Rehab for First Responders

Rehab for First Responders

First responders, including law enforcement officers, search and rescue teams, firefighters, and emergency medical services teams (dispatchers and ambulance workers), are some of the first to step on the scene of disaster, accident, or emergency. These scenes present some of the most dangerous and emotionally demanding situations possible.

As a first responder, you often interact with victims needing immediate care, life support, or urgent medical help. As a first responder, your duty further involves giving emotional support to disaster survivors. In the face of these emotionally draining situations, first responders’ training requires them to maintain composure despite these demands.

A 2018 report on the mental health of responders claims that emergency medical personnel, firefighters, and police officers carry a 70%  higher mortality risk compared to workers who are non-first responders. Due to frequent exposure to work-related traumatic events, first responders are likely to develop mental health issues. Generally, the prevalence of sleep disorders, behavioral health issues, anxiety, and PTSD among first responders is greater than among the general populace.

As a first responder, or with a loved one serving in the role, you may already be familiar with these facts. Now keep reading to find out why Pathfinders should form the front line of your efforts to get lasting relief from alcohol and/or drugs!

Identifying Mental Health Issues in First Responders

Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders are often people with high-level self-esteem and are performance-driven. A first responder’s motivation is to do well and get the desirable results.

Some first responders may start to interpret issues with feelings of anxiety, isolation, or flashback as signs of weakness and may feel embarrassed to share these feelings with family or friends. In many cases, they may opt to internalize these feelings, eventually resulting in behavioral health issues. If this goes unchecked, it may lead to increased feelings of depression, leading to burnout on the job.

Here are common mental health issues among first responders:

Depression in Emergency Response Teams

Depression in Emergency Response Teams

Depression is a commonly reported mental illness issue in first responders’ professions. A case-controlled study on medical team workers who responded to the 2011 Japan earthquake indicated that 21.4% of the team suffered clinical depression.

First responders battling depression may experience feelings of sadness. They may find little or no pleasure in jobs they used to enjoy. These emotions can negatively affect their energy levels and overall well-being. Some common signs of depression may include:

1. Extreme fatigue

First responders work long shifts, but extreme fatigue may signify depression. If you’re having trouble remaining awake even after a night of good sleep, it could be depression. The key here is to identify if there’s a pattern linked to this behavior.

2. An overwhelming feeling of hopelessness or sadness

One of the most difficult things to accept as a first responder is a reality that you won’t be able to save everyone. While most first responders come to terms with this reality, those battling depression may have increased feelings of hopelessness or sadness.

3. Loss of Enthusiasm

First responders look forward to making a difference every day. However, depression can turn this enthusiasm into dread. When you find yourself starting to take unplanned off days, enthusiasm may be fading away.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Changes of appetite
  • Unexplained body aches or fatigue
  • Having difficulty making choices or focusing
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Behavioral concerns

 

People that are battling depression experience difficulty controlling negative, repetitive thoughts. The good news is that; depression can be treated. If you or your loved one is struggling with this mental health issue, it’s essential to seek help.

Substance Abuse in First Responder Professions

There’s sadly a close connection between drug and alcohol addiction and the life of first responders. Exposure to traumatic scenes while on duty can lead to the development of behavioral disorders. One such behavioral disorder is alcohol use disorder.

Its reported alcohol abuse among first responders is greater than that of the general population. First responders use alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism.

First responders who develop substance abuse might show abrupt changes in their behavior, and these negative changes can impact their self-esteem and motivation.

What are the Warning Signs of Substance Abuse?

Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

Some of the warning signs include:

  • Unexplained absence from work
  • Inability to focus or forgetfulness
  • Hyperactivity or extreme lethargy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Challenges with physical co-ordination

 

Many first responders suffering from alcohol use disorder experience social stigma. In most cases, they fear being judged if discovered. With the right care and support, sustained recovery is entirely possible.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in First Responders

Considering the severity and frequency of traumatic scenes, it’s not shocking that first responders face a significant risk of suffering PTSD.

Occupational-specific risk factors that contribute to PTSD among first responders include:

  • Hostile occupational environments including risk for physical injury and exposure to excessive smoke, heat, or fire.
  • Traumatic events encountered on the line of duty
  • Types of traumatic events
  • Routine occupational stress
  • Lack of adequate workplace social support
  • Irregular sleep patterns may compromise resilience in the face of a traumatic experience.

 

PTSD is a severe mental health condition that can impact every aspect of a first responder’s life. A Journal of Emergency Medical Services report claims that PTSD is heavily unreported among the first responders’ community because it’s regarded as a weakness.

Common signs of PTSD among first responders include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lack of interest at work
  • Intrusive dreams, flashbacks, or memories of a specific incident
  • Distancing from family and friends
  • Overwhelming fear
  • A feeling of guilt or self-esteem
  • Inability to focus
  • Increased substance abuse
  • Self-destructive or dangerous behavior

Is Rehab Important for First Responders?

Getting specialized treatment for first responders is essential for recovery. A responder addiction treatment program helps those who have suffered work-related traumatic events quickly get the help they need. The program addresses underlying mental health issues and shapes the path to sustained recovery.

Pathfinders Recovery Centers use an integrated addiction treatment approach that combines licensed professionals from different backgrounds to treat a first responder. These specialists form a multidisciplinary team that meets to discuss patients’ treatment targets and progress and then meets separately with the patient to discuss specific issues during admission process.

The multidisciplinary team can include therapists, counselors, physicians, and other specialists who combine their expertise to offer best treatment for first responders. The drug and alcohol addiction treatment process starts with an overall assessment by trained professionals such as psychologists to evaluate you at all levels, effectively diagnose underlying issues, and develop a holistic addiction treatment for you.

Mental health condition treatment is a long-term commitment, and it’s overall in nature since it addresses your social, psychological, and physical needs. This means that addiction treatment for first responders will often include medications, therapy, family support, and other necessary interventions. For patients with co-occurring PTSD and behavioral health disorders, the first treatment steps would most likely involve using a medical detox program followed by an intensive outpatient or inpatient program.

Using medications for addiction treatment can help the patient get through chronic pain, reduce cravings and manage symptoms like anxiety. However, medications don’t address the underlying causes of first responders’ co-occurring disorders and can’t prepare them for behavior adjustments.

Specific Treatment Goals for First Responders

Treatment Goals for First Responders

  • Helping first responders express their needs in a way that doesn’t make them feel inadequate or exposed
  • The development of interests and hobbies outside of work to help first responders deal with work-related traumatic events
  • The development of a reliable social support system that can assist first responders
  • Continued support after the program enables first responders to identify signs of substance use disorders and traumatic stress.

 

Responders with co-occurring PTSD and alcohol use disorder need to remain in the responders addiction treatment program long enough to attain the necessary skills to avoid relapse. For sustained recovery, it’s essential to identify situations that can increase the possibility of relapse and recognize the signs of relapse.

How Can You Support a Loved One Struggling with a Mental Health Issue?

If your loved one is struggling with one of these first responder mental health issues, you can help them by being there for them.

Here are some tips:

#Tip 1- Listen to Them

Sometimes, your loved ones don’t know if they need help. It’s difficult for most first responders to accept that they have a mental health problem. If your loved one is having a hard time, sit down and listen to them.

#Tip 2 Seek Help

Don’t be ashamed to seek professional help. It’s okay to be uncomfortable when you shift position from a person giving help to one receiving it. If you join our first responders’ addiction treatment center program, you can view it as another professional network designed to help you exceed in your position even more than you currently do.

Start Your Healing Journey Today at Pathfinders

If you or your loved one needs help, Pathfinders Recovery Centers (AZ &CO) is here for you. Our top-notch mental health and addiction treatment center is the right place to start your healing journey. Enjoy a stress-free first responder addiction treatment program as you receive a personalized responders addiction treatment plan.

Contact us today if you’re ready to break free from a dangerous chain of substance abuse. We look forward to welcoming you.

Can You Overdose on Meth?

What are Methamphetamines

Meth is a substance that many people are familiar with. It has been used recreationally for a long time. It’s among the most affordable and accessible drugs on the market. But this accessibility has the unspoken side effect of making it easy to take as much as you want. Meth overdoses are shockingly uncommon, and they have spiked recently. Methamphetamine deaths due to overdose more than tripled between 2015 and 2019.

Read on to learn more about protecting yourself from meth overdose, and how to find effective forms of treatment that can help you put aside crystal for good!

What are Methamphetamines?

Methamphetamines, also known as crystal meth or “meth” for short, is a powerful stimulant that can be harmful to the user and those around them. Methamphetamine is a Schedule II stimulant or controlled substance. This means it has a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Methamphetamine has no accepted medical use in the United States. It affects the central nervous system and increases energy and alertness. Other effects include irregular heartbeat and blood pressure, fast breathing, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, irritability, and mood issues.

Meth and Substance Abuse: Proven Risks

Methamphetamine can cause serious health consequences and even death. It is highly addictive and can cause permanent brain damage, cardiac arrest, liver failure, increased blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, kidney failure, memory loss, anxiety, and depression. In addition, meth users are at high risk for other serious consequences such as hepatitis B or C, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and dental problems like gum disease or tooth decay (this is also colloquially known as “meth mouth”).

Methamphetamine and other drugs like it also change how the body makes serotonin – a chemical that regulates moods – which can lead to violent behavior and hallucinations. Methamphetamine users who use it as a recreational drug will often become paranoid and aggressive when they use the drug because their bodies do not produce enough natural serotonin anymore. This may make them behave violently toward others or themselves (e.g., suicide attempts).

The truth is that drug abuse in and of itself is commonly viewed as a public health problem. The health risks and mental degradation that often accompanies long-term drug use often can be life-threatening and result in permanent damage.

