IOP Programs Denver

Intensive outpatient programs

Attending a Denver Intensive Outpatient Program

Intensive outpatient programs or IOPs are a way for mental health treatment centers to bridge the gap between inpatient and outpatient facilities. An inpatient facility allows patients to stay there for an extended period to deal with their problems. These facilities limit the number of external stimuli that a patient has to deal with, so they can focus on their recovery. Because of this focused recovery approach, inpatient treatment tends to have more success and less chance of a relapse. Inpatient treatment isn’t for everyone, unfortunately. The type of treatment usually requires a person to leave their job or take an extended leave of absence.

The other side of the treatment scale is outpatient treatment. This type of treatment offers more freedom to the patient than inpatient treatment. With outpatient treatment, the patient must show up at a scheduled time to receive counseling and attend group therapy sessions. They don’t stay at the facility, and the onus is on them to make it to their scheduled counseling. Outpatient counseling has the downside that a person still has to deal with their environment and other influences that could lead them to relapse. IOP programs seek to find a middle ground between these two treatment options.

What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program Or IOP?

Intensive outpatient treatment is a treatment program for substance use disorder. It’s a step-down treatment after detox and inpatient treatment. Typically, it lasts for weeks, with visits scheduled for a few days out of the week. IOP can serve as either the primary treatment after detox or a continuing treatment method after a person has completed residential treatment. IOPs are built to be flexible and offer patients the best option for visiting a treatment center within their schedule. Most patients are trying to cope with re-entering the world and holding down a job. An IOP gives them the support they need through therapy while not infringing on their lives.

IOP sessions vary in length, but typically they last between two and four hours long. Most facilities that offer IOPs try to limit them to at least three days a week. More intensive programs might provide additional time, but three days are standard. One of the core focuses of IOP treatment is preventing relapse from external stimuli. Much of the discussion might be around managing the triggers that could lead to relapse and how to cope with those forces. Interpersonal relationships might need to be re-examined to give the person a better chance at staying away from those that might encourage unacceptable behavior.

What Does an IOP Treat?

While IOPs can be used for treating addiction, they can also be applied to an extensive range of mental health conditions. Among the typical cases in that IOP may be used are:

Typical Features of a Quality Intensive Outpatient Program

Not all IOP programs are the same. Some are far better at dealing with disorders than others through their flexibility and how they approach the issue of addiction or mental health disorders. The ideal IOP should feature:

Education Services

Recovering from any disorder requires understanding it fundamentally. A top-class IOP should incorporate education into its regimen. Part of the treatment should discuss how drug and alcohol addiction affects the body and the mind. Relapse prevention starts with recognizing the effects of cravings and how they change a person’s behavior. Intensive outpatient sessions should address practical ways of avoiding relapse.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy - IOP Programs Denver

Psychotherapy is one of the accepted methods of treating substance use disorder and mental health over the long term. A good IOP will incorporate family, group, and individual therapy to help recovering people deal with their conditions. Sharing experiences with others, opening up to family, or addressing the direct effects of a person’s mental health issue positively affects their ability to maintain their recovery.

Support Services

Typically, a person is in pretty rough shape financially, legally, and in employment when they enter rehab. The best IOP programs have advisors who can help people recover their financial and social standing while motivating them to continue their treatment. Finding solutions to these problems can help people focus more on improving themselves.

Who Can Benefit from a Denver IOP Program?

Anyone who has had a mental disorder or is dealing with long-term recovery from substance use disorder can benefit from joining an IOP. The IOP is an alternative to inpatient treatment while offering many benefits to outpatient therapy. IOPs do have an ideal candidate for success. A person who wants to undertake IOP needs to fit these criteria:

  • The patient must have completed inpatient treatment or have a mild enough substance use disorder that they don’t need acute treatment.
  • The patient must have a moderate substance abuse disorder.
  • They must not be dependent on drugs or alcohol.
  • They must have a means of support outside of the treatment center since they don’t live there.
  • The patient must be able to get to and from the facility independently.
  • They should be able to commit a significant amount of time to their recovery.

A recovery center would look at a patient’s history and determine whether they fit the ideal patient model before suggesting that they start IOP. Not all patients will match the perfect model of a patient. Since recovery depends on the individual, each person will have their own road to recovery. IOP can help some patients that don’t meet the ideal criteria but are willing to work towards their recovery.

Are IOP Programs in Denver Covered by Insurance?

IOP Programs in Denver Covered by Insurance

Insurance companies are required to cover treatment for mental health disorders. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all public, private, and group plans offer coverage for mental health treatment. IOP is another type of treatment that can help individuals who suffer from mental health disorders.

Therefore, IOP programs in Denver are covered by health insurance to a particular degree. Consulting with the facility will help you better understand whether your insurance will cover your IOP and to what amount. You may be responsible for meeting some part of the financial responsibility for your treatment, even with insurance.

Medication-Assisted Treatment and IOP Participation

Medication-Assisted Treatment or MAT uses medication alongside therapy to gain results in treating substance use disorder and mental health issues. Evidence from many studies suggests that this might be a viable way of helping some individuals cope with their mental health or substance use problems.

Results have shown that individuals who might otherwise be struggling with recovery have a much better outcome when incorporating MAT into their treatment. The use of MAT has historically been part of many inpatient and residential treatment programs. Introducing it to IOP requires adapting the existing methodology to the intensive program.

IOPs that incorporate MAT offer significant benefits over IOPs that use standard therapy as their go-to approach for treatment. Generally, patients who don’t have acute issues with substance usage are the best candidates for MAT. These patients benefit from being treated in their home environments for their disorders, allowing them a better chance of recovery. MAT raises that chance further by providing them with a way to manage their cravings through medication. Combining therapy with group support through IOP gives a recovering person the social support they need to recover from their disorder completely.

What Are the Features Of Top IOP Programs In Denver?

IOPs are quickly becoming popular because they combine the best of good treatment models. However, not all IOPs are helpful to every individual. The top IOPs in Denver share some similarities, however. Among the traits they display are:

  • Mental Health Disorder Assessment: Determine what mental health disorders the patients are dealing with.
  • Therapy Sessions: Group, individual, and family therapy should all form part of the treatment regimen.
  • Behavioral Health Assessment: How does this mental health disorder affect the person’s behavior?
  • Life Education Skills and Training: A recovering person will have to relearn many basic life skills a person needs when living independently.
  • Teaching Focus Development: Yoga and meditation help balance a patient and get them focused on their recovery.

If you are looking at an IOP and aren’t sure whether it’s right for you, you should objectively examine what it offers. You should be able to get to the location relatively quickly, so you don’t miss appointments. The staff should be welcoming and understanding about your goals. It should also offer you an individual solution to your problem, not a generic fix.

Find Lasting Sober Success with Pathfinders Recovery Centers Now

Pathfinders Recovery provides treatment to our patients with a view to long-term recovery. Our two decades of service have prepared us to deal with all types of mental and substance use disorders. Our staff is trained in helping recovering persons come to terms with their disorders and overcome them. Let us help you deal with your condition. Call us today, and we’ll guide you towards leaving your disorder behind and living your life anew!

