Young woman vaping.

Can Vaping Lead to a Drug or Alcohol Addiction?

E-cigarettes, or vaping devices, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. From traditional cigarette shapes and cigars to everyday  objects like pens and USB memory sticks, the e-cig has evolved significantly over the past decade. 

Over that same time frame, existing evidence showing the safety of these cigarette alternatives also evolved — and not for the better. 

  • One recent study found that the two primary ingredients in e-cigarettes — propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin — are toxic to your cells, and that the more ingredients in an e-liquid, the greater the toxicity. 

That’s why it’s imperative to  understand what you’re  ingesting when you  decide to vape and how it can potentially impact your  addiction and overall health. 

That fact remains that the growing evidence of potential health risks and lung injuries related to e-cigarette use has led researchers to question whether e-cigarettes are really a safer smoking alternative and how, exactly, vaping can impact an individual’s existing substance use disorder.1

Vaping E-Cigarettes (E-Cigs): What You Need to Know

While smoking cigarettes has decreased over the past decade, e-cigarette use has increased at a rapid pace. Understanding the actual dangers of vaping and how it can directly impact physical health is essential information. Some concerning evidence regarding e-cigarettes include: 

  • In relation to current events, a recent study found people who smoke e-cigarettes are five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those who don’t use tobacco products.2
  • As of February 18, 2020, a total of 2,807 people were hospitalized in the U.S. with lung injuries associated with their vaping usage, with 68 cases resulting in deaths.3
  • A 2016 report found that 44% of young adults who regularly vape were never smokers before trying e-cigarettes.
  • Nicotine in e-cigarettes can disrupt important brain development in teens and young adults.4

How Similar Is  Vaping to Smoking Cigarettes?

E-cigarettes, like actual cigarettes, deliver highly addictive nicotine, which has been shown to harm the developing brains of teens and fetuses in women who vape while pregnant. While people may think vaping is a safer alternative, some types of e-cigarettes actually expose users to even more nicotine than traditional cigarettes. However, the biggest threat that vaping poses to public health is that vaping is re-normalizing smoking, which has declined for years. 

While smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death, the increased nicotine levels in e-cigarettes — and relative ignorance regarding their actual dangers — is making them a growing threat to people of all ages. 

Vaping and Substance Use & Abuse: Is There a Connection? 

While the viable health concerns associated with vaping have been identified throughout this article, regularly smoking e-cigarettes has been associated with a higher rate of substance abuse as well. Recent studies have shown a definite connection between the use of e-cigarettes and the use of other addictive substances. like alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and even prescription medications.5 

Other research has shown that vaping works to prime your brain for drug addiction by activating the same reward signals. Additionally, while marijuana is often smoked through vape pens, many other drugs can be consumed through vaporizing as well. Substances like crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin can easily be mixed with water and heated up before being smoked. 

For many people struggling with addiction, this knowledgement makes vaporizers an easy distribution method for their continued addiction. That’s why teens and adults across the U.S. are actually using vaporizers to inhale drugs, often with none of the visible drug paraphernalia or smell that would traditionally alert their friends or family to their drug use.6

What You Can Do If You’re Vaping and Also Contending  with a Drug Addiction 

It’s true that you  may have begun using e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking or manage your  addictive impulses. However, given the known dangers associated with nicotine in general, combined with the additional health risks of vaping, quitting this unhealthy habit before it inflicts serious damage or impacts your substance use disorder is important. 

Although smoking e-cigarettes isn’t  a direct indicator of relapse, these following signs may be indicative of a deeper concern during your  recovery journey:

  • Isolating yourself from sober supports
  • Becoming irritable and reactive
  • Becoming increasingly  dishonesty and deception 
  • Shifting back into unhelpful social connections
  • Feeling increasingly apathetic 
  • Falling out of healthy habits 
  • Having increased  suicidal thoughts 

If you find yourself worrying about your sobriety, it can help to reach out to a clinical professional to discuss your concerns as well as the options available to help you get your  recovery back on track. 