Without the intervention of treatment and professional medical attention, these dangerous chemicals can be fatal to persons who find themselves unable to halt their usage.

Who is At Risk of Meth Addiction?

Methamphetamine is an incredibly dangerous illicit drug that can lead to addiction very quickly. Abuse of this stimulant drug causes mental and physical changes that make it difficult for users to stop meth use without help.

What are the risk factors for meth addiction? Knowing them may allow for early intervention when it comes to meth use and being able to spot people most at risk of falling victim to this illicit substance.

Genetic History – A family history of meth use, or even other stimulants, can make a person further down the genetic line predisposed to addiction. This is one of the most statistically trackable risk factors. Much the same way that a person with a family history of heart failure is genetically more at risk for that condition, a family history of crystal meth can render generations down the road at risk.

Co-Existing Conditions – Persons with co-existing mental health conditions are often at risk of falling into drug abuse. People with chronic anxiety and depression are chief in that category. This comes from a desire and an aim to try to self-medicate.

Often these people are simply trying to address the pain of their existence at the moment and are not thinking of the other health effects that accompany the drug use. Neurodivergent persons may fall into this category. However, it must be stated that, specifically with regard to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, there is a false belief and stigma associated with medication subscribed for ADHD.

The typical stimulant which is medically associated with that condition, methylphenidate, is commonly associated with being equivalent to methamphetamines. It is not. This stigma, ironically enough, can result in neurodivergent persons seeking to medicate appropriately and safely running into logistical or societal blockades.

Environmental Factors – This can be anything from the physical environment, to stress factors, to isolation. Factors in one’s life and environment can push persons towards seeking, in extreme cases, intense forms of escapism in the form of a drug habit. From a socioeconomic point of view, it is important to keep in mind that research has shown that regions with lower-income, poverty, and economic/environmental hardships also correlate with increased drug consumption.

What are The Signs of Meth Addiction?

Signs of Meth Addiction

Meth causes the brain to release abnormally high levels of dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter that plays a role in motivation, pleasure, and reward. When this happens, users experience feelings of euphoria and energy.

At first, meth tends to make people feel more alert, energetic and sociable. But it also makes them anxious and paranoid. After a while, they may develop sleeping problems or lose interest in eating or having sex. They may have trouble keeping up with their responsibilities at work or school and begin to neglect family members or friends.

Meth Addiction Symptoms at a Glance

Some of the signs of meth addiction, at a glance, are:

  • Psychotic symptoms, in the form of violent episodes, including threatening people and breaking things in the home
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of interest in appearance or hygiene
  • Irritability, restlessness, and anxiety or panic attacks
  • Insomnia (sleeping too much) or hypersomnia (sleeping too little)
  • Anorexia (loss of appetite) or bulimia (binge eating followed by purging)

Methamphetamine Overdose: The Facts

A meth overdose occurs when someone uses too much of the drug and has life-threatening symptoms that are severe enough to risk or cause death. Drug overdose is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths have increased every year since 2002.

Meth Overdose by the Numbers

In 2016 alone, more than 63,600 Americans died from drug overdoses — up from 52,400 in 2015. These numbers include both prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin. Methamphetamine use and, subsequently, methamphetamine overdose has been rising in recent years, partially because it’s easy to find and cheap compared to other drugs like cocaine or heroin. The possibility of meth overdose depends on many factors, including the person’s approximate age and amount of the drug taken.

Methamphetamine is also dangerous because too much meth can cause an increase in body temperature and heart rate, which can lead to stroke or heart attack. In fact, according to a study published by the CDC in 2018:

  • People who use meth are over three times more likely than non-users to die prematurely from any cause other than injury or homicide
  • The odds of premature death by meth overdose are even higher when you look only at deaths due to cardiovascular disease
  • Meth users are twice as likely as people who don’t use meth to die from cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure or heart attack

 

What are the warning signs of meth overdose, then? How can you notice when this might be about to happen, to take action? Meth overdose symptoms may include:

  • Tremors or twitching
  • Rapid or Irregular heartbeat
  • Acute memory loss
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation or aggression
  • Seizures

 

If you believe you’re witnessing a meth overdose or are about to witness one, the first step would be to call the emergency services and get urgent medical help. Stay with the overdose victim and keep them calm to prevent injury until emergency care arrives.

The Benefits of Getting Addiction Treatment for Meth

Addiction Treatment for Meth

Meth overdose is an acute risk of the substance, but that aside, the havoc the habit can wreck on a person’s life, as well as other health consequences associated with it, are enough to justify aggressive medical treatment for the habit. Addiction treatment is perhaps the most important thing that can be done to avoid the risk of meth overdose for someone struggling with the habit.

The treatment process can help with a myriad of health issues. More importantly, overdose is not something to take lightly. If not handled correctly, an experience like that can be final, fatal, and tragic, with no way to walk away from it.

The Treatment Options for Meth Abuse

The addiction treatment process is critical, not just for those at risk of a chronic methamphetamine overdose but anyone suffering from the habit. Treatment starts with detox to rid the body of the dependency on the substance, thus dramatically cutting the risk of overdose to virtually zero. From there, treatment includes therapy to deal with the underlying issues that led to the addiction in the first place.

Much of the drug dependency can be down to feelings of isolation which is why support groups are often heavily utilized in addiction treatment. These support groups can erode much of the stigma persons struggling with drug habits may feel.

Seek treatment for meth addiction today!

If you or a loved one are struggling with a meth or substance abuse habit, contact Pathfinders Recovery Centers! The risk of meth overdose is not something to take lightly.

Reach out to our Admissions staff today, our professional team is standing by and ready to help you take that first step away from addiction and the risk of overdose. Give yourself the break you deserve and reach out now!

Al-Anon 12 steps

Al-anon 12 steps

Al-Anon is a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics that was established in 1951. Sixteen years after her husband created Alcoholics Anonymous, Lois Wilson (often known as Lois W.) created Al-Anon. She founded the group after experiencing firsthand the challenges faced by those who care for a family member or friend with an alcohol use disorder.

Support for Al-Anon comes solely from member contributions. Even if the addict in your life hasn’t yet found sobriety, you may still find support and learn how to best assist them by attending a meeting. Al-Anon’s goal is to help its members feel less alone by showing them they aren’t facing their problems alone.

Keep reading to find out more about the steps involved in Al-Anon and what you can do to help both yourself and a loved one who is struggling with alcohol and/or drug use.

Addiction and Alcoholism as a Family Disease

Because of the devastating effects, alcoholism can have on both the alcoholic and their loved ones, Al-Anon approaches the problem as one that affects the entire family. Recuperating successfully requires a strong network of loved ones and friends.

Some loved ones may place the blame for their alcoholic relative’s drinking on themselves, or they may not comprehend why their relative isn’t making recovery a top priority. These topics are discussed at meetings, along with the concept of alcoholism as a genetic disease and its effects on family members.

While technically Al-Anon is centered only around those whose loved ones have issues with drinking and does not encompass drug use, in reality there is not a clear distinction for most Anon groups.

If your loved one tends more toward drug use, and your area has Nar-Anon meetings, these can be another helpful resource for support, while still firmly based on the twelve step philosophy.

What Happens at a Meeting?

Anyone who another person’s drinking or drug use has harmed is welcome to attend Al-Anon sessions. Al-Anon is there to support you if you are concerned about an alcoholic or an alcoholic’s lifestyle affecting you.

Due to uncertainty about the nature of the initial gathering, some potential attendees may be unwilling to show up. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about going to a meeting:

  • Firstly, Al-Anon is a completely confidential organization.
  • Every individual attending an Anon meeting has been directly or indirectly impacted by drinking or drug use by a loved one/
  • It is recommended, but not needed that everyone stands out and shares their struggles.
  • Various kinds of gatherings exist. It’s possible that some will be more useful to you than others.
  • The fellowship as a whole, known as Al-Anon, has no religious affiliations. However, the basis is on a type of spiritual awakening or acceptance of a higher power being in control. There is certainly a primary spiritual aim regarding the 12-Step Program.
  • The meetings are based on Al-Anon’s twelve steps.

Participants in Al-Anon sessions are encouraged to “take what you want and leave the rest.” Instead of lecturing attendees on what they should do, meetings become opportunities to reflect and commiserate on how best to remain healthy while dealing with a loved one’s drinking.

What Are the 12-Steps?

What Are the 12-Steps

These are the steps, word-for-word, from the original and official 12-Steps of Al-Anon:

  1. “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” —You must learn that alcohol abuse is a disease that ran your life.
  2. “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” —Participants drive themselves to the breaking point trying to change something in a loved one’s personality. When you admit you’re powerless, your higher power will bring you back to sanity.
  3. “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” —You must learn to let go and accept in order to heal.
  4. “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” —You must make a list of things you’ve done to harm family and friends. This is done through a deeply personal self-assessment.
  5. “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” —Each member must dive into their memory bank and analyze every act of wrongdoing.
  6. “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” —This step is very important, as it is the full acceptance of the recovery process supported by a Higher Power.
  7. “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.” —This part of the 12 Steps helps members understand how they may have been controlling or judgmental toward an addict and how that is counterproductive.
  8. “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” —Oftentimes, making amends starts with yourself. Many people blame themselves for their loved one’s addiction. They must be willing to forgive themselves and make amends. In the future, when wrong, promptly admitted mistakes and slipups lead to less damage.
  9. “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” —After you are willing to make amends, the next step is to take action.
  10. “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” —Going through the 12 Steps is a process that takes time. Although members have already made an inventory, slipping up is normal. Step 10 recognizes this is an ongoing process.
  11. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” —This is a personal, spiritual step that encompasses acceptance and comfort amid the stress of recovery.
  12. “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” —The last step is a realization that the member’s journey is not over. Members are then encouraged to support other members with what they’ve learned by passing their knowledge on during future alcoholics anonymous meetings.

