Xanax pills and packaging.

The Dangers of Xanax Dependence and Addiction

Most people who find themselves with a prescription from their doctor rarely think twice about the medication they’re ingesting. They don’t pause to think if the drug is highly addictive or dangerous to their health. After all,  it came from a physician, so how could it pose a risk? 

Take Xanax, for example. This is  one of the most commonly prescribed psychotropic medications in the United States, but there’s such a high risk for Xanax dependency and addiction.  

  • Xanax, or alprazolam, is a highly addictive and commonly prescribed drug, belonging to a class of narcotics called benzodiazepines. It’s a central nervous system depressant that’s typically prescribed to treat all forms of anxiety, including generalized social anxiety and panic disorder. 

However, using the drug long-term and taking high doses can hasten the onset of psychological and physical Xanax dependency, increasing the risk of experiencing serious and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax: Drug Abuse Facts and Stats

Some of the more concerning facts surrounding the use of Xanax include:

  • 125,000 people typically visit emergency rooms every year because of complications related to their Xanax dependency and addiction.
  • 55% of nonmedical users acquired prescription painkillers (including Xanax) for free from a friend or relative.
  • Xanax saw the second largest pharmaceutical increase in production in the US from 2004-2009, increasing 148%. Only oxycodone saw higher levels of production.
  • 49% of teens will take Xanax with at least one other drug, such as alcohol.
  • The number of Xanax prescriptions has risen from 29.9 million to 37.5 in the last five years alone.
  • The average person with a Xanax addiction will take between 20-30 pills every day.1

What is a Xanax Dependency?

Xanax dependency refers to a state in which your body becomes physically dependent on the substance. When this occurs, you find yourself  needing more and more Xanax to achieve the same high. 

In addition, you’ll l experience mental and physical effects, known as withdrawal symptoms, if you  stop taking Xanax. 

Over time, this adjustment to how the brain manages neurotransmitters will become normal and the brain will need the drug to manage its chemistry and allow you  to actually feel “normal” — although you’ll be far from a healthy state of being. 

This physical dependence will keep you hooked on the drug, forcing you to use more until you get the help you need or experience a serious physical complication.2

When Can a Xanax Dependency Turn into a Xanax Addiction?

Addiction is defined as a behavioral condition involving compulsive consumption of drugs or compulsive behaviors that release dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters. 

This includes: 

  • Continuing to abuse Xanax despite the physical risks
  • Feeling intense cravings for the substance
  • Having trouble finishing personal tasks 
  • Needing more of the drug to achieve the original intoxication3

Effects of Xanax from Long-Term Use

Long-term misuse of Xanax can lead to a number of serious health concerns, including seizures, tremors or heart issues. In addition, users regularly contend with:

  • Mental Health Issues

Xanax releases higher levels of dopamine into the brain, making you  feel pleasure. Over time, though, this excitement diminishes in the brain, causing you  to experience hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide.

  • Memory Problems 

Ingesting Xanax over an extended time period can lead to memory problems. Some reports suggest it can even increase the chances of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The longer your brain is on Xanax, the more it will adapt and continue to slow functioning throughout the mind and body.

  • Overdose and Death 

Xanax overdose happens when the brain and body can’t handle the toxicity produced by the amount of Xanax ingested. Factors that can contribute to an overdose include age, weight, other medical conditions, and whether Xanax is mixed with other substances, such as  alcohol. Unintentional overdose can even lead to death, with nearly 10,000 people dying from a Xanax overdose in 2019 alone.4

Some of the short-term concerns of Xanax use can include:

  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Slurred speech and poor coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Memory problems and confusion
  • Loss of libido
  • Heart palpitations and low blood pressure
  • Slowed reaction time and fainting

How to Treat Anxiety and a Xanax Addiction

When you’re finally ready to get the help you need to address your  Xanax addiction, we’ll be here to help. 

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we understand that each individual is unique and requires individualized care to address their specific symptoms.

A program specializing in dual diagnoses is an excellent form of treatment for Xanax addiction, because many people are taking the drug as a way of coping with their anxiety.

This clinical approach can help you e address any co-occurring issues you’re  experiencing, while developing lifelong techniques to improve your  quality of living and avoiding unforeseen relapse incidents.

