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Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug commonly referred to as meth. It is used by roughly 4% of the population of the U.S., with recent reports showing meth using rising in areas around the country.
- 2012- 440,000 people reported using meth
- 2014- 569,000 people reported using meth
That is a 29% increase in just two years!
- 2014- 3,700 overdose deaths were caused by meth
- 2015- 4,900 overdose deaths were caused by meth
- 2016- 7,700 overdose deaths were caused by meth
Recent statistics indicate that meth is one of the most commonly used drugs in America. This illicit chemical substance is a Schedule II drug, with an elevated potential for:
- Long-term health issues
Using this drug is not only illegal but extremely dangerous for both mental health and physical health. Meth addiction can lead to some very serious organ problems, and can even be fatal. The risks associated with meth addiction only get worse the longer that someone uses it. More damage is done to the organs and the risks of developing other health issues continued to increase.
Meth is a highly addictive drug, and meth addiction can be very difficult to overcome without safe medical detox, professional treatment, and continued support. Due to the risks of meth use, one should not wait to get help. But how do you know someone has a meth addiction?
Here are 11 signs and side effects of meth addiction to watch out for.
Xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth, is a well-known side-effect of meth addiction. The mouths own saliva contains antibacterial properties that naturally help to maintain oral hygiene. When someone has a chronic dry mouth, less saliva is produced, causing more exposure to bacteria. “Meth mouth” is when dry mouth from meth use causes thing like:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
Regular issues with oral hygiene such as these may be an indication of frequent meth use.
A common side effect of long-term meth addiction is experiencing hallucinations. This may not mean they are currently under the influence of the drug. Hallucinations are not only visual either. Some people who hallucinate due to meth use experience:
- Disturbing images or people who aren’t there
- Hear phantom sounds and voices
- Smell odors
- Fell phantom sensations
Sometimes the hallucinated sensations can lead to other side effects.
A side effect of meth use is severe itching, which can cause intense scratching that creates huge, red, open sores on the skin. The sores can happen even after the first use. Typically they show up on:
This is because the chemicals used to make meth can dry out the skin. But the itching and scratching fits can also be caused by hallucinations created by the chemicals in the drug. Some users will think there are bugs on, or even beneath their skin.
Meth addiction is frequently connected to aggressive behavior and even bursts of violence. Studies conducted among meth users have determined that:
- 56% of meth uses admit the drug causes them to commit violence
- 59% reported specific violent criminal behaviors, such as robbery and homicide
This powerful stimulant can exaggerate aggression. If you or a loved one exhibits uncharacteristically violent outbursts, it may be a sign of serious meth addiction.
A signature side effect of most stimulants is that they prominently influence the central nervous system, giving an individual an energy boost. Due to the heightened sense of alertness, meth addiction often causes sleep disturbances and insomnia.
Many meth users report to staying awake for several days or even weeks at a time. Eventually, they may experience an intense crash for two or three days between extended periods of intense stimulation.
As meth continues acting on the central nervous system, the stimulant typically makes someone feel more nervous or anxious on a constant basis.
- Evidence shows roughly 75% of meth users have experience anxiety disorders
Anxiety is one of the most commonly reported psychiatric symptoms of people addicted to meth.
Along with the effects of the stimulant on energy levels, meth also influences the part of the brain that controls rational thinking and emotional responses. Once this chemical acts on the brain, it can create an imbalance that causes paranoid thoughts to creep in. Other side-effects of meth can actually make it worse, including:
- Increased Aggression
These various factors can contribute to a growing sense of paranoia, which could be an indication of severe meth use.
Because of the effects of using meth on the brain, the stimulant also causes emotional imbalance. Some studies show:
- 48% of meth users struggle with depression
The imbalance in brain chemicals for altering and controlling a person’s mood can lead to other mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder.
Weakened Immune System
The use of meth has been connected to higher rates of inflammation and cell damage. These side effects cause many meth users to have weakened immune systems. This decreased immunity makes meth addicts more vulnerable to illnesses and diseases. Meth users suffer high rates and are at higher risk of illnesses like:
- Staph infection/MRSA
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
These are a few examples of why someone recovering some meth should seek professional medical treatment.
As mentioned, the potential damage caused by meth only gets worse the longer it is used. Extended meth addiction can damage blood vessels in the brain can cause fatal side effects, including:
Data has also shown meth can decrease gray matter in the brain, which increased the risk of memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease.
Methamphetamine is commonly cut with various chemicals that are very toxic to the body. These toxins put vital organs through a lot of stress, which can lead to organ failure. A very dire sign of meth addiction is organ failure, especially regarding:
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
Too much meth containing toxins that cannot be properly filtered or processed can cause organs to permanently shut down or cease to function, which can ultimately lead to death.