Life-Changing, Holistic Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery 

Do you  vape? Do you worry you may be using or abusing other substances, too?

We understand how crucial it is for you to get clean and stay healthy. If you’re e ready to get help, or you’re seeking insights from addiction recovery experts, Ranch Creek Recovery can help.

We go beyond the normal 12-step program and focus on tailor-fitting each treatment program to address each client’s  unique needs. It’s about individualization and holistic treatment at Ranch Creek, and you  can discover a new beginning here.

Learn more about our addiction treatment programs. 

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

 

CALL NOW: (877) 997-8931

 

Resources:

1NIH News in Health. The Risks of Vaping. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2020/05/risks-vaping.

2Consumer Safety. JUUL Addiction Has Serious Health Risks. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://www.consumersafety.org/product-lawsuits/e-cigarette/addiction/.

3American Lung Association. E-cigarette or Vaping Use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI). Accessed July 11, 2021. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/evali.

4PubMed. Nicotine control: E-cigarettes, smoking and addiction. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22365155/

5Wiley Online Library. E-cigarette use of young adults motivations and associations with combustible cigarette alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ajad.12530.

6Science Direct. E-cigarettes — An unintended illicit drug delivery system. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871618305325

An older man sits at a table by a window binge drinking beer

A Look at Substance Abuse in Older Adults

It’s common for people to think that substance abuse only impacts younger individuals and working professionals. However, the fact of the matter is older adults also struggle with addiction. From the pressures of getting older to the responsibilities typically associated with advanced age, seniors can easily find themselves self-medicating to manage stress in their lives.
It’s crucial to understand the way addiction impacts older adults and how you can provide support and encouragement toward their recovery. This is an essential first step to helping them overcome their addiction and avoid serious physical complications as they age.

Substance Abuse in Seniors

According to a recent survey published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 40 percent of the American population aged 65 and older drinks alcohol. Additionally, 17 percent of American adults over the age of 65 have a diagnosable alcohol use problem, but may never seek the help they need.

While alcohol is a widespread issue among seniors, prescription pills have become a significant danger among the populations, as well. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that 21-29 percent of people who were prescribed opioids for chronic pain misused them, and, on average, 130 Americans overdosed from these drugs each day.

While opioid addiction is an issue that crosses generations, older adults are considered to be at significantly higher risk for misuse. This is because the signs of opioid dependency can be incorrectly identified as signs of “old age”. This is why it is so vital for family members and friends to stay tuned into potential changes in behavior and mental activity when a senior is taking prescribed painkillers.

Why Seniors Struggle with Addiction

Studies have indicated that emergency departments within the United States saw a 78 percent increase in the number of visits among older adults misusing prescription or illicit substances between 2006 and 2012. Over 10 percent of that identified misuse included opioid drugs, which further indicates the extent to which seniors are using and abusing dangerous narcotics.

Additional studies used a nationally representative sample with data from more than 71,000 cases involving older adults, with 53 percent aged between 65 and 74. The results indicated that nearly half of the visits occurred among people ages 75 and older. Yet, for some unidentified reason, older adults and seniors are often ignored in the broader discussion about addiction.

According to the AARP, an increasing number of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 were shown to have abused painkillers, including opioids. The potential for prescription drug abuse remains high for seniors, since seniors use more prescription drugs than any other group. Also, the effects of painkillers grow more dangerous with the age of the user.

The use of opioids and other painkillers increases the risk of specific injuries, including:
• Delirium
• Falling
• Fractures
• Pneumonia

This scenario of increased risk among seniors is the same for stimulants and sedatives. Their collective access to these types of prescription medications increases the potential for abuse, even when that abuse begins innocently, but gradually progresses to a state of necessity.
Addiction in the senior community can be caused by health issues, life-changing events, or even traumatic experiences. Some examples include:

• Experiencing the death of a loved one
• Entering into retirement
• Significant loss of income
• Empty nest syndrome
• Being placed into a nursing home
• A decline in physical or mental health
• Physical pain causing the need for prescription medications

The reality of life is that seniors tend to suffer from more health concerns than younger individuals. It is not uncommon for elderly people to suffer from medical conditions that cause pain and require medicinal interventions.