Holistic Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

The self-perpetuating cycle you’re  caught up in doesn’t have to rule your  life forever. 

You can face your co-occurring hurdles head-on with professional help and individualized support at Ranch Creek Recovery. 

Learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment program, or contact us today to get your questions answered and learn more about our all-encompassing approach to co-occurring disorder treatment

 

CALL NOW: (877) 997-8931

 

Resources:

1WebMD. Evidence Shows Abuse of Xanax, Valium on the Rise. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20181227/evidence-shows-abuse-of-xanax-valium-on-the-rise.

2Medical News Today. Alprazolam side effects. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/alprazolam-oral-tablet#side-effects

3American Psychiatric Association. What Is a Substance Use Disorder? Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction.

4National Center for Biotechnology Information. Risk of Dementia in Long-Term Benzodiazepine Users: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6325366/

Close up of someone holding a bag of drugs

Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms

Trying to manage an addiction to fentanyl can make your loved one feel like they’re adrift at sea. The sheer physical compulsions associated with an addiction of this nature are completely debilitating and can impact their physical well-being, mental health and social connectivity on every level.

Additionally, a fentanyl addiction can drive an individual into solitude to keep their addiction going, while trying to hide the shame they feel for the way their fentanyl use has overrun their existence.

As a loved one to an individual who might be contending with a fentanyl use disorder, it’s vital to understand that you – and other supportive friends and family who can provide help and guidance – are a critically important component to helping your loved one overcome a disease of this nature.

While it may be difficult, finding ways to initiate a conversation about their addiction can prove to be a potentially lifesaving interaction.

What Are the Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction?

Some of the more common symptoms associated with a fentanyl addiction can include:

  • Nodding Off

For many individuals, using fentanyl causes them to enter a trance-like state known as nodding off. When someone is abusing fentanyl, they may appear alert one second and then go in and out of consciousness as the drug takes over their system.

This type of reaction can happen anywhere after your loved one uses, including when they’re sitting up at the dinner table or even while standing.

  • Drastic Weight Loss

Fentanyl addiction can suppress your loved one’s appetite, leading to extreme weight fluctuations due to the impact of their drug use. If you notice that your loved one has lost a considerable amount of weight without any valid reason, take notice. This is a definite red flag that there’s something unhealthy going on and it needs to be addressed.

  • Significant Shifts in Personality

A fentanyl addiction can dramatically change how your loved one behaves. For example, if they’re normally easygoing and friendly, they can become irritable and short-tempered while under the influence of fentanyl.

If your loved one begins acting extremely agitated and erratic, unable to sit still or manage their responses, there is a good chance something negative is going on to cause this behavior and should be discussed.

While these are some of the most common signs that your loved one may be struggling with a fentanyl addiction, some other red flags can include:

  • Poor work performance
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decreased interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Socializing with new friends that may seem questionable
  • Mood swings and trouble managing emotions
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Financial problems
  • Engaging in secretive behaviors
  • Unexpected legal troubles

How to Identify Fentanyl Abuse Symptoms

Every person is unique, making their addictive behavioral patterns specific to them and their circumstances. However, there are a few key indicators that can help you identify if your loved one is struggling with a fentanyl addiction. These include:

  • Obvious Behavioral Changes

Your loved one’s addiction will impact every area of their life. They will seek out fentanyl and use it even though their substance use negatively impacts their health, personal relationships and daily functioning.

The behavioral changes that result from their addiction are often the first signs that their addiction is growing out of control and can include frequent arguments, engaging in risky behaviors and neglecting personal hygiene.

  • Physical Signs of Drug Use

Fentanyl addiction can have devastating effects on your loved one’s physical health. Being able to identify the physical impact of their substance use is essential for you to address their addiction and begin working with them to enter into a safe clinical setting.

It’s common for your loved one to show certain physical signs that may include insomnia, nausea, trembling hands, dilated pupils and track marks (if they use intravenously).

  • Drug Paraphernalia

While you don’t want to invade your loved one’s personal space, you can look for paraphernalia in shared living spaces. If uncertain whether or not to search the individual’s personal space, consult with a therapist or addiction professional beforehand.

Some telltale signs of fentanyl use may include pipes for smoking the substance, spoons to heat their drug mixtures before injection, needles for intravenous use, and drug residue from prior ingestion.