Other Al Anon Groups

Additional Al Anon Groups exist that practice Al Anon’s twelve steps or focus on addiction treatment. Through these al anon meetings, family members and other individuals, such as the children of those going through alcohol abuse, may participate and maintain personal anonymity.

Meetings are also crafted for adolescents, known as Al-A-Teen, are al anon meetings for teenagers and young people to take personal inventory of where they stand in addiction treatment and gauge the exact nature of their alcohol abuse challenges. These additional al anon entities are a part of a broader family known as Al Anon Family Groups.

What can you expect from an al anon meeting? In the section below, you’ll find example topics of discussion during a normal al anon meeting.

All Our Affairs: Topics of Al Anon Meetings

Topics of Al Anon Meetings

Topic discussions are the norm in Al-Anon Family Group and standard Al-Anon sessions. This implies the meeting’s chairman will select a subject matter linked to their own personal experience coping with an alcoholic loved one. It is not uncommon for the chairman to solicit ideas for topics from the audience.

Participants in the meeting can then share their knowledge, courage, and optimism about the chosen topic.

The Reasons For and Causes of Alcoholism

Realizing that alcoholism is a disease helps shed light on the alcoholic’s repeated attempts to kick the habit, only to relapse a few days later. Learn more about it.

Dealing With Anger at an Alcoholic

You and your family members may receive conflicting messages on handling rage. Do certain family members get to let off steam, while you’re admonished to keep your cool? At Al-Anon, you learn that anger is a natural and normal emotion. It’s fine to feel rage; the important thing is to figure out how to channel it constructively.

Altering Perspectives on Alcohol

In the Al-Anon meeting’s opening statement, “So much depends on our own attitudes, and as we learn to set our issue in its real perspective, we discover it loses its ability to dominate our thoughts and lives.” Which mindset is ruling your daily activities?

Enabling Alcoholic Behaviors

It’s possible that your well-intentioned attempts to aid the alcoholic instead encourage the person to keep up their destructive patterns.

Confronting Uncertainty

The ideas discussed and practiced in Al-Anon Family Groups can be useful for adapting to the inevitable and, at times, dramatic shifts that occur in everyone’s lives. You may not be able to change the conditions much, but you can change your attitude about the problem.

Detachment with Compassion

It might be challenging to master the art of detachment. Do you want to be the one to step in and rescue the day when a person with alcohol use disorder has a crisis? This could be the last thing you should do if you want that individual to finally ask for assistance.

Unrealistic Expectations and Managing Them

When dealing with a loved one with an alcohol use issue, are your expectations too high? If you don’t learn to adapt your expectations to be more aligned with reality, you may end up feeling disappointed and frustrated.

Powerlessness Over Alcohol

Powerlessness Over Alcohol

You may have joined Al-Anon believing the entire time that there was something you could do to make the alcoholic realize there was a problem and seek help. The first step is realizing you can’t control your drinking.

Mind Your Own Business

In Al-Anon, members are reminded that they are not responsible for the drinking habits of their loved ones. Embarrassment and humiliation are not yours; they are theirs to bear because of their actions. It is not a reflection on your worth as a parent, friend, husband, or sponsor if they make “poor” decisions.

They should be allowed to learn from their own errors. You can only contribute effectively by speaking up and sharing your wisdom, fortitude, and optimism when the time is right.

Day by Day: The Only Way to Live

The tagline “one day at a time” may sound like just another overused adage, yet it has a lot of insight in its reminder to focus on the now rather than dwelling on the past or imagining the future.

Find Lasting Addiction Recovery at Pathfinders

If you are looking for a treatment center that can support your loved one in addition to getting help from a 12-Step Al Anon program, look no further than Pathfinders Recovery Centers in Colorado and Arizona.

Pathfinders takes a different approach to healing and believes that alcohol and other substance abuse issues are best treated through evidence-based avenues, the treatment of underlying mental health disorders, and a holistic healing environment.

Contact a member of our warm and welcoming Admissions team today to learn more about how we can help your loved one begin a lasting recovery journey of their own!

 

Friends of Bill W

Friends of Bill W

In the early stages of your sobriety journey, you may decide to enroll in a 12-step fellowship, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. There is a whole new way of thinking and making decisions that come with recovery, and there is also what may seem like a whole new language to learn: “AA jargon,” like the term ‘friends of Bill W.’

William Griffith Wilson, also known as Bill Wilson, or “Bill W.,” and co-founder Bob Smith, or “Bob,” are the originators of several AA terminologies, sayings, and expressions. Since the group’s inception, several idioms have emerged, including the association with Bill W that has become synonymous with membership, especially as shorthand on cruise lines and ships.

Keep reading for our guide to what 12-step programs offer as well as a helpful resource for the AA jargon often used by members.

What Is AA Language?

Many expressions and idioms associated with sobriety may be found in AA and NA literature. They might be used by other 12-step groups that follow the AA paradigm. The AA jargon originated for several causes.

Phrases like “it works when you work it” is meant to serve as reminders of basic ideas for the group. Following the AA Traditions, the organization chooses to use phrases like “Friends of Bill W.” to ensure that its members’ anonymity is maintained.

You may learn the language of the organization and its members by looking at some real-life instances of the most popular AA jargon, and you may even be familiar with some sayings like, “One Day at A Time.’

Taking the Next Right Action

Participating and working the 12 Steps and regularly attending AA groups is known as the “Right Action.” More specifically, attending an AA meeting and participating with the help of a sponsor is considered the right action. At any given meeting, you’ll find many participants attending with their sponsors, who are in recovery themselves.

“Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Over a Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism” is the basic text of AA and is usually referred to as “The Big Book.” There are many inspiring accounts of AA members’ journeys to sobriety outlined within its pages.

Actions that are “correct” for AA members are those that are accomplished via working the steps. Following the Steps is meant to help one develop a more positive outlook on life, other people, and the recovery process as a whole. In an effort to alter a substance-abusing lifestyle, a shift in outlook and approach is essential.

Friends of Bill W. and Cruise Ships

Friends of Bill W. and Cruise Ships

The term “a friend of Bill W.” used in AA does not relate to anyone you may know in real life. Instead, it is a code term used to conceal the identities of the group’s participants. Why do individuals in recovery value anonymity so highly, and what does it entail exactly?

The anonymity of its members is one of AA’s core tenets. In a word, anonymity in AA meetings implies that everyone there will respect your privacy and keep whatever you say to themselves.

You may be asked if you know Bill W if you are seen loitering around the meeting place and peering through doors or windows.

The person asking you this code word is trying to determine whether you are truly seeking the AA meeting in a method that keeps your identity secret.

Originally, the term “friends of Bill W.” was used as a cruise compass to find meetings onboard cruise ships where members wanted to stay completely anonymous on vacation but still sneak in a meeting or two. Signage that indicates a meeting for ‘friends of Bill W’ can still be seen on cruise lines around the world, though the term is used somewhat less as many people proudly acknowledge their recovery and membership, even in otherwise Anonymous 12-step programs.

The Importance of Anniversaries and Birthdays in Sobriety

All recovery steps are celebrated as successes in AA and other 12-step programs. When a member of AA or NA reaches certain sobriety milestones, such as 30 days, 90 days, six months, etc., they get a “chip” as a physical reminder of their accomplishment.

The passage of another year signifies the occurrence of a “birthday.” The moderator of a meeting may inquire if someone is honoring one of these dates. At an alcoholics anonymous meeting, a “10th yearly birthday” is the anniversary of a person’s sobriety rather than their actual birth date. Thus, it’s understood that the individual has been sober for 10 years.

Importance of Anniversaries and Birthdays in Sobriety

In the Eastern part of the United States, anniversaries are more common than birthdays, so you might not hear much about a person’s “anniversary” instead of their “birthday.” Biological anniversaries are sometimes referred to as “belly button birthdays” to avoid confusion.

Old-Timers and The Traditions of the 12 Steps

The phrase “old-timer” is commonly used among AA group members, but you might be startled to learn that the person being referred to as such is actually rather young. That’s because the only factor that matters for determining whether or not someone is an old-timer in AA is how long they’ve been attending meetings and maintaining continuous sobriety.

A long-term AA member is a veteran of the program. These people may take up roles as meeting facilitators, sponsors, or event volunteers within the organization. Some long-time members can even recite large chunks of The Big Book verbatim.

Of course, there will always be some “old-timers” who have “been around the block,” so to speak, when it comes to AA recovery, so you might encounter an “old-timer” who is actually older. In such an instance, “a seasoned AA member” could be the most accurate description.

A Dry Drunk and the Importance of Active Participation

Addiction recovery communities outside of AA may find the phrase “dry drunk” unpleasant because it is not a clinical word. This word describes a person who has abstained from substance use but has taken no further measures toward recovery.

In an AA context, this might signify that the individual has ceased working the 12 Steps and attending meetings.

A “dry drunk” is someone who has stopped drinking or doing drugs but hasn’t changed their outlook on life or the way they think about things. When someone is in this mental state, they may have feelings of nostalgia, fixation, and a desire to reexperience the euphoric benefits of drug or alcohol usage.

Clinical research has confirmed that this is a real phenomenon that can occur during either the emotional or mental relapse stages. According to the research, when alcoholics relapse, it is a slow process that typically begins with thoughts and feelings of obsession with drugs or alcohol.