Point being: Your aging loved one may be more likely to be prescribed addictive drugs, like prescription opioids.

Addiction in Older Adults: Your Loved One Can Get the Help They Need

Making the decision to address a substance use disorder is imperative to overcoming the disease and re-establishing a sense of health and happiness. For an aging loved one, it is even more important to seek appropriate clinical treatment for addictive behaviors due to the damage and devastation that a longstanding substance use disorder can have on both the physical health and mental wellbeing.

Finding a treatment facility that can help them address their addiction in a safe and secure setting is crucial to their recovery. This not only enhances the potential to repair the damage their addiction has inflicted on their personal health, but it also increases the likelihood that they will be able to enjoy every possible moment with their friends and loved ones again.

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

As your loved one’s biggest advocate, we understand how vital 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 12-step program and focus on tailor-fitting each treatment program to address each client’s unique needs. It’s about individualization and holistic treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery, and your loved one can discover a new beginning here.

Learn about our addiction treatment programs or contact us today. We’re here to help in any way we can.

A judge gavel and law book detailing drug possession laws in California.

What You Should Know about Drug Possession Laws in California

No one wants to end up in the legal system. It’s not a goal someone wakes up with and no one decides they want to live their life intertwined with the criminal courts. Nevertheless, for an individual living with a substance use disorder, coming in contact with the police and criminal courts is sometimes an inevitability. This is a result of the wide variety of misdemeanor and felony charges associated with both possessing illegal substances and using while in a public setting.

Understanding which laws exist and how they can impact your loved one who is struggling with addiction is essential to helping them avoid criminal charges and even jail time. Being an advocate for a person in your life who may be too overwhelmed or distracted with their addictive impulses can provide them a lifeline when they need it most.

What Are the California Drug Possession Laws?

Like most drug possession laws around the country, California’s drug possession laws can be a bit confusing. If you can, we encourage you to take some time to research the states laws, in the case that you need to navigate the system and make legal decisions with your loved one.

Of course, we understand it can take a lot of time and energy to understand the state’s legal system. Some of the more important points you should be aware of include the following:

  • In November 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, which reduced most simple drug possession arrests from possible felony charges with state prison time to misdemeanor offenses.
  • The passage of Proposition 64 resulted in the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in California, making it legal to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use.
  • The sentence for felony drug possession increases dramatically from the misdemeanor sentence depending on a person’s criminal record and other factors, including prior criminal history, past violent incidents that resulted in arrest, and other extenuating circumstances.
  • It is important to know that possession of controlled substances with intent to sell – a separate felony drug offense charged under Cal. Health and Safety Code § 11351 – is more serious and can therefore lead to tougher sentencing.

How Drug Possession Laws in California Impact Your Addicted Loved One

The way in which the existing laws and statutes involving drug possession in the state of California impact an individual can vary. For some who have avoided the criminal courts for a majority of their adult life, receiving a possession charge can have little to no effect.

For others – who have struggled with addiction and subsequent arrests associated with their impulsive and erratic behaviors while under the influence – receiving a drug possession charge can result in both significant fines and potential jail time.

Fortunately, legislation and amendments to the law have been passed that don’t simply incarcerate a person struggling with a drug addiction. Instead, these amendments actively work to provide people with clinical help and assistance.

These include:

  • The Passing of Proposition 36
    This was developed to save the state money by actively keeping people out of prison for the most minor drug offenses. If your loved one qualifies for “Prop 36,” they will be required to participate in drug treatment rather than jail time.

This program is specifically set aside for nonviolent drug possession offenses, meaning those with past violent charges may not qualify if they have any prior violent convictions on their record.

  • The Development of Drug Courts
    These are a collaborative effort to provide clinical interventions for people charged with drug offenses in order to return them to the community as law-abiding citizens. For a possession charge in drug court, individuals are usually put under supervision for 12 months.

During this time, people are subject to rules and random drug testing while they undergo clinical treatment and counseling to address the diagnosed substance use disorder.