In the case of fentanyl, it’s imperative that you don’t touch anything that may have had the drug on it. Why? Because in its powdered form, one milligram – or a grain about the size of a single piece of sea salt – is enough to cause an overdose if it contacts your skin.

Is Your Loved One Displaying Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms? There Is Real, Life-Changing Help

When dealing with a fentanyl use disorder, there truly is no time to waste in addressing the addiction.

If you believe your loved one is living with an addiction to fentanyl, there are qualified treatment facilities that can address their disease in a safe and clinically sound environment.

The best place to start is with a simple conversation, discussing the obvious dangers of fentanyl use with them and the positive impact that residential treatment can have on their life.

This can be the encouragement they need to finally overcome their substance addiction and begin their journey back to health and prosperity.

Holistic Opioid Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

If you have a loved one in the grips of an opioid addiction, there is help.

It is our firm belief at Ranch Creek Recovery that your loved one can recover from their disease and rebuild an abstinent, productive life.

We address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head-on through our non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs. Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with your loved one to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help them feel confident and ready to enter their new, sober life.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including our opioid detox and rehab program.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

A man sits at a bar and drinks alone

How Addictive Is Alcohol?

Trying to figure out how addictive a certain substance is can be difficult to quantify. After all, every person is uniquely different with very specific biological tendencies and personal habits.

While the constructs of addiction can be described, the actual addictive elements of a substance — like alcohol — can vary widely from person to person.

That being said, during the early stages of drinking for every individual, the brain begins releasing more dopamine — which is the chemical linked with pleasure.

Dopamine can cause a person to feel euphoric, making them increasingly relaxed and confident. This boost in mood can drive a person to consume alcohol on a more consistent basis in an attempt to chase that intoxicating high.

This brain alteration and emotional stimulation are key reasons why some individuals become addicted to a substance like alcohol, finding themselves needing it all the time to feel that same sense of false euphoria.

Is Drinking Alcohol Addictive?

The short answer is yes, drinking alcohol can become addictive to some individuals.

From biological tendencies to social influences, the reasons behind a person becoming addicted to alcohol may differ, but the percentage of people struggling with alcohol addiction keeps expanding day by day.

The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics indicated 140 million Americans over age 12 reportedly drink alcohol, with 11% of them (about 15 million) meeting the definition of having an alcohol use disorder. (1) 

  • If you have a response to alcohol that’s noticeably different from other people’s, it may be time to reexamine your relationship with drinking.
  • If you find yourself drinking other people under the table, or you see your friends leaving alcohol in their glasses and you know you could never do that yourself, those are signals you’ve got a genetic setup for developing an addiction.

How Addictive Is Alcohol?

To better understand this question, there are two well-known perspectives that look at the influencing factors of alcohol addiction:

  • One perspective views an alcohol use disorder as a disease of the brain, while the other perceives alcohol addiction as a learned behavior from reinforcing properties, like social indoctrination (constant beer commercials, alcohol available at every corner store, etc.), and social normalization (watching parents drink, friends drink, etc.).

The disease theory better explains why some people get addicted while others do not because it views an alcohol use disorder as a randomly occurring event that is exacerbated or triggered by biological influences and genetic predispositions.

You see, consuming alcohol essentially tricks the brain into sending abnormal messages that create a false reaction and make a person feel a false sense of pleasure associated with their alcohol consumption.

This response creates a counterfeit neurological pattern, which essentially teaches the brain to repeat the behavior of drinking alcohol to try to keep acquiring the sense of euphoria it created in the past.

A healthy brain rewards healthy behaviors — like exercising, eating well, or bonding with loved ones. It does this by activating brain circuits that make you feel pleasure, which then motivates you to repeat those behaviors.

But when you’ve become addicted to alcohol, that normal brain functionality can begin to work against you. That’s because alcohol can hijack the reward circuits in your brain and hook you into wanting more and more.

In addition, repeated use of alcohol can damage the essential decision-making center at the front of your brain.

This area, known as the prefrontal cortex, is the very region that should help you recognize the harms of using addictive substances but is fundamentally damaged by your substance use, making your addiction harder and harder to overcome.

Is Alcohol Addicting for You? Do You Want to Get Sober? Here’s Where to Start:

When it comes to addressing your alcohol use disorder in a safe and sustainable way, finding a qualified treatment facility is the most appropriate place to begin your recovery journey.