Signs Of Stimulant Abuse

Signs Of Stimulant Abuse

What Are the Most Common Stimulant Drugs?

The word “stimulants” describes a category of drugs and substances that affect the body and mind in unique ways. Within this broad classification, there are several further sub-categories. Prescription stimulants are frequently prescribed to persons for legitimate medical reasons by licensed and certified medical practitioners. It is considered unlawful to possess those substances within this category without a valid license (e.g., a prescription). Common examples of some of these are Adderall, Ritalin, and Methylphenidate. These substances are used for treating conditions like ADHD.

Then, some stimulants drug are outright banned and illegal. These substances cannot be prescribed medically, are strictly controlled, and carry heavy penalties. Examples of these drugs are cocaine, methamphetamines, and MDMA.

Finally, some substances aren’t controlled and can be possessed and consumed by anyone. Substances like caffeine (commonly found in coffee and sodas) and nicotine (in cigarettes and vape liquids). Caffeine isn’t a controlled substance, but cigarettes and vape products aren’t legally accessible to persons under the age of 18.

What Are the General Effects Of Stimulant Substances?

One of the essential things to know about stimulants is that they are addictive, habit-forming substances. The mind and body become dependent on them over time and start to, in a sense, “need” them to function. You might be asking, “How does this work?” In general, all stimulants operate via the same principle, and thus, all have pretty similar effects on the brain. Stimulants trigger an increase of dopamine in our brains. Dopamine is a chemical that acts as a “feel-good messenger.” What does that mean? Motivation, focus, mood, and decision-making are aspects of the human experience dictated and influenced heavily by dopamine levels. Dopamine runs our brains’ pleasure and reward centers, so persons consuming stimulants experience elevation to better moods, more motivation, focus, and more.

The only significant difference in the general effect stimulants have across the different categories is the increased degree to which dopamine is released. Coffee and nicotine have probably the mildest effect of them all, whereas outright illegal substances result in excessive dopamine levels in the brain. Controlled and prescribed substances like Methylphenidate are designed to help persons with ADHD. They have difficulty naturally producing dopamine to become more functional closer to a neurotypical experience. Prescribers monitor the usage of the substance in medical cases until the desired result is achieved. Misuse of these substances leads to a buildup and tolerance in the system, leading to higher and higher dosages and deeper addiction.

What are the Side Effects of Stimulant Abuse And Dependence?

One experiences many side effects due to the misuse and abuse of stimulant substances. These side effects can be experienced both within the immediate and short-term and over the long-term. Remember that one can experience adverse side effects from all stimulant substances. (Overconsumption of coffee, for instance, will undoubtedly lead to negative impacts). It’s also important to note that the body’s dependence on stimulants will result in withdrawal symptoms when deprived of said stimulant. The short-term side effects of usage and withdrawal can coincide with significantly more uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. With illegal, banned or misuse of prescription substances even, the side effects will be much more pronounced.

Short term side effects can range from:

  • High blood pressure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Elevated heart rate and breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Poor diet
  • Nausea

 

Side Effects of Stimulant Abuse

Long-term side effects of stimulant abuse are even more concerning because, depending on the severity, the misuse can have far-reaching consequences for the person many years later. Some examples of long-term side effects are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Lung damage
  • Elevated stroke risk
  • Elevated heart failure risk

 

How Can I Tell the Signs Of Stimulant Abuse?

Nobody wants to lose a loved one to the spiral of addiction. It is a destructive habit that can harm and even destroy the lives of everyone touched by it. That is why recognizing the signs of any form of stimulant misuse is so vital. Often, the best way to discern that someone may be misusing stimulants would be to look for critical behavioral changes. KEEP IN MIND that not all behavioral changes are a surefire sign of stimulant abuse! Mental health issues like depression can cause behavioral changes. It is also essential to keep in mind that accusing someone of being a drug addict is never the way to address it.

At best, your hunch is correct, and the person will double down on their attempts to hide the habit from you. At worst, your hunch is wrong, and you have now caused psychological and emotional damage to a person already in a place of struggling. Suppose you suspect someone has a stimulant abuse issue. In that case, the cornerstone of all efforts should be free of judgment and full of empathy and care and the engagement of professional sources on how to handle it tactfully.

That being said, here are some of the more common behavioral changes that someone may be misusing stimulants:

  • You come to discover that they are stealing or forging prescriptions.
  • They are taking doses higher than prescribed without authorization.
  • They become easily hostile and experience excessive mood swings.
  • Their sleep habits have changed, either increasing or decreasing in amount.
  • Decision-making is uncharacteristically erratic.
  • Overall personality changes (overly euphoric/energetic/sedated).

 

Is Stimulant Abuse Dangerous?

Addiction to stimulants can be dangerous. For some people, it is even fatal. The recent overdose deaths of two Arizona college students who were sold counterfeit Adderall (laced with meth) highlights yet another danger of this class of drugs.

It should not be underestimated just how profound, tragic and aggressive a situation it can descend into. Everyone is urged to exercise caution with any types of controlled substances, stay away from illegal stimulants, and be measured and moderate with the usage of caffeine and nicotine in general.

Does Stimulant Abuse Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

In short, yes. This was discussed in detail above, but in essence, stimulants are addictive substances. As a result, the body experiences a withdrawal phase when deprived of it. This phase can include experiencing symptoms like fever, nausea and vomiting, light sensitivity, stomach pains, cramps, muscular pain, excessive sweating, and hallucinations, to name a few.

Finding Help for Stimulant Abuse is Possible

If you or a loved one are experiencing an addiction to stimulant substances and would like to regain control, autonomy, and agency over your life, there is hope. When it comes to stimulant abuse and treatment, a proper healthcare provider with programs specifically formulated and focused on rehabilitating persons experiencing substance use disorder is critical. The internet is usually an excellent tool for finding quality options.

For instance, a quick Google search for “Colorado stimulant addiction treatment centers” yields a wealth of information. By researching the history, success stories, and reputation of a facility, you can usually discern the general quality of care one can expect. Some factors to keep an eye out for when considering a facility or program are the qualifications of the staff, the accreditation status of the facility, the extent of their financing options, as well as whether or not they take each patient as a unique individual that not only deserves but requires a bespoke plan of treatment to ensure the highest chance of lasting sobriety. A good rule of thumb is that an exceptional facility will usually have a reputation that precedes it.

What are the Features Of Treatment for Stimulant Addiction?