It Works If You Work It

Setting up chairs for AA Meeting

The “work” of AA revolves around the 12 Steps, a set of recovery principles. Using the AA fellowship, going through the 12 Steps, and living by the 12 Traditions of AA are all examples of “working it,” and the statement “it works if you work it” describes this process well. The “work” of AA includes not just meeting with other members but also performing acts of service to the community. Examples of this service include the following:

  • Community service (e.g., setting up chairs, making beverages, or other tasks required for a meeting)
  • Reaching out to fellow 12-steppers to aid a struggling newbie.
  • Meeting leadership
  • Accepting and supporting newcomers via sponsorship
  • Putting in a request to share your AA success story as a speaker

Step 13: A Step Better Left Alone

If you’re lucky enough to avoid having to go through Step 13 during your time in recovery, the expression simply refers to a sexual relationship between a seasoned AA member and a newcomer to the fellowship who has just discovered meetings.

Suffice to say, when you’re first becoming sober, it’s not a good idea to jump into a new romantic relationship.

Friends of Bill W. and Methods of Celebrating Fellowship

Whether it’s friends of Bill W. or another type of lingo used at get-togethers, if there’s one thing this “secret code” does besides maintain anonymity, it also promotes a higher level of support by creating a camaraderie. This gives people who join a new type of hope and a sense of accountability, as there’s a distinct feeling that they’re a part of something unique and special.

At Pathfinders Recovery, we use a similar mindset, organizing get-togethers in the form of a 12-Step Meeting, giving clients a chance to bond with peers, in addition to taking part in some type of spiritual or holistic experience.

Not only does this give clients a chance to bond with peers, but there’s additional expert advice available via group meetings you wouldn’t otherwise have access to with counselor meetings.

We would love to get you on board with our groundbreaking treatment program! To find out how we can help you on your path to recovery and lay a strong spiritual foundation, contact a member of our admissions team today.

 

Meth Comedown

Meth Comedown

The intense effects of methamphetamine have made it a popular drug of abuse. But the high from the drug does wear off eventually and is followed by what is called a “crash” or “comedown.”

What happens during a meth comedown and withdrawal, how long it lasts, and whether or not the unpleasant and sometimes hazardous symptoms may be lessened are all covered here.

Keep reading to find out how to best manage the crash after meth use, and find out more about effective forms of treatment as well!

What Is the Meth Comedown?

When the effects of a methamphetamine high wear off, those who are dependent on the substance may experience severe withdrawal, commonly known as a “comedown,” characterized by strong dysphoria, anxiety, and agitation.

“Binging,” or obsessively consuming meth repeatedly every several hours for 3-15 days at a time, is one way that many meth users try to prolong their high and delay the onset of their comedown. High-dose, frequent users have developed a high tolerance and may have switched to an administration method that produces an effect more quickly (i.e., smoking or injecting).

Extreme crystal meth use may lead to suffering from more severe withdrawal symptoms that persist for weeks. A person who has formed a dependency on meth will experience significant feelings of withdrawal when they ultimately quit usage, making the inevitable “crash” considerably worse than with infrequent or intermittent use.

After a binge lasting two or three days, the person will likely feel weary, dejected, and sleep for forty-eight hours. There may then be a time of chronic anhedonia or dysphoria, as well as a period of hunger and drug seeking. In addition, paranoia and irritability might occur at times.

What Are Crystal Meth Comedown Symptoms?

Crystal Meth Comedown Symptoms

Meth addiction has a very prolonged withdrawal process. Meth comedown symptoms and intense cravings follow periods of extended substance abuse. In many cases, meth addiction treatment is required for users experiencing worst-case scenarios.

The meth withdrawal phase typically lasts between two and three days. Anxiety, despair, weariness, and a general state of restlessness that may remind one of a hangover are all possible comedown symptoms for someone who has recently stopped using meth.

Meth addiction is notoriously difficult to break without medical assistance. Because of the brain’s chemistry changes to depend on the drug for dopamine, the comedown is mentally taxing.

Meth withdrawal has two distinct phases: the crash phase, which lasts just 1-3 days, and the acute phase, which lasts 7-10 days. When you stop using meth, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as extreme cravings for meth, changes in appetite, aches, pains, weariness, lethargy, disorientation, irritability, mood swings, sleeplessness, nightmares, anxiety, melancholy, and paranoia.

Meth Addiction: A Cycle of Binging and Crashing

After the effects of the first high wear off, users will often continue to take meth every few hours in an effort to recapture that original sensation of euphoria. Someone who uses meth on a regular basis may do so anywhere from once per day to six times per day.

This substance gets so addictive because, with each usage, there becomes less and less of a rush until soon there will be no rush at all. The binge stage of meth usage can last up to 15 days, and during that time, many users do not eat or sleep.

Meth usage progresses through a series of stages, the final one being the crash before the user enters the withdrawal phase. During this time, the person will experience tremendous fatigue and may need up to three days of sleep.

The Meth Addiction Withdrawal Timeline

Meth withdrawal has a chemical impact on the brain and body. Repeated usage over time can cause permanent changes in the brain’s biology, ultimately leading to physical dependence on the drug.

However, meth users can develop both physical AND psychological dependence on the drug. In other words, people may come to believe that they need to consume meth to maintain a healthy body or a level head.

If you’ve developed a physical tolerance to meth, you may have kept using it to avoid uncomfortable emotions. However, if you’re ready to kick your meth habit for good, you’ll need to quit ingesting the substance and seek addiction treatment services such as those at Pathfinders Recovery Centers.

Substance abuse and meth addiction treatment centers help users treat the factors behind abuse issues, finding the driving factors are often mental health disorders.

Immediately After Stopping Meth Use

This will initiate a period of physical and mental adjustment as your body adjusts to life without meth. The physical and emotional symptoms of this change can be terrifying. However, if you truly want to rid your life of meth, this is a crucial step.

The effects of meth can be felt for up to 12 hours after use. After 12 hours, your body will likely start experiencing withdrawal symptoms from meth. There are several stages to a meth comedown that can last anywhere from a few days to a week as your body readjusts to life without meth. What follows is a brief overview of the typical stages of the crystal meth withdrawal timeline:

24-Hours After Last Use

Your energy levels will be low, and you’ll feel fatigued and listless. You’ll probably sense a shift in mood, maybe bordering on irritation or agitation.

Second and Third Days

The worst of the withdrawal symptoms from meth typically occur during these days. Despite no longer being exhausted, your irritation level is certainly rising. Since your body is not used to functioning without the substance, huge chemical changes are going on within the body and mind.

You may have trouble focusing, have emotional ups and downs, and experience cognitive dissonance. While experiencing the worst effects of a meth comedown, people have trouble concentrating and remembering new information.

Days 4-7

In most cases, a week is all it takes to recover from a meth high. Physical withdrawal symptoms should ease, but psychological desires may linger for a while. People will still feel physically less anxious, but they will be more exhausted mentally due to sleep and appetite difficulties.

Post Acute Meth Withdrawal: After One Week

Meth Withdrawal Timeline

Meth withdrawal and recovery are extremely challenging for a number of reasons. After a week of comedown, most people experience a “crash.” This implies they are not just tired, but also devoid of any positive emotions.

Depression and anxiety can be particularly intense during this post-comedown period, and people may have to fight off intense urges to use the substance they know would help them feel better.

It’s not uncommon for meth users to have unpleasant dreams during the comedown. However, how long someone has been using meth, how often they use, and how much they use all contribute to the severity of the comedown.

Long-term users will have the most difficult comedowns since their bodies will go through severe withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly stop using the substance.

Luckily, certain evidence-based practices and remedies exist to help you recover and make it safely through the comedown process. Whether at Pathfinders Recovery Centers or another facility, make sure you take guard against relapse after detoxing from meth by using these measures as effectively and completely as possible.

Tips for Managing the Meth Comedown Period

Stay clean and off meth if you want to avoid the agony of withdrawal and comedown after meth usage. But desires and cravings for meth can be strenuous and demanding, especially in the initials days and weeks of stopping use.

However, with the correct support, such as that offered at Pathfinders, you should be able to get through the initial stages of withdrawal and remain drug-free, ultimately achieving full recovery.

Here are the most effective methods we know of to help you recover from meth abuse disorder and handle withdrawal and the meth comedown.

Get Professional Help

Effective Drug Treatment

Meth withdrawal symptoms are severe. Consult an addiction expert or a doctor if you have any doubts about your capacity to do it and succeed on your own.

With the guidance of a professional, someone going through meth withdrawal can learn to cope with the powerful and unpleasant sensations that arise during this time.

Be Sure to Eat and Stay Hydrated

One of the most crucial aspects of preparing for a meth comedown is maintaining a proper diet and hydration. Because meth can reduce appetite, long-term users may be malnourished and underweight.

Eat a healthy, balanced meal rich in calories, essential nutrients, and water to keep yourself healthy and hydrated.

Dehydration is a common symptom of meth comedown since meth is a diuretic, and staying hydrated can help mitigate other comedown symptoms, including headaches, exhaustion, and lethargy.

Regular Sleep Patterns

It is common knowledge that meth disrupts people’s sleeping patterns by its very nature as a powerful stimulant drug. Many people use it explicitly to remain up all night and to feel energized without the need for sleep. Restoring regular rest habits should be a priority as you begin the process of quitting drugs. Create a routine for your bedtime and commit to following it.

The ability to think clearly and actively engage in life increases with enough rest. Getting adequate sleep during meth comedown will help you resist the temptation to give in to cravings or relapse since well-rested people have superior impulse control.

Remain Occupied with Tasks and Activities

No matter what you do, the withdrawal symptoms from meth will be unpleasant. After the worst of the withdrawal symptoms have passed, keeping yourself occupied helps ease the remaining discomfort.