That’s because the clinical staff members at a professional treatment center have been trained to diagnose your substance use disorder while also aiding in the creation of an individualized treatment plan and therapeutic interventions.

Dealing with a disease and handling your sickness in a safe and qualified clinical setting is imperative. It ensures you properly address the symptoms of your addiction while learning long-term solutions for overcoming it and achieving a happier and healthier version of yourself.

Holistic, Life-Changing Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Overcoming an alcohol addiction is no simple task, but with the right treatment facility and clinical staff, all things are possible.

Regardless of where your alcohol addiction has landed you, you can stop your addiction and get your entire life back on track.

Don’t let alcohol claim your life or hurt those you love the most any longer. There is life-changing support and a sober future ahead of you.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, your precise recovery needs are our main priority; your successful recovery and sober reentry into society are the goals of our mission.

At our non-12 step rehab and holistic recovery center, our alcohol treatment program delivers all-encompassing methodologies of medical and physical treatment, psychology, holistic and experiential therapies, and preparation to forge the drug-free future you desire.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today!

 

Resources:

1) National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. Drug Abuse Statistics. Accessed April 12, 2021. https://drugabusestatistics.org/.

Depression and Substance Abuse

Ways to Avoid Substance Abuse Because of Your Depression

Regardless of what you’ve heard, depression is more than just feeling sad or down.

Most individuals who struggle with depression experience their symptoms in different ways. Depression can interfere with your work responsibilities and other areas of life — causing you to lose time and fail to meet your daily obligations.

Depression can impact your relationships and even take a toll on your overall health.

This mood disorder may be described as feeling sad or lost, but the weight of depression is so much deeper. Why? Because depression isn’t just a simple condition with a known cause.

Some individuals are more susceptible to severe feelings of depression than others.

For individuals already struggling with addiction, depression can be a constant trigger that drives them to abuse substances and fall deeper into the depressive state they’re trying so hard to get out of.

How Does Depression Cause Substance Abuse?

Depression and substance use tend to go hand in hand. When compared with the general population, individuals who struggle with addiction are roughly twice as likely to have a mood disorder — like depression — according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. (1)

This link between depression and addiction is rooted in the idea that if you’re struggling with depression, you may drink or abuse drugs to lift your mood or escape from feelings of guilt or hopelessness.

Here’s the problem: Substances like alcohol, which is a depressant, can significantly increase your feelings of sadness or fatigue.

In addition, you can experience depressive symptoms after the effects of your substance use wear off or as you struggle to cope with how your addiction has impacted your life.

  • This is why so many individuals dealing with a depressive disorder start self-medicating to mute their emotions and avoid the realities of life.

Depression and Substance Use by the Numbers

Some of the more significant stats regarding depression and substance addiction include:

  • Up to one-third of clinically depressed people engage in drug or alcohol abuse.
  • In a nationwide study of 43,093 adults 18 years and older, researchers found that for those suffering from a current alcohol addiction, there was evidence that over 20% of them also met the criteria for that of a comorbid major depressive disorder.
  • Survey respondents in search of treatment for an alcohol use disorder were over 40% more likely than the general population to have at least one mood disorder.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse can worsen the course of a depressive disorder by aggravating the symptoms of depression, increasing the likelihood of hospitalization, and interfering with the course of treatment.
  • Data shows that a person who suffers from only depression or addiction is often more susceptible to the other condition by default. Depression increases the risk for addiction, and addiction increases the risk for depression.
  • Approximately 15 million Americans experience depression annually, and 33% of these people will attempt to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.(1)

How to Avoid Turning to Drugs or Alcohol to Manage Your Depression Symptoms

While the onset of depression can be hard to pinpoint, being prepared to handle the symptoms when they rear their ugly head is achievable. The key is to proactively address issues before they actually become a problem.

This can be accomplished by incorporating simple techniques into your daily routine that help you manage your emotions and provide healthy outlets to handle the problems you’re facing or may face in the future.