Treatment for Stimulant Addiction

Stimulant addiction is a condition that requires a multi-stage, bespoke plan of action. Each person is unique. Their experience of addiction is unique, as are the specific circumstances and factors that led them to fall into the habit in the first place. For this reason, a good facility will work to figure out just how each phase of treatment should be handled for each person. There are, however, some broad stages that the treatment of stimulant abuse travels through:

  • Detoxification – When the body is deprived of the substance, it will invariably rebel. This phase is painful and uncomfortable and requires clinical staff and observation to reduce discomfort as much as possible.
  • Medication-Assisted-Treatment (MAT) – A combination of therapy and medication, MAT is used by pairing FDA-approved drugs that have been proven to help people overcome addiction. This can be cautiously employed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the severity and nature of the case.
  • Dual-Diagnosis Programs – Addiction is often one of the conditions a patient may be suffering from. Things like anxiety and depression may also be playing their roles in their pain. The addiction itself may be a symptom or result of the initial condition that the patient fell into due to trying to self-medicate. A good facility will be aware of this possibility and screen for it in their initial consultation.
  • Inpatient Care – Depending on the severity of the case, the patient may need to stay at the facility around the clock to be monitored, administered therapy, and other treatments deemed necessary for holistic recovery. Inpatient care can be expensive, but it has a very high success rate. Patients that undergo inpatient care are kept away from negative influences in the outside world until they can deal with them.
  • Outpatient Care – For cases less severe or severe cases that have de-escalated sufficiently, outpatient care may be the move. This involves the patient coming into the facility on a scheduled basis for treatment sessions as appropriate but not residing at the facility. Outpatient care is typically less costly than inpatient care. The downside is that patients are constantly exposed to the same stimuli that led them into addiction in the first place.
  • Aftercare – Don’t make the mistake of considering aftercare an afterthought. This is a critical, non-optional part of lasting recovery. This element involves many components such as skill-building, group therapy, community support, and more. This phase focuses on bolstering and sustaining the patient’s sobriety as they step into a new life free of the substance’s hold over them.

 

Find Lasting Recovery from Stimulant Addiction at Pathfinders

We have over 20 years of expert experience in treating and rehabilitating persons struggling with addiction and stimulant abuse issues. Our facility is staffed by full-service teams comprised of qualified, expert medical and holistic care professionals who are ready and willing to work with you as you navigate the entire process of recovery and rehabilitation; from detoxing to healing from the psychological trauma that likely caused the addiction, to the critical Aftercare process that empowers our patients and prepares them for life on the other side of substance dependency.

A happy, fulfilling, and engaging life is our ultimate goal for every person that walks through our doors, and we have the track record to back that up! If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to stimulants, know that hope exists. Contact us today for more information or a consultation!

 

Chronic Relapse Treatment Center

What is Chronic Relapse

The Cycle of Addiction and Relapse

For many individuals who suffer from substance abuse disorder, the rehabs they enter can end up becoming revolving doors. The constant cycle of recovery and relapse cycles over and over in a seemingly never-ending battle for sobriety.

What makes the situation more frustrating is the inability to pin down why the relapse keeps happening. The motivation to recover is present, and the effort is put in each time – it’s difficult to remain in recovery after a few weeks or months after graduation.

This would just be attributed to a lack of discipline or motivation in the past. However, many experts believe it points to an underlying mental health condition or a specific set of symptoms that manifest this behavior.

It’s known as chronic relapse, and it’s actually a very common occurrence in many present-day rehab participants.

What Is Chronic Relapse?

In order to understand chronic relapse, first, consider temporary relapse. Temporary relapse occurs when addicts experience a setback related to their recovery process — losing housing, getting fired from a job, or having an argument with loved ones.

After experiencing a period of stress or difficulty, most people bounce back into their normal routines of substance abuse. They temporarily lose their motivation to stay clean or quit drinking.

However, if the crisis persists, then it becomes a chronic relapse. A person suffering from chronic relapse experiences regular periods of craving, increased tolerance, negative mood swings, compulsive behavior, poor performance at school or work, and/or legal troubles.

Short Term Addiction Treatment and Relapse

Those who successfully complete detoxification and enter residential rehab programs tend to remain sober longer than others. On average, recovering heroin users spend less than six months living in halfway houses before returning home.

Yet many individuals who suffer from chronic relapse will fall off the wagon just a short time after returning home. This could be because the initial time in inpatient treatment wasn’t enough for them.

Once patients leave rehabilitation, they must rely solely upon themselves to deal with triggers and temptations. If adequate education and treatment wasn’t received during their stay in rehab, they’re left unprepared for entering the real world again. If left untreated, chronic relapse can lead to further deterioration.

What is the difference between a chronic relapse treatment center and a traditional rehab facility?

What Is a Chronic Relapse Treatment Center?

 

For individuals who frequently suffer from challenges associated with relapse, regular rehabilitation facilities that offer the typical 30-day program clearly aren’t enough. The resources available at a normal treatment center and a facility that specializes in this issue can be more accommodating.

By definition, a chronic relapse treatment center is a facility that provides care 24 hours a day in a non-hospital environment. The planned length of stay in these facilities is typically anywhere from six to 12 months.

Chronic relapse treatment centers normally include the following elements as part of their treatment plans:

  • Helping clients stay active and healthy through participation in exercise or sports
  • Preparing balanced, healthy diets high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and minimally processed foods
  • Various stress management techniques like yoga or mediation
  • They offer substance abuse and mental health resources to break the constant cycle of relapse

Personalized Treatment to Combat Chronic Relapse

What Is a Chronic Relapse Treatment Center

There is also a distinct outline for treatment offered to clients in chronic relapse treatment centers. Personalized treatment plans contain elements of each of the following:

  • Evidence-based treatment that’s proven to work long-term in an inpatient setting
  • Various options for customized care plans that include dual-diagnosis treatment
  • Continued support and sober living home options for structured rehab during aftercare
  • Continued resources for group recovery meetings during post-care treatment

Facilities that specialize in chronic relapse often include a softer, more accommodating touch that provides more of a home-like environment. Many people consider these facilities as “upscale” or “extravagant.” However, there is just more attention put into the need for the client’s appropriate environment.

Different people require different elements and environments to promote long-term sobriety. Research has shown that individuals who suffer from chronic relapse often require a more intimate, personal environment.

In order to identify the presence of chronic relapse, you must understand the signs and symptoms of this condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Relapse

There are specific signs and symptoms that identify the presence of chronic relapse. These symptoms include the following:

  • They are glamorizing the use of their drug of choice. This may include the individual sharing fond memories of past substance abuse.
  • The individual believes they can use again without any negative consequences
  • They may become increasingly isolated
  • They may stop participating in their 12-step recovery meetings
  • They stop pursuing interests that were a part of their recovery plan
  • They may begin to doubt how effective their initial treatment plan is/was

Identifying these signs could make it possible to prevent relapse before it happens. Do you know the differences between emotional, mental, and physical relapses?

Emotional, Mental, and Physical Relapse

Emotional, Mental, and Physical Relapse

To understand chronic relapse, you must understand how normal relapse takes place. It doesn’t happen overnight – in fact; it happens in three distinct phases.

Emotional Stage

The emotional stage includes the individual experiencing anger, stress, sadness, depression, or any wide range of intense feelings. Initially, the user may not think about using. However, when these feelings aren’t dealt with and processed in a healthy manner, individuals will progress to the next stage.

Mental/Craving Stage

This is the mental warning sign of an impending relapse. Users may find it difficult to stop thinking about using at this point and continuously play the process of using it repeatedly in their minds.