Making arrangements to see loved ones or work associates will help you forget about the pain you’re in temporarily. In contrast, allowing yourself to feel bored may trigger a need, so keeping your mind active with other people or activities will help you avoid thinking about, desiring, or returning to use.

Effects of Long-Term Crystal Meth Use

Effects of Long-Term Crystal Meth Use

Meth use can be attributed to a wide range of causes. Many people find that it helps them stay alert and concentrate better. Some people like the high it gives them since it’s enjoyable and euphoric. Some users enjoy the drug’s euphoric effects, while others appreciate how it reduces anxiety and opens them up to trying new, sometimes dangerous activities.

Meth may have various devastating effects on the body and the brain, but many individuals continue to use it despite this knowledge. Meth addicts often exhibit risky conduct. Those who use it may act violently or become enraged. Long-term addicts may also suffer paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and severe depression due to the drug’s effects on the brain.

Meth-induced psychosis is one of the worst mental side effects of long-term abuse. Individuals experience severe hallucinations and delusions. These may be auditory and visual in nature.

Physical dangers of long-term abuse include heart-related issues, stroke, blood pressure issues, and challenges related to blood vessel weakening. However, with the right treatment program, most of these symptoms may be reversed.

Long-Term Meth Recovery Is Possible at Pathfinders

With the right treatment team and a driven attitude towards sobriety, long-term recovery from meth comedown is possible. The final element in this equation is a strong support system, which can be achieved through support groups and the assistance of family post-treatment.

At Pathfinders Recovery Centers, we provide users with the tools they need to achieve long-term recovery from meth abuse disorder. Through a combination of treatment solutions and preparation for post-rehabilitation, our clients are well-prepared to battle the triggers that normally cause relapse and possess the proper knowledge and awareness to recognize the mental health disorders and symptoms that manifest and lead to potential failure.

With the help of our treatment team and their support system, most of our client’s successfully complete treatment and experience extended recovery. To learn more about our programs, contact a member of our admissions staff today!

 

PPO Insurance Rehab

PPO insurance rehab

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) forms of insurance is widely recognized as a superior alternative to health maintenance organization (HMO) and exclusive provider organization (EPO) plans.

In most cases, a referral from your primary care physician is not necessary when using a PPO health insurance plan to see a specialist. In other words, if you have PPO insurance, you can go to whatever doctor or “PPO insurance rehab” you like as long as they accept your plan.

Read on to learn why it’s important to take advantage of your PPO policy’s coverage for addiction treatment and how to do it in a way that protects your privacy and your health.

Will PPO Insurance Cover Substance Abuse Treatment?

PPO insurance plans, like those from most other carriers, often include coverage for a variety of drug and alcohol rehab centers. The reason for this is the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2006.

As a result of this legislation, mental health and substance abuse services are required to be included in health insurance plans. In most cases, your health insurance will cover a wide range of alcohol and drug rehab programs and levels of care. This includes medically-assisted detox, inpatient residential treatment, outpatient treatment programs, and partial hospitalization programs.

Although PPO plans may not provide complete coverage for an extensive rehabilitation stay, they can still help you save money and provide you more flexibility in choosing your healthcare providers and the course of treatment you want to follow.

Why Is PPO Coverage So Efficient for Substance Abuse Coverage?

Substance Abuse

People with substance abuse problems benefit greatly from the 24-hour supervision and rigorous program structure offered by inpatient and residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers.

By entering inpatient treatment, patients are shielded from the stresses and temptations of the outside world, which may otherwise threaten their sobriety. They will have a much lower chance of relapsing and will have an easier time recovering if this choice is made.

This level of drug and alcohol treatment will likely also include different behavioral treatments and holistic recovery services for people battling an underlying mental health challenge, as well as give a holistic approach to therapy for clients who wish to participate in a more natural option.

Many insurance companies, including a Preferred Provider Organization that yields PPO plans, will provide less coverage for inpatient treatment in light of these supplementary benefits. This implies that if you want to rehabilitate in a residential treatment center, you may have to pay more money out of pocket.

Does PPO Cover Outpatient Treatment?

A lot of people who are trying to overcome their addiction prefer to do it through outpatient programs. While less intensive and organized than inpatient treatments, PPO coverage expands with outpatient care, reducing the client’s out-of-pocket costs.

In addition, as you won’t have to relocate to attend treatment, you’ll be able to keep up with your obligations at home, work, and school while still getting the help you need for your substance abuse issue.

Group therapy, recovery support groups, and skill-building programs are common components of outpatient treatment plans. Care at this level may still need some out-of-pocket expenses, but it will be far more cost-effective than hospitalization.

How Long of a Stay Do PPO Plans Cover During Rehab?

PPO Plans

How long someone stays in rehab for substance abuse depends on several variables. Possible factors that may impede a person’s ability to recover from addiction include the severity of their condition, the nature of the treatment program, and any barriers they face on a personal level.

Many people lack the resources (both time and money) to get the help they need for their drug use disorder, which places them in a position where they cannot recover fully from their addiction. This might discourage people from getting help from professionals to solve their substance misuse problems.

Inpatient care typically lasts between 30 and 105 days, whereas outpatient programs often last around 120 days. Some patients, in their search for the most appropriate degree of care, go to both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers.

If the healthcare practitioner providing the therapy is not part of the insurance company’s network, the patient’s out-of-pocket expenses will likely exceed the maximum amount that the insurance company would pay. Insurance companies that operate on a PPO model may be more accommodating when it comes to covering addiction treatment.

In some cases, PPO insurance carriers will pay for detox, inpatient, and outpatient services from non-network treatment facilities, even if the patient’s private insurance company would not.

The client may be responsible for paying any additional fees that aren’t covered by insurance. Still, this will be far less expensive than providing healthcare with less adaptable insurance or no healthcare financing at all.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Coverage with a PPO Plan

Dual diagnosis therapy, or the combination of several behavioral and holistic treatments, is a crucial part of addiction treatment, as stated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).

This paves the way for healthcare practitioners to adopt a holistic view of their drug and alcohol addiction therapy, treating not just the addiction but also the factors that led to it.

Essential health benefits, such as dual diagnosis services and access to select deluxe treatments, may be included with these suppliers under a PPO insurance plan. These facilities will, of course, charge more than average for rehabilitation services.

This is because they will provide extra luxuries that may not be available through other treatment programs, such as diverse sporting services and facilities, equestrian therapy, art therapy, aromatherapy, and spa services.

While obviously more tempting and pleasant than other treatment centers may seem, luxury rehab facilities are not a necessary level of care for addiction recovery. Those without the financial means to pay for these luxuries can get by just fine with the basic levels of care.

Paying for Services Not Covered by PPO Insurance

Services Not Covered by PPO Insurance

Sadly, many alcoholics and addicts won’t get assistance because they can’t afford it. For this reason, a solid health insurance plan might be crucial to a person’s chances of beating their addiction for good.

However, it’s possible that some people won’t ever be able to afford dependable insurance. Fortunately, there are a number of options for covering the cost of professional substance misuse treatment that do not involve insurance or supplement what insurance does not cover.

Installment arrangements are by far the most common. These allow those in recovery to spread out the cost of their therapy over time, rather than having to come up with the full amount at once. This may be a huge relief to many people’s wallets as they attempt to pay for rehabilitation.

Another option is to ask close friends, relatives, or other loved ones to help out financially. A tight network of people who care about the individual’s well-being can lessen the financial burden of necessary medical care.

Having confidence in your ability to afford expert help to overcome drug and alcohol dependence by knowing what kinds of addiction treatment services are covered by your PPO insurance plan and how much coverage you will actually be able to obtain is crucial.

Getting Started With Insurance Coverage for Rehab

While each insurance provider has its own set of rules that must be met before they can issue a policy, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of being accepted.

If you do not yet have a PPO policy, the Affordable Care Act and the ACA Marketplace can be a good starting place for your search. When searching, remember that PPO insurance coverage is generally the best option for both in-network rehab options as well as an out of network provider.

Consult Your Physician

You can avoid unnecessary bother with your insurance provider by requesting a reference from your primary care physician to the institution of your choice.

Check Your Insurance

Although most rehabilitation centers take all major PPO plans, you should double-check that the facility you’re considering is indeed an in-network provider with your insurance company to avoid any unwanted out-of-network charges.

Even if rehab is not in your insurance network, you may still be eligible for some financial assistance. Your out-of-pocket costs can be determined with the aid of customer support.

Contact the Help Desk

Reviewing your documents alone may not always help you understand what is and is not covered. In this situation, feel free to call your insurance provider and ask any questions you may have, and remind them you would like to attend Pathfinders and find out any associated costs.

Our Admissions team is also always happy to assist with questions about your PPO insurance coverage and can let you know out-of-pocket costs within minutes.

Important PPO Insurance Coverage Terms to Remember

You should be able to grasp the language used by insurance companies in order to understand how to use your insurance to assist pay for rehabilitation treatments.

To help you better understand discussions regarding insurance, we’ve included definitions of several often used phrases below.

Deductible

You will have to pay this amount out of pocket before your insurance company begins paying anything. Payment of this amount is required in addition to your regular premium; your regular premium will not be deducted from this total.

In most plans, once you’ve met your yearly deductible, your insurance will begin paying a certain percentage of covered expenses.

Premium

This is the regular payment you make to keep your insurance in force. No, it won’t affect your deductible at all, as we’ve already established, but a PPO plan premium can tend to be a bit higher than other sorts of coverage.

Copay

A copayment, or “copay,” is a modest, predetermined sum of money that is due at the time of service. Depending on your insurance and the service you’ve requested for your visit, the fee might be anywhere from $5 to $75.

As with your premium, this contribution will not be applied to your yearly deductible.