  • Consistent Physical Activity
    Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do to manage your mental health and avoid self-medicating.
    Physical activity can help in the treatment and prevention of depression by increasing your oxygen intake and releasing endorphins, which help calm your depressive symptoms.
  • Building a Strong Sober Network
    Having a strong sober support network and an active social life are important for positive mental health and personal encouragement.
  • Research has shown that having consistent positive social connectivity can help protect against depression and keep you from relapsing if your depressive symptoms flare up.
  • Address Your Stress Proactively
    Persistent feelings of stress are one of the most common causes of depression. They tend to make a person physically overwhelmed and more susceptible to substance use. Learning how to manage and cope with your stress is essential for developing a healthy emotional perspective and managing the temptation to use.

Why Does Depression Cause Drug Use? A Co-Occurring Disorder May Be at Play 

A co-occurring disorder is when an individual struggles with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder at the same time.

In the case of depression and substance addiction, the correlation between the two disorders is common and hard to ignore.

That’s why it’s so important to contact a treatment facility that’s clinically experienced in dealing with co-occurring disorders to address every symptom you’re struggling with.

This will allow you to get to the root of your problem; begin healing your mind, body and soul; and move toward a level of homeostasis that helps you get and stay sober.

Life-Changing Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Dealing with co-occurring disorders in any form is an extremely difficult task, but there is proven, life-changing help for you. You can achieve mental stability; quit your addiction; and learn vital, effective skills to avoid a relapse.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we take a holistic, non-12-step approach to drug and alcohol rehab and mental health disorders. The trauma you experienced and the addiction that may have entered your life have deeply affected your mind, body and spirit. Because of this, these vital pieces of your being must be given the support and nurturing they need to fully heal. We work with every aspect of you to ensure complete care and healing.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including what we offer and what we treat.

Contact us today to get your questions answered.

 

Resources:

1) National Center for Biotechnology Information. Major depression and comorbid substance use disorders. Accessed April 24, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18281835/

A drug addict closing a bag of meth.

How Meth Affects the Immune System

It is no great surprise that methamphetamine is bad for your health. Multiple studies have shown that the drug attacks the body in a number of ways: from destroying organ performance to eroding dental hygiene to deteriorating neurological functioning, meth assaults the human body in a variety of extremely effective manners.

But even with all of this existing knowledge, it appears that recent studies have indicated yet another way in which meth is detrimental to those abusing the substance. There is mounting evidence that methamphetamine increases a person’s susceptibility to infection by crippling immune system functioning and facilitating disease transmission. While the physical dangers of meth have been shown for decades, understanding how the drug negatively impacts the immune system is newer to researchers, but quickly proving to be just as detrimental as all previous knowledge concerning the illicit substance.1

So what does meth use do to the immune system? Before we get into those specifics, it’s important to understand some of the general effects methamphetamine can have on an individual, both short-term and long-term.

The Negative Effects of Meth

Habitual meth use has a wide variety of negative effects on the human body. This is due to the drug’s ability to destroy human tissue and blood vessels, completely inhibiting the body’s ability to naturally repair itself. In the short-term, this results in:

  • Erratic sleep patterns and extreme bouts of insomnia
  • Complete loss of appetite resulting in severe nutrition deficiencies
  • Bizarre and sometimes violent behaviors
  • Hallucinations, excessive amounts of panic, and potential psychosis
  • Seizures and even death from overdose

While these typical symptoms associated with the use of meth can seem terrifying to most, to a meth addict, they quickly become a normal part of their daily lives. And although the short-term effects are so obviously destructive, the long-term effects carry even more impactful and alarming consequences.

They include:

  • Liver, kidney and lung damage
  • Permanent damage to blood vessels within the heart and brain
  • High blood pressure leading to heart attacks, stroke and death
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Psychological dependence on the substance
  • Damage to the brain, similar to Alzheimer’s disease 2

Meth and the Immune System

With the recent resurgence of meth use around the country, researchers have begun to focus on the effects methamphetamine has on the immune system and how habitual use dramatically effects the body’s ability to fend off disease causing bacteria and viruses.

In particular, recent studies have shown methamphetamine to suppress killer T-cells, a type of white blood cell that fights off pathogens. This negative impact on T-cell memory population and T-cell activation has the ability to leave a meth addict unable to initiate a sufficient immune response to a number of infectious diseases.

Additionally, meth’s ability to dry out mucosal membranes and cause abrasions in the mouth and rectum might increase an addict’s vulnerability to debilitating infections without the ability to naturally fend off the experienced illness.