Physical/Engagement Stage

At this point, the user physically engages and enters relapse. The user put themselves at high risk of addiction once again by continuing to relapse. The urge to use again will be quite intense with each subsequent relapse, and it’s easy to fall back into habitual use.

Now, what about the stages of chronic relapse?

What Are the Stages of Chronic Relapse?

The stages of chronic relapse aren’t dissimilar to normal relapse. However, they take place over an extended period and include several more mental steps and contemplation. Below is an example of the stages of chronic relapse.

Precontemplation

During this stage, individuals aren’t necessarily contemplating using drugs or drinking alcohol. However, thoughts of past use may circle around in their heads. They may dream about using drugs or give too much thought to reliving their past or remembering what drug use felt like.

Contemplation

During this stage, individuals are actively contemplating using drugs. They may go back and forth in their head, arguing with themselves or trying to rationalize why it would be okay to use drugs at this point.

Rationalization

After making the decision to move forward with using, individuals will attempt to rationalize their decision to themselves. They’ll use excuses like, “well, I’ve been sober for a while, so I won’t become addicted again.” Another famous excuse is, “I’m only going to use this one time, and I won’t get high after this.”

Relapse

During this stage, the user actively engages in relapse. They will obtain their drug of choice and proceed to get high. The results after this stage vary but often include the same sentiment among all users.

Remorse

The remorse stage includes the individual expressing guilt about using. This will include a period of depression and withdrawal from society, family, and friends. It’s often these feelings of guilt and negative emotions that trigger subsequent use. Individuals are unable to properly handle or process these emotions, so they turn to further drug use to avoid dealing with them.

After this stage, uses go one of two ways. They either choose to seek help immediately or fall back into regular use.

Regardless, once the user comes back to terms with the fact that they need more help, they enter the acceptance phase and must go through the detox, withdrawal, and treatment process all over again.

Individuals who suffer from chronic relapse end up wasting large chunks of their lives on this condition. Each time they cycle through relapse, treatment, recovery, and back into relapse, you’re looking at anywhere from six to nine months of hard work and progress erased each time.

Why Do People Relapse Frequently?

Most people think relapse involves going right back to exactly the same way of thinking, and doing that got them hooked in the first place. But research tells us otherwise.

Even though a person may engage in harmful activities, he or she won’t develop true addiction unless certain personality traits come into play. Addiction researchers used to refer to these characteristics as vulnerability factors but now call them risk markers.

Risk markers occur early in development and indicate susceptibility to developing addictive tendencies later in life. People whose genetic makeup includes specific variations in dopamine genes, for instance, are believed to be predisposed to alcoholism and substance abuse issues. Researchers have identified dozens of similar risk markers.

Risk markers vary from individual to individual, but the following are typical warning signs that someone could develop issues with chronic relapse:

  • Lack of strong bonds with parents
  • Unstable childhood
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poorly developed conscience
  • History of trauma or neglect
  • Psychological instability
  • Impulsivity
  • Hanging out with the wrong groups of people
  • Lack of education regarding triggers and relapse, or substance abuse in general.

Some experts suggest that anyone exhibiting four or more of these qualities identify the chance for chronic relapse.

Who Benefits from Chronic Relapse Treatment Plans?

Although chronic relapse can happen to anyone, certain segments of society exist that may have a higher risk of developing this condition. Individuals with any of the following situations benefit the most from relapse treatment plans:

  • Anyone with stressful events going on in their lives (health problems, unemployment, rocky relationships, etc.)
  • Underlying mental health conditions
  • Any victims of childhood sexual, mental, or physical abuse
  • Genetic history of substance abuse or alcoholism
  • A lower amount of dopamine receptors compared to the average number
  • Anyone who displays the traits of having an impulsive or addictive personality
  • You have fewer dopamine receptors compared to the general population

When individuals aren’t educated on any of the issues listed above, their chances of chronic relapse increase significantly. It’s important to seek treatment and craft a chronic relapse prevention plan.

Crafting a Chronic Relapse Prevention Plan

When people relapse chronically, it’s harder to pull themselves out of the cycle of unhealthy choices. Finding effective ways to cope with stressful circumstances helps reduce the likelihood of falling back into old habits. To break a pattern of relapse, clients must implement the following strategies into their relapse prevention plan:

Identify Triggers

Identifying triggers can help pinpoint moments when urges arise. Triggers can range from environmental stimuli to emotional states. Common triggers include boredom, anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, frustration, and impatience. Learning to manage these triggers effectively can significantly decrease the chances of relapse.

Learn Skills That Promote Mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to the ability to focus attention internally instead of dwelling on external distractions. Practicing meditation and breathing exercises can increase awareness and lower stress levels.

Set Goals

Setting realistic goals that coincide with your values can boost self-confidence and motivate you to stick to your plans. Create actionable steps toward achieving your objectives and write your own success story!

Hold Yourself Accountable

Admit when you made a mistake and act immediately to correct it. Don’t blame others, and don’t dwell on regret. Take accountability for your actions.

Long Term Treatment and Long-Term Recovery

Long-term treatment leads to long-term recovery. Individuals who suffer from chronic relapse commonly need much longer stays at the inpatient facility of their choice.

The more education and counseling a client receives, especially in the right environment, the chances of avoiding relapse during the long-term increase significantly.

Lasting Recovery with a Chronic Relapse Treatment Center

At Pathfinders Recovery Centers, we’ve helped many clients achieve recovery from chronic relapse challenges. Our state-of-the-art facilities are comfortable and conducive to long-term comfort, which clients need for long-term residence for chronic relapse.

To find out about our specialized treatment plans for chronic relapse, contact a member of our admissions team today!

Ice Cream Drug and Meth Slang Terms

Ice Cream Drug and Meth Slang Terms

The mindset of “my child would never use drugs” or “those types of drugs aren’t a problem in my town” are outdated assumptions that currently don’t even have a sliver of truth to them. There was a period in American culture when certain substances hadn’t permeated the fabric of tight-knit communities.

Currently, the opioid and methamphetamine epidemics have spread out to affect nearly every American family in some way. If any of your loved ones – specifically your kids – were struggling with substance abuse or even just dabbling, would you be able to identify the presence of drugs in their lives?

You’re vigilant enough to notice any physical indicators that could signal any drug use if you’re lucky. Unfortunately, physical signs may not manifest until later stages of abuse.

There may even be people you suspect your loved ones are using drugs with. Some family members will attempt to pick up on signals from conversations they have in person and on the phone.

However, it’s possible they could be speaking about drug use right in front of you, and you may not even know it.

Ice Cream and the Many Slang Terms for Meth

One way to tell if your loved ones could possibly be suffering from substance abuse issues is by listening to certain words in their dialogue. Meth has multiple slang terms individuals use to hide the fact that they’re actually talking about drugs.

One of the most commonly used phrases for meth is “crystal,” which is short for crystal meth. This name is used because of the distinct crystalline form the drug commonly comes in. Later, the drug community would adopt the nickname “crank” because of its effects on the user.