Meth Addiction Treatment
All the damage caused by meth and the chemicals combined with it should not be underestimated. This is why it is purposely suggested that those trying to recover from meth should seek out a safe medical detox in order to properly diagnose and treat related issues, and avoid further health complications. Look for a professional and personalized program that is right for you.
Beyond the physical harm, comprehensive addiction treatment should include cognitive behavioral therapy and other holistic and innovative treatment options. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, do not wait. Please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Have you ever felt high just by staring into someone’s eyes?
Well then you have probably been in love, at least once. Sounds like part of a sonnet or something, but maybe it’s more than a weakness for the hopeless romantic like myself. Maybe you really can catch a buzz off of someone else’s iris.
Apparently new experiments are claiming that staring intensely into a pair of eyes for a prolonged period of time can actually make people enter into an altered state of consciousness. LSD who?
Staring at Yourself
This isn’t the first time vision researcher Giovanni Caputo from the University of Urbino in Italy has studied the staring contest. In fact a few years ago he recruited 50 volunteers, asking each of them to gaze upon their reflections in a mirror for 10 minutes in a dimly lit room.
What is intriguing is that many of them attested to experiencing something trippy in less than 1 minute! Now that is a quick buzz.
Their faces began to warp and change, taking on the appearance of:
- Deceased family members
This is a phenomenon that has been dubbed the “strange-face illusion.”
Now it appears these bizarre effects can become even more dramatic when we stare into another person instead of a mirror.
Staring Contest Study
So how is it we can experience this crazy trip from looking at someone’s eyes? I mean some people are taught it’s respectful to look someone in the eye as a kid, so how is it all the sudden we can do that and hallucinate?
This time around Caputo recruited 40 young adults and sorted them into pairs:
- Each pair then sat in chairs in a dimly lit room
- Participants were positioned 3.3 feet (1 meter) apart
- Half of the pairs sat opposite one another, staring at each other’s neutral expressions
- Half of the pairs sat back-to-back, staring at the wall
Lighting in the room was set so participants could pick up fine facial features, but color perception was diminished. Just for extra measure the participants, were told the study involved a meditative experience. So they were not informed of the nature of the study to assure any effects were not the result of them trying to meet any expectation.
After 10 minutes, participants then filled in questionnaires about their experiences in the room.
According to the British Psychological Society those in the group that faced one another described some very intruiging effects compared to the control group, including:
- Higher levels of attenuated color intensity
- Noises seeming louder than they should
- Time seemed to slow down
- They felt spaced out
- Almost 90% of them said their partner’s face appeared deformed
- 75% saw monstrous beings
- 15% even saw traits of a relative’s face
Caputo says these descriptions indicate symptoms of dissociation, a term used to describe a departure from one’s connection with reality. Interestingly, he found that these symptoms correlated with facial deformity, but not the appearance of strange faces.
Caputo’s hypothesis was that “strange-face apparitions” could be a consequence of snapping back to “reality” after entering a dissociative state brought about by the lack of sensory stimulation.
So far what we know of a reaction called Troxler fading is that when staring at a central point for a prolonged period, features in the periphery begin to gradually disappear. However, this must be different because if this were happening then we would expect facial features to gradually vanish, not transform.
So far Caputo is the first to admit that his work is still in its infancy, and there is so much more about this amazing phenomenon that needs to be explored, but it would be interesting to find out what creates this crazy reaction.
Now you might not be able to try this at home, because the dimly lit room is expected to have something to do with it, but give it a shot. Be warned, you might never look at someone the same again. Side-effects may include scary-monster-face, or even catching a case of the feels. Good luck. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
Called “$5 Insanity” on the streets, Flakka – a relatively new designer drug that’s scourging the Florida landscape – is known as such because it’s cheap and it causes intense delusions, ergo ‘insanity.’ It’s these hallucinations that users seek out but that others are pointing to as cause for concern.
Flakka can also be snorted, injected, or eaten; however, vaporizing flakka, which is the most popular method among teens because it is difficult to detect – giving off no odor – might seem like the lesser of all the other evils when it comes to how people are using the drug. In fact, the opposite is true. Flakka is a controlled substance that runs the risk of causing death in its users and this is especially true when it is used via vaping, using an e-cig or vaporizer.
Your Brain on Drugs: Flakka
Flakka causes what can be described as excited delirium, which results from the drug’s ability to produce hyperstimulation and hallucinations in it users. However, paranoia is another major feature of the effects flakka has on its users. It is this paranoia that often leads to aggressive and violent behaviors and even self-injury.
Among those needing medical attention, common reactions include cardiac symptoms and psychiatric symptoms.
Flakka and Suicide and Death
The use of flakka has been contributed to some cases of suicide and heart attack, and its use can even result in death. Flakka, like other stimulants, raises the user’s body temperature to a dangerously high temperature – as much as 106 degrees, a condition known as hyperthermia. This condition can lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure, as well as other organ damage.