Co-insurance

After your deductible is met, your insurance company will reimburse this amount. While some plans cover all of a patient’s expenses, others may only pay for a certain percentage, leaving the patient to foot the bill for the rest.

In-network

PPO Insurance Coverage Terms to Remember

Providers who are “in-network” with your insurance plan have bargained for lower fees on your behalf. In most cases, you may save the most money on medical treatment by sticking with providers that are part of your insurance network.

Out-of-pocket

You will frequently hear this as either “out-of-pocket expenses” or “out-of-pocket maximum.”

The term “out-of-pocket expenditures” describes the amount of money you will have to spend out of cash for medical treatment.

The greatest amount you’ll have to spend out of cash for medical care is known as the “out-of-pocket maximum.” After this limit is met, your PPO will pay 100% of the covered expenses.

An Addiction Treatment Center Made for Your Lasting Recovery

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, our program is covered by most major PPO providers. In addition, we also take a large range of different insurance plans, so we’re likely to cover the cost of your treatment.

For more information regarding coverage of your stay or to speak with our admissions team, contact Pathfinders Recovery today!

 

What Does Meth Look Like

What Does Meth Look Like

Identifying the Signs of Methamphetamine Use

Methamphetamine, or meth, is one of America’s most notorious addictive substances. Use and manufacture of the drug are depicted in TV shows and movies with some regularity. These portrayals sometimes take a romantic or glamorous form. However, there is nothing glamorous about meth use. Anyone who consumes the drug can suffer a variety of serious health harms. Those harms include addiction and overdose. They also include other kinds of potentially lasting damage to your mental and physical functions.

Concerned that someone you know is using meth? Awareness of what the drug looks like can help you spot a potential problem. Knowledge of meth’s characteristic odors can also be important. The same holds true for the settings in which manufacture and use of the drug often occur. If you notice any signs of meth consumption, it might be time seek help for your affected friend or loved one.

What Is Meth?

What is meth? In other words, how is meth categorized and classified by scientists and doctors? Methamphetamine belongs to the amphetamine family of substances. Like all amphetamines, meth is a stimulant. This means that it speeds up the usual rate of activity in nerve cells in your:

  • Brain
  • Spinal cord

Together, these two structures form your central nervous system. Meth also speeds up the activity rate in your sympathetic nervous system. This system triggers involuntary activation of your “fight-or-flight” response. Things affected by that response include your:

  • Heart rate
  • Core body temperature
  • Blood pressure
  • Digestive system
  • Level of sweat production

The vast majority of the meth distributed and sold in America is made illegally. A small percentage of the drug is sold legally as the medication Desoxyn. Today, most meth comes from Mexico. Hidden or clandestine labs also operate in various parts of the U.S.

What Does Meth Look Like

Not all methamphetamine looks the same. Instead, there are three common forms of meth: powder, base and crystal. Meth powder, sometimes referred to as speed, typically has a whitish or off-white color. It can be compacted under pressure to form pills.

Methamphetamine base is a brown, yellow or white substance with an oily or damp texture. Even excluding differences in color, batches of this substance are not uniform in appearance. Instead, base may look waxy or paste-like. Crystal gets its name from its crystalline or rock-like appearance. This form of meth is often translucent, which means that light passes through out. Crystal meth may also have a more solid, whitish color.

What Does Meth Smell Like When Smoked

What Does Meth Smell Like When Smoked

Meth powder and base are not typically smoked. However, users can smoke the crystal version of the drug. What does meth smell like when it’s smoked? There is no single answer to this question. Why not? Meth labs can use a variety of chemicals to manufacture the drug. In turn, these chemicals have an impact on how it smells when burned.

Meth smoke can have a non-specific chemical-like odor. It may also smell more specifically like household cleaning products. In addition, meth smoke can have an odor similar to burning or burnt plastic. No matter the particular odor you smell, one thing is certain. Burning meth has a strong scent that will likely stand out and grab your attention.

What Does Meth Taste Like

Meth can also vary substantially in its taste. Some users of the drug describe its powder or pill form as tasting bitter. All forms of meth may also taste like the chemicals used to make them. In addition, flavoring agents are sometimes added to the drug. These agents help reduce the unpleasant taste of methamphetamine. They may also be used to help the drug seem more generally appealing.

What Does Meth Paraphernalia Look Like

When it comes to drugs, paraphernalia is a term with multiple meanings. It can refer to the equipment involved in the manufacture of illegal substances. It can also refer to anything used to hide illegal substances or consume them.

What does meth paraphernalia look like? Perhaps the most well-known item is a metal or glass pipe used to smoke the crystal form of the drug. You may also notice glass bongs that serve the same purpose.

A wide range of paraphernalia are associated with making meth in clandestine labs. Common examples include:

  • Respirator masks
  • Rubber gloves
  • Various kinds of glassware
  • Hoses made from rubber or plastic
  • Lithium batteries

 

A wide assortment of chemicals are also used to make illegal meth. The list of these chemicals includes things such as:

  • Hydrochloric, muriatic or sulfuric acid
  • Camping fuel
  • Pseudoephedrine- or ephedrine-based cold tablets or capsules
  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Lithium extracted from batteries
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lye
  • Ether

All of these substances have a legal, legitimate use. It is only their use in meth manufacture that makes them illegal.

How to Recognize the Signs of Meth Cooking

How to Recognize the Signs of Meth Cooking

Clandestine meth labs are makeshift facilities designed to produce, or cook, illegal forms of the drug. These labs can be set up anyplace where there is room for them to fit. No matter where you live, you may find one on your street or in your neighborhood or area.

What are the signs of a meth cooking operation? Depending on your situation, you may notice any number of things. One potential telltale sign is a smell in the air that resembles rotten eggs, cat urine or ammonia. You may also notice a house or shed with covered or blacked out windows. Yard or vegetation damage caused by the burning or dumping of chemicals is another possible indicator.

Many meth labs are protected by multiple layers of security. Measures in place may include “No Trespassing” signs and strategically located outdoor cameras or monitors. In addition, they may include high fences and/or guard dogs.

Certain kinds of trash can also point to the presence of a meth cooking operation. Items you may spot include:

  • Large numbers of cold tablet packages
  • Coffee filters that are stained or coated in a powdery substance
  • Broken-down lithium batteries
  • Piles of empty chemical containers
  • Plastic bottles with holes punched into them
  • Used rubber gloves
  • Discarded pieces of hose or plastic

 

Tweaking and Other Meth Warning Signs

Even without smelling anything or seeing actual meth, you may be able to tell if someone is using the drug. One classic sign is “tweaking.” This term refers to a grouping of symptoms that can occur after a period of heavy meth use. Such symptoms may include:

  • Temporary loss of the ability to experience meth’s typical drug effects
  • Extreme agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • A powerful urge to use more meth
  • Violent outbursts
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusional thinking

 

The signs of tweaking overlap in many ways with the effects of meth withdrawal. Other potential signs that someone you know is withdrawing from the drug include:

  • A depressed, irritable or anxious mental state
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of physical energy
  • Unusual slowing down or speeding up of their physical or mental reflexes

 

Withdrawal is just one sign that a person who uses meth has become addicted to the drug. Other indicators of addiction include:

  • Losing control over how much meth they use, or how often they use it
  • Having a routine that revolves around obtaining meth, using it and recovering from
  • Turning down other activities in favor of using meth
  • Not halting a pattern of meth use that clearly causes them significant harm
  • Developing a rising tolerance to meth’s stimulant effects

How to Help a Loved One Using Meth

How to Help a Loved One Using Meth

The best thing you can do for a loved one using meth is encourage them to enter a treatment program. This is not always easy to do. Many people who regularly use the drug have undergone profound mental and emotional changes. These changes may leave them unable to think clearly or rationally. A long-term user of meth may also be paranoid, delusional or violent. In addition, like anyone else affected by addiction, they may be in denial about their condition.

Try to approach the topic of seeking treatment as gently as possible. It helps to plan this kind of conversation in advance. It also helps to seek the advice of addiction specialists or intervention counselors.

Forms of Effective Treatment for Meth Addiction

Effective treatment for meth addiction is psychotherapy-based. The treatments of choice are behavioral therapies. Therapies of this type help your loved one change behaviors that support ongoing addiction. One option, cognitive behavioral therapy, is specifically known to help people with meth-related problems. Other therapies used to treat stimulant addiction in general include:

  • Contingency management
  • 12-step facilitation therapy
  • The Matrix Model

 

Family therapy may also be used in the treatment of all forms of substance addiction.

Each form of therapy provides its own treatment benefits. The right combination of options can help your loved one do things such as:

  • Reduce their cravings for meth
  • Cope with stressful situations that may increase their cravings
  • Stay sober during and after treatment
  • Add a self-help group to their larger meth recovery plan

Learn More About Meth and Effective Addiction Treatment at Pathfinders

If you think someone you know is using meth, you may have a number of pressing questions. For example, what does meth look like? What does it smell like? How can you tell if some is cooking meth? What are the signs of meth addiction?

Get answers to these important questions at Pathfinders. With our help, you can detect the potential signs that your friend or family member is using meth. Pathfinders is also a premier provider of treatment for methamphetamine addiction. No matter the extent of your loved one’s addiction symptoms, we offer customized recovery options that suit their needs. To learn more about our comprehensive meth program, call us today.

How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Does Meth Remain in Your System a Long Time?

One of the most commonly asked questions from individuals with substance use disorders is how long certain substances stay in your system. This question is often raised for a few different reasons.

Someone might be curious about the length of time meth stays in your system because they’re ready to detox. Other times, it might be because they were sober and slipped into relapse and have a drug test approaching they need to pass.