If you suspect meth use from someone you care about, the following terms should raise a red flag:

  • Tina
  • Christina
  • Christie
  • Go-Fast
  • Go-Go Juice
  • Chicken Feed
  • Poop
  • Trash
  • Glass
  • Ice

If you hear any of those terms used frequently, especially around characters you may already be suspicious of, it should be a huge red flag. Identifying the signs of meth use is vital for avoiding long-term abuse and the side effects that come with it. The rising purity of the ice cream drug in the US is causing the rapid deterioration of mental health in large populations across the country.

The Rising Purity of the Ice Cream Drug In the US

Before sometime around 2006 or 2007, most of the meth available on the market was produced using ephedrine, a common ingredient found in cough medications. However, after a crackdown on clandestine labs throughout the United States in the early 2000s, obtaining ephedrine in large quantities became all but impossible – even in Mexico.

Manufacturers of the drug began using a recipe known as the “P2P method.” This particular recipe uses phenyl-2-propanone, aluminum, methylamine, and mercuric chloride instead of the ephedrine.

Mostly used during the 1970s and early 80s by outlaw biker gangs, this method took a backseat to ephedrine-based production because of the latter’s use of fewer harmful chemicals. However, after the ephedrine crackdown, manufacturers realized the precursors needed to cook P2P meth were much easier to obtain – and in massive quantities.

The Spread of Super Meth in America

This method is what has led to the explosion in meth abuse we’re currently witnessing alongside The Spread of Super Meth in Americathe opioid epidemic.

This method is what has led to the explosion in meth abuse we’re currently witnessing alongside the opioid epidemic. Mexican “super labs” are producing extremely large quantities of the drug – often tons at a time, in older, abandoned warehouses in cities near the United States border.

The surfacing of a high number of operations of this scale led to the price of meth bottoming out. Pounds are currently available for $1,000 in some states– a stark contrast to prices of the early 2000s when a pound of meth could fetch up to $10,000.

With super labs producing meth at record quantities and prices at rock bottom, competing cartels had only one choice to gain the upper hand – increase the purity. A great deal of the meth currently available on the United States black market is over 98% pure.

This is causing two huge issues. The first is the fact that meth produced using the P2P method causes more intense psychological side effects much faster than other variations. Drug-induced psychosis can set in in a matter of weeks instead of months or years and linger longer even after treatment.

The second challenge is relatively new territory for law enforcement and medical professionals. Overdose cases because of meth are also at an all-time high, presenting a fresh set of challenges for emergency workers.

Can You Overdose from the Ice Cream Drug?

It was rare to hear about overdoses related to meth in the past. Unfortunately, the tragic spike in deaths related to meth overdose has been overshadowed by the numbers associated with fentanyl.

In 2020, over 93,000 people died as a result of a fentanyl overdose. However, from 2015 to 2019, deaths associated with meth overdose quietly tripled in the background.

The numbers rose from 5,526 to a staggering 15,489 – a 180% increase. It’s worth noting that an uptick in overdose deaths would normally correlate with an increase in the number of users around the same percentage.

Surprisingly, the number of active meth users only rose 43% during the same amount of time. A situation resulting in a 180% increase in toxicity deaths and only a 43% increase in active users points only to one factor – a deadly spike in the purity of the drug or a change in the recipe that’s causing the wave of deaths.

While evidence points to the former being the culprit and not the latter, it still piques one’s curiosity. How is the ice cream drug made now compared to a decade ago?

How Is the Ice Cream Drug Made?

Overall, three primary methods exist for manufacturing methamphetamine. These three methods are known as the following:

  • Red Phosphorous Method. This was the primary method used throughout the 1990s and early 2000s before the current method took over.
  • Birch Method. The birch method, otherwise known as the Nazi method or Shake and Bake, is a cruder form commonly found in smaller, clandestine backyard labs across the United States.
  • The P2P Method. The P2P, or Amalgam Method, is the process most heavily used in Mexican super labs. Most of the batches that end up in the hands of users today are made using this method.

Let’s examine each method in greater detail.

Red Phosphorous Method

The red phosphorous method is known for using ephedrine as the primary ingredient. Meth created using this method is known for a high that produces euphoric, energetic effects as opposed to the paranoia-inducing P2P method. Ingredients used for this method include the following:

  • Hydriodic acid
  • Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Sodium hydroxide (lye)
  • Sodium chloride (salt)
  • Red phosphorous
  • Iodine
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)
  • Methyl alcohol (methanol)
  • Ephedrine
  • Pseudoephedrine

The Birch Method

The birch method, better known among meth users as shake and bake, is a process that involves hardly any lab equipment. Normally, this method is produced using one container or pot instead of a series of glass tubes and beakers. Because of the simplicity of its production, this is the method most commonly found in clandestine labs for private use across the United States. Common ingredients for this process include:

  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Lithium metal
  • Sodium metal
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)
  • Methyl alcohol (methanol)
  • Hydrogen chloride gas
  • Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Sodium chloride (salt)
  • Toluene
  • Naptha (Coleman Fuel)
  • Methyl ethyl ketone
  • Ephedrine

P2P Method

The P2P method is currently the method being used in the Mexican super labs south of the border. The problem with this method is the fact that it contains d-methamphetamine and l-methamphetamine isomers. D-methamphetamine causes the intoxicating effects that users crave from abusing meth. However, l-methamphetamine causes the negative mental side effects so often seen in current meth users.

  • Phenyl-2-propanone (P2P)
  • Methylamine
  • Mercuric chloride
  • Aluminum, hydrochloric acid
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Methanol, ethanol
  • Acetone
  • Benzene
  • Chloroform

Because of the quickly deteriorating mental capacity of current meth users, it may be easier to identify the warning signs of abuse.

What Are the Warning Signs of Ice Cream Use?

What Are the Warning Signs of Ice Cream Use

In the past, it seemed that the warning signs of meth abuse were often physical as opposed to mental. While physical warning signs are still present, red flags may exist more in the form of mental symptoms. Some of the most common indicators present in users are listed below:

  • Paranoia, or a belief that someone is chasing them
  • Withdrawn from society, family, and friends
  • Violent changes in mood swings
  • Aggressive or violent tendencies or periods of rage
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Staying up for extended periods
  • Long periods of sleep
  • Engaging in ideas or beliefs that don’t make sense
  • Difficulty staying focused on one task
  • Becoming ultra-disorganized

Individuals who abuse meth engage in a behavior known as tweaking. They will remain hyper-focused on one activity, possibly participating in this activity for hours. However, when they get distracted, they’ll leave these projects, often unfinished, to move on to the next. This false belief that they’re accomplishing more leaves behind multiple unfinished tasks and projects.

Physical Side Effects of the Ice Cream Drug

Even though mental indicators may be more prevalent initially, this doesn’t exclude the possibility of physical side effects. Eventually, most everyone who suffers from meth abuse disorder will begin to manifest the physical signs of use. These signs include:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Cracked, dry lips
  • Dehydration
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Spikes in blood pressure

Most of these symptoms are associated with the effects of short-term use. However, most of these physical side effects of the ice cream drug will increase in severity with long-term use.