Flakka and Vaping
As disturbing as the drug is, going by recent incidents involving flakka, experts and law enforcement officials are particularly concerned about young people using their vapes to ingest the synthetic drug. Vaping allows Flakka to directly enter the bloodstream, which is an aspect that makes it particularly easy to overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Flakka: The New Bath Salt Drug
The main active ingredient in flakka, known as alpha-PVP, is so chemically similar to other synthetic, designer drugs, categorically known as bath salts. If you recall, bath salts led to 23,000 emergency room visits in one year nationwide, and 67% of those cases involved a combination of bath salts and other drugs.
An Associated Press (AP) article records the recent spike in the use of flakka since its 2003 initiation into the Florida drug scene and it’s astonishing. The Florida State Department of Law Enforcement crime labs say submissions for testing suspected Flakka drug seizures have grown from 38 submissions in 2013 to a staggering 228 by the following year.
Even more astonishing is the fact that flakka submissions grew from less than 200 in 2014 to 275 in just the first three months of this year, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Two recent stories you may have heard involving flakka may otherwise be a humorous situation but, in reality, are really quite sad. Both cases involved naked men who perceived that they were running for their lives. In one case, the man believed he was the mythical god Thor and was trying to have sex with a tree; the other case, involved a naked man running down a busy street believing himself pursued by a pack of German shepherds. Yet another disturbing story involving Flakka had one man, who, convinced people were chasing him, impaled himself on a fence.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, such as substance dependence or addiction, it’s never too late to reach out for help. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. We are available 24/7 to take your call. All calls are professional, confidential, and anonymous.
By Cheryl Steinberg
Drug abuse and mental illness often go hand-in-hand and evoke a “chicken-or-the-egg” discussion. That’s because 1. Many people who abuse drugs have a mental illness and turn to drugs as a way to self-medicate and/or 2. Abusing drugs has such a profound effect on the brain and its chemistry as to actually alter brain structure, causing what’s known as substance-induced mental illness. So, as you can imagine, diagnosing and treating people who either abuse drugs or have a mental illness, or have both conditions in what’s referred to as ‘dual diagnosis,’ meaning that they are co-occurring, becomes a difficult task.
What’s more, substance-induced disorders do not mean that co-occurring mental disorders aren’t already present; only that the specific symptoms develop at a specific point in time and therefore are more likely to be the result of substance use, abuse, intoxication, or withdrawal rather than of an underlying mental illness.It gets even more muddled and confused because someone might even have both an independent and a substance-induced mental illness.
For example, a person with a history of alcohol abuse might already have a well-established, pre-existing, and under-control bipolar disorder as well as an alcohol dependence that is currently in remission; however, this same person could be abusing amphetamines and, as a result, is experiencing drug-induced hallucinations and paranoia from a current amphetamine abuse disorder.
The following are 9 ways drug abuse looks exactly like mental illness:
Also called acute confusional state can be a direct result of substance withdrawal, especially from alcohol and benzodiazepines, such as Xanax as well as from being under the influence or intoxicated can cause delirium, which is also an independent mental illness, meaning that, for some people, exists without the use or abuse of drugs.
Signs and symptoms of delirium include temporary disturbance in consciousness, with reduced ability to focus attention and solve problems, disorganized thinking, poor memory, delusions, and mood swings.
#2. Persisting dementia
The symptoms of substance-induced persisting dementia are look a lot like those of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease, with the difference being the root cause: substance abuse. In general, the symptoms include memory impairment, personality changes, as well as impaired judgment and difficulties with use of language. These symptoms will vary from person to person but, they occur when a person is abusing alcohol or other drugs or when the person has an actual neurological disorder, such as Alzheimer’s.
#3. Persisting amnestic disorder
The amnestic (a term that refers to amnesia) disorders involve loss of memories, loss of the ability to create new memories, and/or loss of the ability to learn new information.
Amnestic disorders are caused by structural or chemical damage to parts of the brain, such as head trauma, tumors, or stroke. They can also be caused by substance abuse such as alcoholism, known as Korsakoff’s syndrome, or long-term heavy use of other drugs.
#4. Psychotic disorder
Psychotic disorders are severe mental disorders that are marked by abnormal thinking and perceptions that cause psychotic patients to lose touch with reality. Two main symptoms are delusions and hallucinations. Schizophrenia and even bipolar disorder are two examples of psychotic disorders. Other causes for psychosis involve alcohol abuse and abuse of some other drugs, brain tumors, brain infections, and stroke.
#5. Mood disorder
A mood disorder is different from situational depression or anxiety. It affects a person’s everyday emotional state. These include:
- Major depressive disorder
- Dysthymic disorder (a chronic, mild depression)
- Bipolar disorder (also called manic depression)
A mood disorder can be classified as substance-induced if its cause can be traced to the direct physiologic effects of a psychoactive drug, or if the development of the mood disorder occurred simultaneously with substance abuse or withdrawal. Also, someone may have a mood disorder coexisting with a substance abuse disorder. Substance-induced mood disorders can have features of a manic, hypomanic, mixed, or depressive episode.