The best way to understand how long meth stays in your system and how it behaves is by really becoming educated on what meth is and how your body reacts to it. Let’s take a look at this incredibly complex drug and its role in the lives of individuals who abuse it.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is a synthetic stimulant that has a reputation for its highly addictive properties. This drug interacts with the central nervous system, leading to an intense release of dopamine, serotonin, and chemicals in the brain that manifests certain feelings and emotions when we engage in certain behaviors.

Technically, there are legal formulations of methamphetamine, such as narcolepsy medication Desoxyn. However, as an illegal narcotic manufactured on the black market, meth is a Schedule II substance on the federal and most state levels.

Throughout the 90s, methamphetamine experienced a boom in certain regions of the United States, leading to challenges with clandestine labs created by users looking to produce the drug themselves. Many of these labs led to explosions because of the crude setup and dangerous substances used to manufacture low-quality meth.

This low-quality version of the drug, otherwise known as crank, is only a fraction of the purity seen with the current version that’s flooded American streets. Many people consider meth, crank, and speed to be the same substance. However, individuals with an ear to the streets consider this to be false, as each of these terms describes a completely different substance, respectively.

Crank

Crank refers to the crudely manufactured version of methamphetamine that’s formulated in backyard and basement labs in remote areas of the United States. The popularity of these labs decreased after DEA crackdowns led to arrests in large numbers.

Additionally, many of the ingredients required to produce this version of meth are on the FDA’s banned substances list or are heavily tracked in an effort to observe buyer behavior. Crank is also known as shake and bake, bathtub crank, biker crank, and easter bunny dope.

Meth

Meth is the name that’s commonly used to refer to the current versions of methamphetamine that are circulating on the black market. Other names for this highly potent, pure form of the drug are glass, ice, tina, clear, and go-fast.

Large quantities of this drug are produced in huge warehouses known as superlabs throughout parts of Mexico. Drug cartels are behind the formulation, creation, packaging, smuggling, and distribution of this drug and rule the market with an iron fist.

It’s not uncommon for seized batches of this drug to test at nearly 100% purity. What used to be a drug considered to be approaching extinction as far as use goes has returned with a vengeance. Currently, meth is the number two most consumed drug in the entire world. This ranking is a side effect of the silent explosion of use that went almost unnoticed because of the opiate epidemic.

Speed

Speed is a term used to describe the pill form of methamphetamine. In the 70s, methamphetamine pills became popular on the black market before cocaine and crystal meth took over. Despite their decreased popularity in America, these pills still exist and are more common in parts of Europe as well as Asia the Middle East.

Despite the different forms of methamphetamine, many of the short-term effects are similar across all variations.

Short-term Effects of Meth

Meth is an incredibly long-acting drug with varying effects felt at different stages of intoxication. Because of the duration of the high, users normally require small doses of the drug to achieve the desired effects.

Despite these lowered doses, the presence of particularly intense short-term effects still has the potential to affect users in a very powerful and highly addictive manner.

Normally users either smoke meth via glass pipe or inject it with an insulin syringe. When either of these methods is administered, the drug reaches the brain very quickly, with injection being the faster of the two.

The result is what’s known as a “rush” – the sudden onset of intense pleasure and excitement. Users may also orally ingest meth or snort it nasally, both of which produce a much longer high with an increased presence of physical energy.

When the drug is swallowed or snorted instead of smoked or injected, the sudden, intense rush is replaced by a constantly maintained spark of motivation lasting for up to 12 hours.

The overall period of intoxication and time the drug remains present in the blood are dictated by what’s known as the half-life. When your body metabolizes the drug faster, the high isn’t felt as long, and the duration in which traces are detectable by a drug test is shorter as well.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Despite the fact that they’re both stimulants, meth, and cocaine exit the body at different rates. Cocaine is quickly removed and nearly completely metabolized in the body, while meth remains unchanged and hangs around much longer. This is what leads to the extended period of intoxication.

Normally the window of intoxication is anywhere between 10 and 24 hours. The overall period is heavily dependent on how much is ingested and at what time of day, how it’s administered, the body’s chemistry, and the function of the liver and kidneys.

Understanding these things about the elimination of methamphetamine from the body leaves the final question of the actual half-life of meth.

The Half-life of Methamphetamine

Understanding the half-life of meth is critical if you’re in the company of someone that suffers from meth abuse disorder. Being aware of this important number allows you to gauge when the individual can expect to experience the initial stages of withdrawal.

Normally, the half-life of methamphetamines in the bloodstream is somewhere between four and six hours. However, this doesn’t mean that all traces of meth are eliminated after this period.

It takes the course of about five half-lives for a substance to completely exit the body. After applying the appropriate math, it’s safe to assume that meth takes about 25 hours to fully vacate the bloodstream.

It’s important to keep in mind that the chemical breakdown products of meth can still be detected in other body systems, including urine, hair, and other sources. The following section highlights each different type of detection and how long they’re effective at tracing meth.

Detecting Meth in Drug Tests

Even when meth is eliminated from the blood, the drug is still detectable in certain types of tests. The following list contains information about each specific testing model:

Urine Tests

Urine testing is normally the most common form of detection when it comes to substance abuse. These tests are conducted fairly quickly and aren’t intrusive. The individual produces a urine sample in a cup, and the contents are examined with a panelled testing component. Normally urine tests can detect the presence of meth for a period of one to five days.

Blood Tests

Remember, blood tests follow the same timeline as the half-life of meth. This means that the drug is only detectable in the blood for about 25 hours.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Saliva Tests

Drug tests that consist of saliva swabs are normally effective at detecting meth for up to two days after the last use. These tests require an absorbent material to swab the mouth or tongue.

Hair Tests

Hair tests can also be used to detect the presence of meth. All it takes is a half-inch sample of hair to detect the presence of meth for up to 90 days prior to the test.

Meth Testing Variables to Consider

The detection times of meth using these drug tests change from person to person. However, there are other factors that may influence the overall detection times.

These factors include the following:

  • The individual’s overall health in question has a strong influence on how fast the drug exits the body. If you have a clean bill of health, your liver probably functions at a high level, meaning toxins are eliminated much faster.
  • When someone uses meth in large quantities very frequently, the detection times will increase significantly. This may be the largest contributing factor to the length of time meth can be picked up by drug tests.

It’s important to remain aware that large quantities and frequent use cause meth to accumulate within a user’s body. This accumulation presents a significant increase in the chances of an overdose being experienced.

Because meth has such a long period of intoxication, when users repeatedly ingest the drug, the body doesn’t have time to recover from previous doses. This accumulation is incredibly dangerous and has the potential to cause stroke, heart attack, and other negative heart-related consequences.

Additionally, large accumulations of meth also increase the chances of experiencing a negative mental health event as a result of meth intoxication. Meth-induced psychosis is common, and can produce potentially dangerous side effects.

This is why it’s critical that users have a strategy for eliminating meth from the system before attempting recovery. Once the drug is completely expelled from the body, individuals can move forward with recovery without the constant fear of meth-induced psychosis and other challenges.

Getting Meth Out of Your System

How do you get methamphetamines out of your system? The only way meth efficiently leaves the body is through the liver. The liver must process this substance, and there’s no other way to eliminate it from your system once it’s been ingested.

Avoiding subsequent doses will help you avoid larger amounts of the drug from building inside of your body. This gives your liver a chance to process the drug and effectively eliminate it from all of your body systems.

Seeking Treatment

If your goal is eliminating meth from your body, the most logical course of action is to enter a medically-assisted detox program. These programs allow you to safely go through the detoxification process under the direct supervision of medical and mental health professionals. This supervision gives the client significant advantages in terms of successfully completing the detox process.

The most severe side-effects of withdrawal may be avoided by taking advantage of medication options provided by a physician. Additionally, being monitored by professionals decreases your chances of experiencing a more severe medical event because of things like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and anxiety, which can all be side effects of detox.

When Meth is Completely Eliminated from the Body, The Road to Recovery

The post-detox period is defined as the time immediately following the drug being expelled from the body. Individuals may deal with the most significant mental challenges associated with recovery during this period.

The mind and body must acclimate to the absence of meth, and this transition can present significant challenges. It’s during this period that clients may become uncomfortable and mentally exhausted.

This struggle may lead to an increased risk for relapse and participating in an inpatient treatment program can help clients safely navigate these rough patches. It’s critical that clients receive education and guidance in the form of mental health counseling and various types of therapy to help them manage their emotions and behaviors.

Learning how to properly manage your emotions and behaviors is one of the largest elements of recovery, as you experience life with a “sober mind.”

Pathfinders Recovery Centers specializes in assisting clients with managing this journey back into normal life and environment. Our compassionate staff is well-trained in providing various levels of care and promoting recovery and mental wellness.

If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery and reclaim your life, we encourage you to contact a member of our Admissions department to learn more about our treatment options.

Cocaine Side Effects And How To Tackle Them

Cocaine side Effects

Prevalence of Cocaine Side Effects

Pathfinders Recovery Center consistently emphasizes the need for cocaine side effects treatment. With the right treatment, not only can the client live a happier life but even potentially avoid drug usage. Located in Colorado and Arizona, their expertise of 25 years has helped many people who have gotten admission to the center. They offer multiple forms of care that suit best for the client and help them passage back to society.

Cocaine is consumed by around 14-21 million individuals all over the world, most of which suffer from dire cocaine side effects. It is easier for cocaine to be misused and create an unhealthy dependence between the said drug and the consumer.  Also called cocaine hydrochloride, it is one of the most stimulating and dangerous substances.

It is often used for medical intentions as it helps in relieving pain and anesthetic purposes but has a high potential for substance abuse. In cases like that, it is crucial to seek help from rehabilitation centers to get adequate help as cocaine side effects can get too much to handle.