There isn’t one guaranteed set of effects that users that long-term users are guaranteed to experience. The intensity of most of these effects heavily depends on the amount used, frequency of use, and any pre-existing conditions or accompanying addictions the user has.

What Are the Long Term Side Effects of Ice Cream Abuse?

Many long-term effects exist for individuals who suffer from meth abuse disorder. Again, many of the worst side effects will be mental because of the current manufacturing process. However, extended use will eventually lead to potential life-threatening physical challenges.

Mental

  • Meth-induced psychosis
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of cognitive abilities
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships

Many of the long-term mental effects are repairable after extended periods of recovery. What are some of the long-term physical side effects?

Physical

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Loss of teeth
  • Long-term blood pressure and heart issues
  • High risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Heart disease

Again, it’s possible to overcome the physical side effects after long-term recovery.

Methods of Treatment for Meth or “Ice Cream” Dependence

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for individuals who suffer from meth abuse disorder. However, through assessments and one-on-one interviews with mental health professionals, clients can form a personalized treatment plan that includes the most effective forms of therapy.

Some of the most commonly used forms of treatment for meth abuse disorder include:

  • Talk therapy and one-on-one counseling with therapists
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. This form of treatment helps clients replace negative behaviors associated with meth abuse with more positive behavior habits.
  • Dual-diagnosis treatment aims to remedy underlying mental conditions that exist as a trigger for meth abuse disorder.
  • Group recovery meetings similar to 12-step programs are effective after inpatient or outpatient treatment.
  • Group therapy with family members and loved ones also significantly affects a positive recovery.

One of the most critical steps in the recovery process is actually finding help for a loved one using methamphetamines. With the right support system and the will to recover, individuals who suffer from meth abuse disorder have a good chance at lasting recovery.

Is Lasting Recovery from the ‘Ice Cream drug’ Possible?

At Pathfinders Recovery Centers in both Colorado and Arizona, we pride ourselves on having a staff who believes in long-term recovery and is experienced in helping clients achieve it. We start with a quality, accredited medically supervised detox process that segues into a top-notch inpatient treatment stay.

Clients have regular access to therapy sessions with top-rated mental health and substance abuse specialists. We even have five-star chefs preparing meals for clients – nutrition is a huge part of recovery as well!

If you’re ready for a robust treatment program that attacks abuse disorders from every angle, contact a member of our admissions team today!

How Long Does Meth Psychosis Last?

How Long Does Meth Psychosis Last

What Is Meth Induced Psychosis?

My meth addiction made me literally lose my mind. Besides losing my sanity, I also lost nearly everything else in my life. My job, my wife, and my overall happiness. There aren’t a lot of drugs out there like meth. The damage that it does to your body and your mental health is astounding.

Even after you quit using meth, there can be underlying conditions and psychosis. It took me a long time to feel normal again after I went through recovery at Pathfinders. I still have nightmares to this day and wake up wondering if they were real or not.

So what is meth-induced psychosis? Generally speaking, meth psychosis is brought on by a combination of paranoia and hallucinations that result from prolonged meth abuse.

Speaking from personal experience, this is a terrifying condition and can quickly escalate to a point that’s unimaginable. I started using meth when I was a teenager.

I grew up in a rural area, and the manufacturing of meth wasn’t too uncommon in my town. I ended up getting into it through friends, and eventually wound up producing it myself. It didn’t take long for my whole personality to change.

The progression of meth psychosis is rapid. Within several months of using meth, I found myself paranoid and thinking everyone was out to get me. First of all, there is a lot of paranoia that goes along with using illegal drugs and having your life revolve around them.

The people you associate with are less than ideal, and you are always in fear of being arrested or found out by your loved ones. Meth is a very hard addiction to hide from anyone. The damage that it does to your body makes it very obvious. It’s hard to deny you have an addiction when your teeth are falling out and you look as pale and sickly as a corpse.

So the symptoms of meth abuse are obvious. We’ve all seen the meth before and after photos of what the drug does to people over time. The symptoms of meth psychosis are also very obvious. You become incoherent.

There is a lot of fast-talking and rambling. Being unable to concentrate on one subject is extremely difficult. Dealing with that kind of fear and anxiety is totally crippling. You start to believe all these crazy thoughts are real. There is also the issue of thinking things are crawling all over you. Meth Mites are a common occurrence.

You start to believe there are bugs crawling under your skin. Meth crystalizes under the skin, which causes a lot of irritation and itching. It’s extremely uncomfortable.

It sounds nuts, but since you are not in the right frame of mind when you’re using meth, you can quickly start to believe that insects are literally crawling all over you. When you’re just getting into drugs, this doesn’t sound like a very appealing high.

Who in their right mind would want to experience something like that? You don’t get it until you’re in it. You don’t plan on using drugs to lose your mind. You begin using drugs because you want to have fun or you have some sort of pain to cover up.

When your drug abuse gets to the point of visual and auditory hallucinations, paranoia, and anxiety, you’d think that would be enough to get clean right? The answer is usually no. People get so far in they don’t see what they’ve become.

When I look at old photos of myself from when I was using drugs, it shocks me. How did I not know how bad I looked? It’s a brutal reality that you develop drug eyes. You don’t see how bad it’s gotten. Even if you do, it still isn’t enough to do anything about it.

Progression Of Meth Psychosis

Meth hallucinations are very real and they affect every aspect of your life. They can be visual, auditory, and tactile. You can see, hear, and feel things that are not there. There’s no way something like that isn’t going to have a hugely negative impact on you.

The really tricky thing about psychosis is when you are experiencing it, you don’t recognize it as abnormal. It’s easy to look at a meth addict suffering from psychosis and see that they are unwell. When you’re the addict, it’s not all that clear.

Using drugs like meth cause the brain to release large amounts of dopamine, which are trigger feelings of euphoria. When those feelings go away, and the high disappears, you want nothing more than to get that feeling back.

Continued substance abuse and the repeated release of dopamine cause your brain to burn out. It’s the same with almost every drug. In the beginning, your tolerance is low.

As you build up your tolerance to the drug, you need more and more of it to get by. Eventually, this develops into a full-blown addiction, and your brain can’t release all that dopamine fast enough.

How long does meth psychosis last? It depends on the level of your addiction. For some people, it can play out over months or even years. There are some users who develop permanent meth psychosis, however, with treatment this condition is reversible.

There is a lasting recovery from meth misuse. It’s one of those addictions that you don’t ever really defeat. Because it is such a powerful drug, the cravings can continue long after you are sober. This is why it’s important to develop a strong recovery network and understand that you are powerless to the drug.

One of the obvious side effects of methamphetamine use is meth mouth. Meth mouth is defined simply as tooth decay and gum disease as a result of repeated meth use. The damage to the teeth is the result of not only the acidity of the drug but also involuntary teeth grinding and overall poor oral hygiene.

By the time the user seeks treatment, the teeth are often too damaged or broken to be repaired and have to be removed. There is also a direct connection between meth use and voice loss.