#6. Anxiety disorder
Anxiety disorder refers to generalized anxiety that is not a result of circumstances (i.e. taking an exam) and gets worse over time. People with anxiety disorder may experience chest pains or nightmares and might even be afraid to leave their house. Types include:
And these can exist independently of or as a result of drug abuse and withdrawal.
#7. Hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder
This one is a disorder that is characterized by a continual presence of sensory disturbances, most commonly visual, that are similar to those caused by the use of hallucinogens. Previous use of hallucinogens by the person is necessary, but not sufficient, for diagnosis of HPPD. HPPD is different from “flashbacks” because it is relatively permanent and persistent; while flashbacks are transient.
#8. Sexual dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction is a problem that occurs during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the person from experiencing satisfaction from a sexual activity.
Physical and/or medical causes of sexual dysfunction include diabetes, heart and blood vessel disease, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, and chronic diseases such as kidney or liver failure. Some medications’ side effects, such as antidepressants can affect sexual function, too. Sexual dysfunction can also be a result of drug abuse and alcoholism.
There are psychological causes, too. These include work-related stress and anxiety, performance anxiety, relationship problems, depression, feelings of guilt, and past sexual trauma.
#9. Sleep disorder
Sleep disorders are medical disorders that involve the interruption of the sleep patterns. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, social and emotional functioning. These include insomnia, hypersomnia (daytime sleepiness), and narcolepsy among several others. There can be psychological, neurological, and behavioral – i.e. drug abuse – root causes for sleep disorders.
All of these are substance-induced mental disorders meaning that they are a direct result of the drug abuse, rather than a pre-existing mental condition. However, they can exist independently of a substance abuse disorder. Therefore, it’s clear that drug abuse looks exactly like mental illness. If you are experiencing mental illness as well as drug abuse and can’t figure out what to do next, we can help. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist. We’re here to help.
Detox Centers in New Castle
The first step within detox centers in New Castle is evaluation. Upon entering the drug detox, you will first be tested to see which specific substances are presently in your system. The clinicians at detox centers in New Castle also evaluate you for potential co-occurring disorders, also called dual diagnosis, such as mental or behavioral issues as well as other physical ailments.
The second step at detox centers in New Castle is known as stabilization. During this stage, you will be guided through the process of detoxification by staff and most likely with the use of certain medications. This is done so as to lessen the withdrawal symptoms and increase both your comfort and safety so that your detox goes as smoothly as possible. Another part of stabilization is learning what to expect during treatment and the recovery process.
Detox Centers in New Castle: Withdrawal Syndrome
Research shows that the main obstacle to quitting drugs and alcohol is the fear of the withdrawal symptoms. Not only can withdrawal be extremely uncomfortable, it can be potentially life-threatening. Detox centers in New Castle specialize in treating substance abuse and physical dependence so that you can begin to live your life without the crutch of drugs and alcohol.
Detox Centers in New Castle: Alcohol, Benzos, and Barbiturates
If you have been abusing alcohol, benzodiazepines (i.e. Xanax, Valium), or barbiturates then choosing among detox centers in New Castle is a necessity. This is because going cold turkey can be dangerous and even fatal. Withdrawal from alcohol, benzos, and barbiturates includes symptoms such as sweats, anxiety, hallucinations, tremor, seizure, coma, and cardiac arrest.
Detox Centers in New Castle: Opiates
The medical staff at detox centers in New Castle is well-versed in the treatment for opiate withdrawal and is also sympathetic to your condition. You will be given medication to alleviate your symptoms in a caring and nurturing environment. If you have been using painkillers, such as oxycodone (Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), methadone or other opiates such as heroin, kicking cold turkey can be quite impossible to do. The withdrawal symptoms are so severe and uncomfortable that people usually wind up going back to their drug of choice or using other drugs because they cannot endure it. Opiate withdrawal, also called dope sickness or being dope sick, is like an extreme flu but with insomnia and restlessness.
Detox Centers in New Castle: Amphetamine/Methamphetamine
Detox centers in New Castle are also equipped for treating withdrawal from amphetamines, such as cocaine, crack, and Adderall, and methamphetamine (crystal meth). Although the withdrawal from these substances is less physically impactful (you will experience extreme fatigue, the psychological withdrawal symptoms are difficult to cope with if you’re going it alone. Many people experience terrifying hallucinations and severe anxiety and depression. There’s no need to put yourself through that; at one of the detox centers in New Castle you will be treated with medication to ease these symptoms and then you can begin to heal.
If you or a loved one is looking for detox centers in New Castle NH please call toll free 1-800-951-6135