

888-249-2191

Substance abuse among America’s Military Families.

Another important aspect of the military and drug use, is what happens to the family that gets left behind while their loved one is away fighting for the freedom and protection of our country? This is important to consider when talking about the military and drug use, but all too often it seems to get overlooked. A recent survey found that roughly 44% of people in the military are married with children, and approximately 56% are married alone. Numbers estimate that there are more members of military families then there are active duty personnel, where roughly around 1.9 million people in the United States are an immediate part of a military family.

According to the NSDUH (the National Survey on Drug Use and Health), over 30% of military wives aged 18-49 participated in hazardous binge drinking behavior within the last 30 days and over 12 percent reported abusing illicit drugs within the past year. Furthermore, they were much more likely to engage in binge drinking behavior compared to other members of the civilian population. Additionally, 30 percent of military wives aged 18-49 also had a mental health disorder requiring treatment within the last year.

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These rates of substance abuse could be due to a number of reasons: having to juggle all the household responsibilities and take care of the kids all alone while their husbands are away at war. Wondering if their loved one is going to be safe, while deployed to active duty. These things are emotionally traumatic for both parties. Unfortunately, the children of active duty service members are not unaffected by one, or both of their parents being in the military. The same survey showed that nearly 20% of children who had a parent in the military also struggled with a substance abuse disorder of some kind.

While research in this field is still relatively new, it is safe to say that not only are veterans and active members of the military affected, but their family members may be as well. There is honor in serving your country, and there is honor in loving someone who does, but it can come with its own set of consequences.

Here at More Than Rehab, we truly understand substance abuse disorders and specialize in areas like how the military may impact the entire family with things like PTSD and substance abuse disorders. It is important to remember that even though you may be suffering, you are not alone. Let us help you get back on track and show you the way to get your life back. To the members of the military and their families, we appreciate your service to this country and would not hesitate in returning the favor!

(888) 241-2191

Why Being In-Network for Blue Cross Blue Shield Is Better For Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Thankfully, there are many options for insurance out there in the world today. However, If you happen to be a member of Blue Cross Blue Shield then there are a wide array of benefits that you get from purchasing any one of their numerous insurance options. It is estimated that nearly one out of every three people in America rely on services provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield. This is because of the extensive and vast coverage that they offer. Blue Cross Blue Shield members have access to thousands of medical assistance options, doctors and hospitals across the world all while providing safe, quality, and affordable healthcare. Additionally, Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance can cover a wide array of services, including dental care, prenatal, maternity, and newborn care to things like emergency services, hospitalization and preventative care. Another one of these services is coverage for mental health and rehabilitative services, such as rehab for drugs and alcohol.

Most insurance plans cover alcohol and drug addiction treatment services in Texas.

We hope that you never have to encounter a situation where you or a loved one may require rehab for drugs and/or alcohol, but we know that for many families this situation is all too common.

It is estimated that nearly 21 million people suffer from a substance abuse problem in our country nearly every day, not to mention people who live outside of the United States.

A substance abuse problem, otherwise known as an addiction, is very common. It is when a person is unable to stop using drugs or alcohol even if they have gone through negative experiences as a result. Things like homelessness and job loss are consequences of their addiction, something that has taken over the functioning of their brain.

Simply put, a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol does not have the same brain as someone who is not addicted to drugs or alcohol, they are literally not able to stop doing them. That is why, in most cases, professional help from an addiction specialist is needed in order to help save their life from this debilitating disease.

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So, if you are one of those 21 million Americans who suffer from an addiction, or if you are a loved one of someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and you also happen to have Blue Cross Blue Shield, then do not worry. Coverage for drugs and alcohol is something that they offer coverage for, in fact, it is now required by law that insurance companies must offer some type of addiction treatment coverage, even if there is a preexisting condition. This is because of the Affordable Care Act. So, even if you don't have Blue Cross Blue Shield be sure to check with your insurance provider to see what sort of coverage they offer. The same goes for those who carry Blue Cross Blue Shield, be sure to speak with your insurance agent to see what kind of coverage your specific plan has to offer, as all insurance plans may not already cover these costs. Most insurance plans including treatment for drugs and alcohol include things like:

 

What’s the difference between in-network and out-of-network providers?

Once you figure out what kind of coverage your specific plan has to offer for drug and alcohol treatment, then there are a few things to keep in mind when trying to find the rehabilitation program that is right for you. One of, perhaps the most important questions is whether or not that treatment program is considered an in-network provider or an out-of-network provider. In-network refers to providers or facilities that are in your insurance companies network, often they have negotiated prices and hefty discounts with certain providers.

Out-of-network simply means that the provider or facility does not have a contract with your insurance agency. So, even if they may be a good facility, you are surely going to end up spending more money, perhaps on a service that is of lesser quality.

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While some insurance plans may cover part of the cost of a rehabilitation program that is out-of-network, it won't be anywhere near the coverage offered for an approved facility and provider. The same can be said for members of Blue Cross Blue Shield, though they will cover some portion of the cost for an out-of-network facility (if it happens to be one you really want to go to), it will be nowhere near the amount of coverage if you chose a facility that is in-network. One of those reasons is because not only have they negotiated a deal with that facility or provider, but they have thoroughly vetted them to ensure that they are safe and that they offer quality, affordable care.

With Blue Cross Blue Shield, it is safe to say that the majority of your costs will be covered for a number of inpatient services, outpatient services, and hospitalization. Again, be sure to speak with an associate about your specific health care plan.

 

Located just outside of Houston, Texas, More Than Rehab now accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance.