Treatment For Meth Psychosis

Treatment For Meth Psychosis

Treatment for meth addiction requires a lot of work on both the user and the person treating the user. I was really surprised at the care and compassion showed to me at Pathfinders.

My addiction and my psychosis were at a very dangerous level. Pathfinders offer a great dual diagnosis program, and for someone like me, it worked wonders. I didn’t realize that my mental health was at an all-time low.

Dual diagnosis treatment is a great way for addicts with mental illness to work on both issues at once. It may seem overwhelming, but it’s proven to be a very effective way to treat substance abuse.

Once the damage is done, it’s pretty difficult to do away with the problem on your own. Because drugs rewire our brains and change the way we think, addicts are not often concerned with their appearance after a while.

It quickly becomes an afterthought. When you are recovering from meth, you become one big restoration project. Your body and mind are equally damaged. If you are done feeling paranoid all the time, dope sick, and strung out, a place like Pathfinders will get you back on track.

If addressed early enough, there is a chance your state of mind can be restored. If you have been abusing meth long term, there aren’t a whole lot of options other than intensive rehab. The solution to fixing meth mouth is to quit using meth, which is not exactly simple.

Meth can be a very difficult drug to get off of, as it completely rewires your brain. If you are serious enough about it, sobriety can be achieved no matter where you’re in your addiction. The damage to your mouth is only something that can be addressed after you face the problem head-on.

When you recover from a drug like meth, it takes a very long time to return to the way you once were. Luckily for me, I have found the pull of recovery stronger at this point than the pull of Meth.

The triggers may still be there occasionally, but I am in a much better frame of mind these days to know the consequences of my actions. When I was using meth, there was nothing on my mind but getting high. I have a lot more positive elements in my life that help me stay on the right track.

Keeping yourself on track is going to be a huge part of your daily life. It takes a lot of work to reach a comfortable level of recovery. It’s something that’s worth celebrating every day.

When you are ready to take on the battle and follow through with it you will find the outcome very rewarding. Once you know you want to get clean, you will be coming from the best possible place.

What is Meth Mouth?

What is Meth Mouth

Meth Mouth

Many people are surprised to find that bad breath is a common consequence of drug abuse. We talk extensively about the physical and mental health impairments related to drug abuse. But these are not the only impairments that we have to worry about. 

Oral problems, including bad breath, are particularly common among meth users. Users call this meth mouth. Meth mouth is characterized by damage in and around the mouth, to the teeth and gums, and the lips. 

What Causes Meth Mouth?

What Causes Meth Mouth

Meth mouth occurs for several different reasons. Neglected oral hygiene is one of the most common. Drugs as powerful as meth can make you forgetful, sleepy, and distracted. It is unlikely that someone on meth will remember to properly take care of themselves. 

In addition to a poor diet and a lack of exercise and proper hydration, the oral hygiene habits of drug users often suffer. It is easy to forget to regularly floss and brush your teeth when you are under the influence of an overwhelming substance. 

Meth also causes dry mouth, a significant contributor to developing cavities and eroding gums. It is acidic, which damages the teeth more directly. And it can make you crave sugar and grind or clench your teeth.

These are the primary drivers of meth mouth: poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, acidic erosion, sugar cravings, grinding and clenching your teeth. The symptoms of meth mouth can be a source of insecurity, discomfort, or even pain. 

Meth and Bad Breath

Bad breath in meth users is caused by dry mouth and poor oral hygiene. But bad breath is only the start of meth mouth. What’s more concerning are the side effects that come next. These side effects can be mild to severe, depending on the level of use and other individual factors. 

They can also occur both inside and outside of the mouth. Damage to the lips, tongue, cheeks, and gums is common. It is not just your breath or your teeth that suffer when you use meth. There is no safe way to use meth. Using meth will always put your oral, mental, and physical health at risk. 

Other Symptoms of Meth Mouth

Dry or cracked lips, damaged gums, tooth decay, cavities, and missing teeth are all common among meth users. In one study, medical professionals examined the mouths of 571 meth users. They found that nearly everyone in the study had poor oral health. 

Among them, the three most common oral health impairments were cavities (present in 96% of participants), untreated tooth decay (58%), and at least six missing teeth (31%). Meth mouth is often one of the most apparent physical changes that occur when a person uses meth. 

Dentists often characterize meth mouth by the presence of severe tooth decay and gum disease. This combination often causes teeth to break, blacken, rot, crumble, or fall out. Lesions are also typical among meth users. 

These side effects are often apparent from the outside. Meth users often experience alterations to their facial features, as well as skin damage. The sunken look that accompanies meth use is one of the most obvious signs of trouble. 

How Common is Meth Use?

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II drug. This means that it is too dangerous for medical use and has a high potential for abuse and severe dependence. But this classification has done little to curb meth use over the years. 

In 2017, roughly 1.6 million people reported using meth in the past year. Most users tried meth after becoming addicted to prescription opioids. One study confirmed that this connection was present in 80% of participants. 

Other Side Effects of Meth Use

Learning about the effects of meth is an important step in keeping ourselves and each other safe. Meth mouth is a common and concerning condition among users. But there are other side effects that you should also be aware of. 

Aside from meth mouth, some of the most common side effects of meth use include: 

  • Weight loss 
  • Body tremors
  • Increased or irregular heartbeats 
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Insomnia 
  • Anger
  • Anxiety 

These side effects can vary depending on many individual factors. The method of use, frequency, mental health, and medical history of the user are some of the most impactful. Some side effects are specific to certain methods of drug abuse. 

For example, injecting meth comes with the additional risks of collapsed veins, infections at the injection site, and HIV from shared needles. Snorting meth can damage the nasal cavity and sinuses, causing issues like loss of smell and painful nosebleeds. 

Over time, more troubling side effects become more likely. These include potentially fatal health problems, like central nervous system damage, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, and overdoses. But you do not have to live in constant fear of the impacts of your meth use. Help is available. 

How to Prevent Meth Mouth

Preventing meth mouth comes down to altering your habits. There is no foolproof way to prevent meth mouth while you continue to use meth. These oral health impairments will always be linked to meth use, and they will only get worse the longer the abuse goes on. 

If you have already stopped using meth and want to prevent further damage, there are a few changes you can make. Building a healthier oral hygiene routine, staying properly hydrated, eating nutritious meals, avoiding excessive amounts of sugar, and checking in with your dentist are all good ideas. 

Treatment for Meth Mouth

Treatment for meth mouth can help reverse or improve the damage done. But meth addiction treatments should come first. After all, there is no point in improving your oral health without improving your habits. 

Once you have stopped using meth and developed a healthier routine, your dentist can help you determine which treatments will make the biggest difference. Depending on the level of damage, it may be as simple as brushing with a certain toothpaste, using a prescription mouthwash, avoiding sugar, drinking more water, and eating healthier meals. 

But for long-term users or users ingesting high volumes of meth, there may be more damage than can be undone with such simple changes. Our medical staff can help you analyze your options and find the right dental care provider. They will guide you from there. 