This is directly related to a meth addict’s increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases and blood borne pathogens due to their addictive behaviors and drug administration routes.3

Skin Infections from Meth Use

In addition to the identified physical toll that meth use can have on various organs, teeth and immune system, habitual meth use can also deteriorate an addict’s skin and overall complexion. This is due in part to the toxic chemical compounds found in the substance as well as the compulsive behaviors habitual use induces in an addict.

Both short-term and long-term meth use can lead an individual to pick at their skin due to experienced compulsions often associated with delusions, psychosis, and even the feeling that bugs are crawling under the skin.

This picking and scratching can lead to infected wounds and sores, exacerbated by both the addiction and physical deterioration caused by the substance. Factor in decreased skin elasticity and excessive acne associated with meth addiction and an addict can fully expect to experience unhealthy skin texture and a deteriorating overall complexion.

The fact of the matter is that meth use has an extensive history of negative effects on the human body and an even longer saga of destroying the lives of those habitually using the toxic substance. Whether a person is casually abusing the drug or experiencing a full-blown addiction, the consequences associated with meth use can destroy them both mentally and physically.

Life-Changing, Holistic Meth Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Undoing the damage of meth addiction can be messy, extremely uncomfortable and some of the hardest work you do in your life. But, in order to have a life worth living, your addiction must end.

Your mind and body need significant attention and care during meth addiction treatment.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, your successful recovery and sober re-entry into society is our utmost mission.

At our holistic recovery center, our meth treatment program delivers all-encompassing methodologies of medical and physical treatment, psychology, holistic and experiential therapies, and preparation to forge the drug free future you desire.

Learn more about our meth addiction treatment program to start your journey toward detox and recovery.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

Resources:

1 The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Impact of methamphetamine on infection and immunity. Accessed December 3, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290678/.

2 PBS Frontline. How Meth Destroys the Body. Accessed December 3, 2018. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/body/.

3 PLOS ONE. Methamphetamine Administration Targets Multiple Immune Subsets and Induces Phenotypic Alterations Suggestive of Immunosuppression. Accessed December 3, 2018. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0049897.

A businessman sits on the curb with his head and arms resting on his knees.

How Do I Know If My Loved One is Addicted to Meth?

The act of Googling, “What are meth addiction signs?” probably has you feeling sick to your stomach, sending an all-consuming wave of nausea through your body.

The disease of addiction is a cold-hearted monster that destroys goals and dreams, tears apart families, and fundamentally changes the physical and chemical makeup of an addict’s mind and body.

Meth – one of the most volatile illicit drugs on the black market – is a cataclysm in and of itself. When a loved one begins to behave and look differently, and your mind worries drugs are to blame, the time is now to get to the bottom of what’s really going on.

Helping a meth addict starts by understanding the signs and symptoms of meth addiction and knowing where to turn to get your loved one the life-changing and life-saving help they need.

What is Meth Addiction?

When an individual becomes addicted to methamphetamine, their entire life is seemingly flipped on its head. Meth – also known as crystal, ice, glass, or crank – chemically alters the brain’s processes and fundamentally seizes control over every action, mood and behavior.

Meth addicts typically begin to neglect personal, familial and professional responsibilities, as they begin to spend most of their time obsessing over the substance and working hard to keep an optimal supply.

  • Individuals who are addicted to meth will more than likely find themselves in financial, health or legal troubles because of their addiction.
  • Individuals who are addicted to meth will develop a chemical dependency that inhibits them from ending all meth use on their own.
  • Individuals who are addicted to meth tend to act irresponsibly and do whatever it takes to get their next fix.
  • Individuals who are addicted to meth can make loved ones feel as if everything is alright by denying they have a problem or downplaying the extent of their substance use.

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction

It’s important to note that meth affects every individual in different ways. For the most part, however, the following meth addiction signs and symptoms will help you make sense of your loved one’s physical, mental and behavioral states.

Early detection of any drug use, abuse, or addiction plays a vital role in stopping the damage before it inflicts real impairment on your loved one’s mind and body, or, worse, claims their life altogether.

Meth Addiction Signs: Paraphernalia Used by Meth Addicts

Meth is made from all kinds of deadly chemicals, with the most popular being from fertilizer, batteries, and engine starter fluid. Meth can be smoked, injected or snorted and is most commonly known as a “cheap party drug.”