Not only are cheaper costs guaranteed, but so is the quality of the provider. Here at More Than Rehab, we accept Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and only provide the highest quality of care. If you are looking for an excellent facility who accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield, then we are here to help! It is our passion and desire to help restore an addicted person's way of life to a place where they no longer need to rely on drugs or alcohol in order to feel normal. We treat the underlying issues that led to the addiction to begin with. We understand that addiction is a complicated disease and we offer any level of care that is necessary. We know how hard of a struggle achieving sobriety can be. We have helped many who have walked that lonely road before and we have brought them to a place of happiness. We proudly help United States military and their family members. It is never too late to ask for help, everyone deserves a second chance at life.

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Find out if we can help you today!
Call us at (888) 249-2191
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Can I Get COVID-19 From Drug Use?

The coronavirus, also commonly known as COVID-19, has rapidly swept across the globe, ultimately causing worldwide economic shut downs in the hopes of flattening the curve to potentially save millions of lives that are at risk of death from this dangerous virus. The problem with COVID-19 is that the virus can last on surfaces for days and can survive in the air for a matter of hours, leading to high rates of infection. Not only does the coronavirus spread rapidly, but it can lie dormant in the host for up to two weeks without showing any signs or symptoms of infection. Long story short, the coronavirus is very dangerous and has the potential to kill a lot of our loved ones, regardless of where they are from.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic start?

The coronavirus is believed to have started in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei Province in the later part of 2019. It is thought to have jumped from another species (most likely bats) to another, infecting the first humans in the local surrounding area. Spreading like wildfire in China (as around 80,000 humans were infected), it slowly made its way around the globe, eventually reaching America and hitting places like New York and California very hard. All of this led to drastic measures being taken like closures of non-essential businesses and self-isolation or quarantine.

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The full medical name for COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2, meaning Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, and it is closely related to the virus responsible for the SARS outbreak in 2003. While a lot of research still needs to be conducted in order to fully understand how this deadly virus operates, researchers have discovered a wide array of important information, even in the short time period that it has been around. Primarily, coronavirus attacks the lungs. While the exact fatality rate is still unclear, it has a higher chance of death than the flu, and even a higher fatality rate in those with a co-occurring disorder such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), asthma and people with compromised immune systems, as they are unable to properly fight the virus off.

So, what does the coronavirus pandemic mean for people who use drugs and alcohol?

Well, for starters, unfortunately, people who use drugs or alcohol are usually in a higher risk category for a variety of physical and mental health issues. Additionally, they have a higher chance of contracting the virus for several different reasons, including things like high rates of homelessness and incarceration.

Not to mention, as we previously stated, Covid-19 attacks the lungs, this is said to worsen with certain patients who have some form of substance use disorder. For people with alcohol use disorder, or people who smoke any substance, including cigarettes, vapes, crystal meth, heroin or other opioids, are all at higher risk of mortality if they happen to contract this deadly virus. Especially, for those who smoke or vape, because these activities weaken the respiratory system at an alarming rate.

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Interestingly enough, alcohol sales have reported to spike, increasing over 55% following orders of quarantine, social-distancing and isolation. What people do not know is that this poses a serious risk, as alcohol consumption can greatly compromise the human immunoresponse system.

People who frequently abuse alcohol are also at a higher risk of infection and mortality because of their compromised immune systems, making people more vulnerable to respiratory diseases like the coronavirus. It is even more important to refrain from drinking this time if you are a person in the high-risk categories, generally meaning people over the age of 65, or those with other serious health conditions.

The dangers of smoking and vaping during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Although it may seem like people who use cigarettes or vape are not serious drug users, these substances still pose a serious danger to one’s health, especially during this time. Cigarettes have been known to cause things like cancer, diabetes and many other major health issues. Smoking causes serious impairment to lung function making it difficult to fight off deadly viruses like COVID-19. A recent study released by WHO (World Health Organization) found that smokers are more likely to develop serious complications when infected with the coronavirus. The same can be said for someone who uses vapes, or electronic cigarettes; they are inhaling dangerous chemicals that strongly affect the functionality of their lungs.

Heroin itself is a very dangerous and deadly drug. It is normally seen as black, sticky substance and commonly referred to as “black tar”. Heroin has been known to be highly addictive, and has recently risen in popularity. One of the main problems with heroin is the illegal manufacturing process, as it has been known to be “cut” with other substances, helping to increase the risk of overdose. People who use heroin are in a high-risk category for COVID-19 because of the pulmonary effects the drug has on the body. Heroin acts on the brain stem, slowing bodily systems down and decreasing oxygen supply to the blood supply as it slows a person's breathing. This can cause major complications, even more so when a person contracts the deadly coronavirus.

People who use methamphetamine are also at higher risk when it comes to Covid-19. Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is another very dangerous and addictive drug. Like heroin, it can be used in a number of different ways, such as being smoked, snorted, or injected. Aside from high rates of overdose and health issues, people with a history of methamphetamine use are at a higher risk of pulmonary damage and pulmonary disease. This is because meth restricts the blood flow causing hypertension.

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Alcohol and drug abuse greatly increases your chances of contracting COVID-19.

It is never too safe to be sorry, and all research suggests that excessive drug and alcohol use put you at a higher risk of contracting the virus. The added health complications of people who struggle with substance abuse, along with a lack of basic personal hygiene can increase the likelihood of fatality and develop the serious symptoms of Covid-19. If you, or a loved one, are suffering from an addiction then do not hesitate to ask for help. We are still offering a wide selection of treatment options to best suit your needs. Take control of your health and begin leading a better life today, you do not have to go through this alone!

(888) 249-2191