Getting Help for Meth Addiction

Getting Help for Meth Addiction

Recognizing that you need help is the first step in addiction recovery. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant. No one expects you to overcome it on your own. At Pathfinders, we understand how difficult it is to break the chains of addiction, and we are here to show you the way. 

At each step in your recovery journey, you will have access to the expert-level care, support, and guidance that you need. We will help you break down the barriers between this life and a healthy, happy, sober one. We will help you find a way to live that doesn’t involve meth or its many potential consequences. 

If you or someone you love needs help overcoming meth addiction, you have come to the right place. At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we believe in high-level, holistic, and personalized treatment programs. Call our addiction counselors at 866-576-4892 to get started building yours. 

Methamphetamine: How Bad Is It?

How Bad Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug with a widespread reputation for causing serious harm.

But does the drug deserve this reputation? Is it as bad as people say?

The simple answer to this question is yes.

Methamphetamine (also known as meth, crystal, glass, ice, and speed) can damage your health in many different ways.

One of its most well-known risks is addiction.

People who use the drug often can easily end up in an addictive cycle that is difficult to break.

But even if you do not get addicted, abuse of the drug can damage your mental and physical well-being. In a worst-case scenario, it can also kill you.

But rest assured, you are not doomed to suffer these kinds of tragic outcomes.

If you are abusing meth or addicted to the drug, you can break free with help from trained professionals.

No matter how hopeless you feel today, effective meth rehab will help you turn things around.

Methamphetamine: How Bad Is It? Pathfinders - A young man is sitting with an addiction specialist for an initial assessment to determine the appropriate, customized treatment plan for his methamphetamine addiction.

Methamphetamine Abuse

In the U.S., some people use a legally prescribed form of methamphetamine. However, the majority of users consume an illegal form of the drug. Any recreational form of drug use automatically qualifies as substance abuse. You can also abuse legal meth if you:

  • Take it without having a prescription
  • Consume it more often or in larger amounts than your doctor prescribed

Mental Impact of Abuse

Even without considering addiction, abuse of the drug can lead to serious mental health consequences. The worst of these consequences tend to affect long-term users. They include such things as:

  • Unusual outbursts of aggression or violence
  • Memory problems
  • Unpredictable mood changes
  • A reduced ability to focus attention
  • Problems thinking logically

But these are not the only potential effects. Some people also develop psychosis, a problem generally associated with serious illnesses like schizophrenia. Not all examples of psychosis are the same. However, its most typical symptoms include:

  • Paranoid and/or delusional thoughts
  • Sensory hallucinations
  • Involuntary, repeated muscle movements

 

It would be bad enough if you only experienced psychosis during active periods of drug use. However, for some people, the situation is far worse. Even after they quit taking methamphetamine, they still go through psychotic episodes. These episodes can continue to appear for years in some cases.

Physical Impact of Abuse

Over time, the drug can also seriously impact your physical health. For example, meth can change the structure of your brain. This fact helps explain at least some of the mental problems linked to the drug. In some cases, meth-related brain damage is permanent. Long-term users may also experience serious or permanent damage to their:

  • Hearts
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Liver

Another potential impact is extremely high blood pressure. In turn, this problem can lead to fatal strokes or heart attacks.

Even with all of this, there are more physical problems linked to the drug. One of these problems is advanced dental damage, often known as “meth mouth.” Common symptoms of meth mouth include:

  • Decaying teeth
  • Stained or discolored teeth
  • Diseased gums
  • Pain in your jaw’s joints and muscles

Because of changes in their diet, many long-term users are malnourished and lose lots of weight. You may also develop itchy skin, and some people scratch with enough force to cause significant skin damage.

 

Immediate Placement in Methamphetamine Rehab – Get Help Now

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Methamphetamine Addiction

Methamphetamine shares a major danger with the stimulants cocaine and amphetamine. Namely, it can serve as a powerful source of drug addiction. Addiction happens when your brain comes to depend on the drug, and you feel compelled to seek it out.

When you started using crystal, you almost certainly had no interest in getting addicted. Instead, you turned to the drug because you wanted, in your way, to feel better. Nevertheless, every time you get high, your chances of addiction go up.

In fact, compared to amphetamine and cocaine, meth may pose an even greater risk. This is true, in part, because the drug produces stronger feelings of pleasure. In addition, its effects do not last for long. Together, these two facts increase the odds you will try to get high repeatedly, even in short spans of time. This is a custom-made recipe for the rapid production of drug addiction.

 

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Mental Illness

On its own, meth addiction is a form of a mental illness called stimulant use disorder. However, people who abuse methamphetamine also have higher risks for other kinds of mental illness. In addition to schizophrenia, the list of potential conditions includes:

  • Bipolar disorders
  • BPD or borderline personality disorder
  • Major depression and other depressive illnesses
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Anxiety-related conditions, like generalized anxiety disorder

This does not necessarily mean that your drug problems led to your other mental health problems. This may be true for some people. However, there are many possible explanations for your situation. For example, you may have developed a mental illness before you got involved in substance abuse. Still, the overall danger is clear. People who abuse drugs or alcohol are affected by mental illness at an unusually high rate.

 

Methamphetamine Overdose

Like a wide range of other substances, crystal and other forms of meth can trigger an overdose. Why? Because they have the potential to overwhelm your system and stop it from working as it should. The drug causes about 15% of all fatal overdoses in the U.S. Some people die as a result of a stroke. Others die from heart attacks. You are especially at risk if you also abuse an opioid drug or medication.

 

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Meaningful Treatment is Available

Given all of these dangers, it is easy to see methamphetamine is as bad as experts say. However, this does not mean that problems related to the drug are untreatable. There are effective ways to recover from addiction and make a substantial return to health. This fact holds true regardless of how long you have abused meth or been addicted.

The best possible way to stop abusing the drug is to enter a supervised detox program. Detox will give you the tools to halt your substance use and cope with meth-related withdrawal. These tools include forms of care, such as:

  • Making sure you get enough fluids
  • Taking steps to improve your nutritional health
  • Tracking your heart rate and other vital signs

Once you get the drug out of your system, you can start active rehab. Drug rehab for methamphetamine is based on the use of behavioral therapy. That is the name for therapy that helps you make major changes in your everyday behavior. Such changes include:

  • Understanding why you get drug cravings
  • Recognizing the signals of an increase in your desire to get high
  • Coping with your urges and remaining drug-abstinent

Methamphetamine: How Bad Is It? Pathfinders - A group of individuals attending a residential rehab for methamphetamine addiction is engaging in a group therapy session, where they are showing their support for new group members that have recently entered treatment for meth abuse.

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Seek Methamphetamine Treatment Today

Meth can leave you feeling so damaged that recovery seems almost impossible.

But no matter how convinced you are, the facts do not support this point of view.

Every day, people are affected by the drug enter treatment programs.

And once in treatment, they take the steps needed to make a return to sobriety more than just a dream.

Without a doubt, it can be challenging to overcome a methamphetamine problem.

But you do have options for moving forward.

Need help getting started? Just contact the professionals at Pathfinders.

We specialize in supporting the recovery needs of people just like you.

With our assistance, sobriety is within reach.