While these are not the only benefits to the current California drug possession laws, they do highlight the fact that the state is working to not simply incarcerate a person dealing with addiction. Instead, the state is making efforts to provide people like your loved one with clinical options to address their substance use disorder and emerge from their legal issues with improved perspective and genuine personal growth.

The Financial Consequences of Addiction

While the state has worked to move from a strictly punitive response to drug possession charges to a more clinically-driven approach, the fines associated with these charges are still very real. In most situations, simple possession is charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000, community service and/or up to one year in jail.

These penalties can increase for second or subsequent offenses. For example, the $1,000 fine can double to $2,000 under Cal. Health and Safety Code § 11350, creating a situation in which a person receiving multiple drug possession charges is allowed to stay in the community, but is required to pay thousands of dollars in fines or risk going to jail.

In these situations, it is not uncommon for family members to be pulled into the situation – being asked to cover the fines in order to save their loved one from incarceration. If you find yourself in a scenario like this, it is not only important to consult with a legal professional, but to also contact a clinical treatment facility to help your loved one address their addiction.

Working with your loved one to avoid the hassles associated with the court system can help them avoid exorbitant costs and, above all, help save their life.

Ranch Creek Recovery Offers Life-Changing, Holistic Addiction Treatment

At Ranch Creek Recovery, your loved one will never be alone. We will fight right alongside them and help them reclaim control over their health and happiness. We take a holistic, non-12-step approach to drug and alcohol rehab and mental health disorders. We have raised the bar on rehabilitative services, focusing on a holistic approach within a uniquely luxurious setting in California.

Get to know us better and let us help your loved one get clean and thrive in sobriety. Contact us today to get your questions answered.

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.

Addiction treatment

Learn More About Relapse Prevention And Dual Diagnoses

Ranch Creek Recovery offers more than specialized addiction treatment; we offer a second chance at a normal life. Contact us at (951) 795-4326 to learn how we’ve changed the lives of others. You can also learn more about the importance of effective addiction treatment by browsing these addiction-related resources:

  • This article from The Huffington Post describes how self-medication can lead to substance abuse.
  • Explore the truth behind dual diagnosis by visiting this page from Mental Health America.
  • Visit PsychologyToday.com if you’d like to learn more about addiction triggers.
  • How can you avoid relapse during your addiction recovery? This page from Livestrong.com has the answer.
  • This page from MedlinePlus has reliable information about dual diagnosis disorders.
Delirium

Understanding Dual Diagnosis and the Self-Medication Theory

Complex mental health problems are difficult to detect and impossible to treat without professional help. That’s why it’s important to become more familiar with common mental health problems. Learning the basics of mental illness and drug abuse will help you guide your loved ones to treatment. This overview of dual diagnosis and the self-medication theory is a great place to start.

Dual Diagnosis
A patient suffering from dual diagnosis displays both the symptoms of a drug problem and a mental health issue. Medline Plus reports that the most common examples of dual diagnosis involve substance abuse combined with depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Unfortunately, each of these two problems can make the other worse. According to National Mental Health Association, mental health issues can increase a patient’s risk of substance abuse by up to 15%. Dual diagnosis cases are a challenge for medical professionals because one problem is likely to cover up the other. However, a holistic approach to addiction treatment can help identify and treat both problems simultaneously.

Self-Medication Theory
The self-medication theory is one of the most prevalent hypotheses about addiction. It states that those who abuse substances or participate in addictive behaviors often have an underlying medical or psychological problem. Patients and professionals alike use the self-medication theory as a tool for better communication and understanding during the treatment process. The theory encourages patients to be honest with medical professionals and themselves about their addictions and triggers. This self-examination can be an important motivator for patients to overcome their addictions. The self-medication theory has some overlap with dual diagnosis—especially when a patient’s substance abuse begins as self-treatment for his mental health issue.

Contact Ranch Creek Recovery if you suspect that your loved one is using drugs to cope with his or her mental health issue. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment can get to the heart of the problem and help your loved one live a better life. We can be reached by phone at (951) 795-4326.