For consumption, several tools are used among meth users. It’s common for users and addicts to hide their equipment and thoroughly clean up after themselves to hide any evidence of their substance problem.

If you find any of the following tools or equipment, it’s time to talk with your loved one about their meth (or other drug) use:

  • Cut straws and empty ink pens – These tools are used to snort or smoke meth.
  • Tin foil and aluminum cans – These tools are used to smoke meth. Take special note if you find blackened tin foil and pin-sized holes in aluminum cans.
  • Glass and home-made pipes – These tools are used to smoke meth. Look for long, glass cylinders with bulbous ends. A used meth pipe will have black burn marks on the underside of the end. Additionally, once smoked, meth will leave a waxy, yellowish residue in the pipe.
  • Needles and syringes – These tools are used to inject meth. *This method of consumption has the highest risk of overdose and contracting HIV or hepatitis if needles are shared.
  • Small sandwich bags with residue – These are used to store meth. Meth residue will look like a crystalline powder with an off-white or light brown coloring, or it may appear as chunky pieces of clear, broken glass.

Physical, Mental & Behavioral Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Meth promises a high unlike any other, but what addicts truly get from meth use is a dependent mind and body that is crumbling from the inside-out and the outside-in.

Here are the most prominent symptoms of meth addiction:

Physical & Mental Meth Addiction Signs

• Dilated pupils
• Increased breathing rate
• Chest pain
• Flushed or itchy skin
• Changes in physical appearance
• Unhealthy & drastic weight loss
• Rapidly aged physical appearance
• Loss of teeth
• Severe tooth decay and gum disease
• Damage to blood vessels
• Irregular heartbeat

Long-term use can lead to:

• Lung disease
• Brain disease
• Heart attacks
• Heart disease
• Strokes
• Coma
• Death

Behavioral Meth Addiction Signs

• Confusion
• Anxiety
• Insomnia
• Picking at skin or hair
• Rapid eye movement
• Decreased appetite
• Anger and aggression
• Hyperactivity
• Overly talkative
• Increased distractibility
• Grandiose behavior
• Twitching
• Loss of consciousness
• Hallucinations and paranoia
• Depression and suicide attempts

What to Do When Your Loved One is Addicted to Meth

An addiction develops from continued meth use at increasingly higher doses. This builds an individual’s tolerance level and, in turn, gives rise to dependency.

Because of the severity and dangers associated with the detox and withdrawal process, meth addiction treatment should always come from medical and addiction experts in a well-established and clinically sound rehab facility.

But helping an addict is never as easy as signing them up for treatment and meeting them at the end when they are sober. Unfortunately, it’s much harder and more painful than that – for the addict and loved one.

The hard part about being a support person in the addiction process is your loved one must acknowledge their addiction and want to get help before any rehab process can start.

Helping an addict starts with a calm, well-composed conversation about their drug use and your continued support for them. Always remember that with the right support, there is hope and your loved one can return to the clean, thriving individual they were before meth entered their life.

Life-Changing, Holistic Meth Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

As your loved one’s biggest advocate, we understand how crucial it is for you to help your loved one get clean and stay sober. If they are ready to get help, or you are seeking insights from addiction recovery experts, Ranch Creek Recovery can help.

We go beyond the normal twelve-step program and focus on tailor-fitting each treatment program to address each patient’s unique needs. It’s about individualization and holistic treatment at Ranch Creek, and your loved one can discover a new beginning here.

Learn more about our meth addiction treatment program.

Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us today.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607

Examining the Impacts of Opiates on the Brain

Opiates are extremely addictive substances that can have a lasting impact on your brain chemistry. This video from HBO can help you achieve a better understanding of how opiates affect the brain.

The video starts with an explanation of how opiates change your brain’s natural chemistry. Though opiates are powerful pain relievers, those who take prescription opiates can become addicted and eventually experience the numerous physical and emotional effects that come with opiate abuse.

http://www.youtube.com/v/mb9GNwhWOOk?hl=en&fs=1

Ranch Creek Recovery can help your loved one on the path to a full recovery from opiate abuse. Contact us at (951) 795-4326 if you notice the symptoms of opiate addiction in a friend or family member. Professional addiction treatment is just a phone call away.