Why it’s Important to Address Cocaine Side Effects

The longer a person consumes cocaine, the further their brain adapts to it. To get the same high, the individual will need a higher dosage. This may result in a hazardous addiction or overdose.

Stronger, more regular dosages may potentially induce long-term alterations in the chemistry of the brain. The body becomes dependent on the substance. This might make it difficult to concentrate, sleep, and retain information from memory.

Even in younger and otherwise healthy people, use may result in a catastrophic heart attack. Taking big quantities is linked to unpredictable and perhaps aggressive behavior.

This is why it is so important to address cocaine side effects.

Cocaine Basics

The medicine floods the pleasure-controlling areas of the brain with dopamine, an organic biochemical transmitter in the body. This increase generates a high, which is characterized by heightened sensations of energy and attentiveness. It is derived from the coca leaves, which are indigenous to South America. Cocaine, as a nervous system stimulator, raises key life processes including blood pressure, core temperature, and pulse rate. Cocaine users often need less rest, have less hunger, and have greater energy and concentration. They may be more chatty and lively, have greater self-confidence, and feel better.

At this stage, a cocaine dependence may develop, leading a habitual cocaine abuser to feel melancholy, irritated, and worried without it, in addition to desires for the substance. This is the phase where more dire cocaine side effects start showing up. People may continue to misuse cocaine to manage their pleasure and satisfaction and avoid the side effects of cocaine withdrawal. This fundamentally affects the brain’s motivation and reward circuits. Cocaine consumers may believe that they need the substance to feel normal again, which eventually leads up to further cocaine side effects.

Side Effects of Cocaine use

Cocaine side Effects

Any usage, whether for short or long periods, is linked with adverse effects. Cocaine side effects are no different.

Cocaine usage causes restricted blood vessels, pupil dilation, elevated body temperature, breathing rate, and hypertension in the short term.

When short-term usage crosses the border into long-term consumption, the chances of additional and exacerbated undesirable outcomes grow. These long-term health hazards demonstrate the devastating effect cocaine has on the physical health of its users. Cocaine consumption may lead to serious medical consequences. Here are some of the major cocaine side effects:

1. Cocaine effects on breath

Major respiratory and pulmonary problems of cocaine addiction have been recorded more often in recent times, with the majority of patients being injectable consumers, freebase intakers, or crack inhalers. Cocaine effects on breath include acute and chronic effects on the lungs. Cocaine’s effects on the lungs vary depending on the mode of ingestion, dosage size, level of exposure, and the presence of related drugs such as heroin, talcum, or marijuana.

Smoking cocaine may prevent oxygen from reaching the circulation and harm oxygen-transporting vessels, which is responsible for cocaine effects on breath. This may cause significant breathing problems and serious health implications, including irreversible lung damage. Asthma, pneumonia, bronchial asthma, respiratory failure, and emphysema may occur in the user.

2. Cocaine effects on the nose and face

Consuming cocaine via the nose daily may degrade the cartilage and potentially cause the nose to collapse if there is no tissue joining the nostrils. Cocaine effects on the nose and face happen because it restricts blood circulation to the septum, resulting in a gaping wound and a deformed overall nose shape. While the “high” from ingesting cocaine via the nose may last longer than smoking or shooting up, it may cause significant harm.

Cocaine effects on the nose and face cause mucous membrane walls to be damaged and blood circulation to the nose to be disrupted. Although direct contact with cocaine causes damage to the membrane linings, reduced blood flow is caused by cocaine’s effects on neuron releases in the brain, notably adrenaline and norepinephrine. These substances aid in the regulation of blood flow all through the body.

As addiction develops, repeated doses are required to sustain the “high” effect of cocaine. Most of the harm done will be irreversible unless drug usage is stopped. In other terms, once addiction takes hold, cocaine effects on the nose and face keep getting stronger.

3. Cocaine effects on skin

Cocaine has a wide range of effects on the human body. It may harm the skin as well as several internal organs and systems, causing dire cocaine effects on skin. Long-term cocaine usage may harm many different parts of the body. Given that the skin is the body’s biggest organ, it’s no wonder that cocaine is awful for it. Cocaine may gradually destroy this crucial organ that shields the inner workings of our bodies, causing inflammation, blisters, redness, and even rotting of the skin.

Cocaine effects on skin may be caused by a variety of variables, including the reducing agents used to make the drug, how it’s delivered (intravenously vs snorting), and other unhealthy behaviors that might contribute to skin problems, such as poor food, lack of cleanliness, and inadequate sleep.

4. Cocaine Side Effects | Short Term

Because restricted blood vessels impair the circulation of blood in the body, cocaine side effects such as:

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sickness
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

 

Elevated blood pressure and heart rate, as well as reduced blood flow through the arteries, may raise the heart attack risk.

Cocaine usage may produce behavioral changes because it raises the quantity of dopamine in the brain’s reward center. It may cause a person to become more unpredictable and aggressive, as well as more confident and unstoppable, increasing the possibility of them engaging in risky activities that might result in injury.

5. Long Term Cocaine Effects

Consistent and long-term cocaine usage may lead a person to develop a resistance to the drug, requiring more of it to get the same benefits. When the amount or frequency of usage is increased, the effects of cocaine on their mental and physical health are exacerbated.

Because cocaine messes with the way the human brain processes neurotransmitters, users need increasing amounts of the substance to feel “normal.” Cocaine addicts (like most other drug addicts) feel unmotivated in other aspects of their lives.

Cocaine, when taken or snorted daily, may harm the nasal lining and the structure that separates the nostrils. There is a danger of blood poisoning, plasma infections (such as HIV or hepatitis) through sharing gear, ruptured blood vessels, and skin sores while injecting cocaine.

One of the long-term cocaine effects is heart issues. Some individuals suffer from mental health issues, such as chronic depression. Symptoms of ‘cocaine psychosis’ include hostility and unpleasant hallucinations, frequently of insects beneath the skin.

6. Side Effects of Cocaine Withdrawal

Side effects of cocaine withdrawal may include

  • Extreme cravings
  • Despair
  • Anxiety,
  • Furious outbursts
  • Trembling
  • Sleeping difficulty,
  • Muscular soreness

 

These may endure for weeks.

Because cocaine interferes with the brain’s chemical bonus system, a person who is withdrawing may not be able to sense any pleasure feelings without the stimulus of cocaine to activate dopamine. As a result, individuals who stop using cocaine may feel extreme desires for months or even years. Relapses are rather frequent, to avoid side effects of cocaine withdrawal.

Cocaine Treatment Options

Cocaine side Effects

Substance use disorder (SUD) is complicated, and the most successful treatment method is one that is tailored to an individual’s requirements. Many cocaine treatment options use a mix of various tried-and-true approaches. Although research into possible pharmacological therapies for cocaine addiction is underway, no FDA-approved drugs are now accessible for either cocaine detoxification or long-term treatment of cocaine side effects. As a result, behavioral therapies are the main remedy for cocaine consumption.

On top of the hazards of cocaine usage and harrowing cocaine side effects, those with substance use disorders face the social stigma that comes with addiction. Addiction, on the other hand, is not a choice nor a sign of weakness; it is a complicated medical disorder that may be effectively treated. Many individuals enjoy meaningful lives in recovery with the correct care.

Cocaine treatment options may start with a drug detox program that offers 24-hour medical oversight and management to protect the client’s safety. Although no particular drugs are presently licensed specifically to treat cocaine dependence and addiction, medical detox programs may employ pharmaceuticals to assist control cocaine side effects.

If outpatient counseling and treatment are insufficient, a residential treatment program will not only provide the client with access to peers and counselors but will also separate the client from any possible triggering conditions that would normally induce them to use cocaine. It can eventually help eliminate the other cocaine side effects too.

A residential program will enable the individual to leave their regular life behind to more deeply examine the causes of their addiction, break unproductive behaviors, and be more responsible for keeping clean.

Pathfinders is a recovery center that specializes in treating substance use disorders in multiple ways. Not only do they help in eliminating cocaine side effects, but their team have expertise in treating substance use disorders across the spectrum. Joining a recovery center may not guarantee an instant cure. It can, however, be the first and most important step towards a new, free life, changing its trajectory through your input and hard work in an environment designed to help you every step of the way. At Pathfinders, they offer clients comprehensive levels of treatment.

 

With a full continuum of care options, the team at Pathfinders Recovery is ready to meet you (or your loved one’s) needs with a customized plan of care, built around your unique needs and individual considerations. Please don’t hesitate to call today and speak to their dedicated Admissions team!

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms: A Deeper Look

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Combating the Fentanyl Overdose Epidemic

Turn on the news and you’ll undoubtedly hear about fentanyl use in many communities today. It’s quite likely that you may know someone who will succumb to fentanyl overdose symptoms at some point. This is because around 60% of opioid-related deaths in the U.S. today are caused by fentanyl. Clearly, more education is needed in regards to this drug.

Fentanyl as an adulterant has become quite popular. Initially drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine were laced with fentanyl. Many people didn’t know that fentanyl made these drugs more powerful and deadly. Today, people know about fentanyl and some will even admit that it’s their substance of choice.

What You Should Know About Fentanyl

When someone is addicted to fentanyl, they’re addicted to a drug that’s 50 – 100 times more potent than heroin. This is why the drug poses such a high risk for an accidental overdose. Since fentanyl is still being added to many other drugs, there’s the added danger that a person may not even know that they’re taking it.

What is Fentanyl?

Although fentanyl originated as a prescription medication (a.k.a. Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze) that was used to treat severe pain, it’s now being made and used illegally as well. In this regard it’s similar to morphine. Tolerance to synthetic opioids occurs when someone needs a higher dose or needs to use it more frequently to obtain the desired effects.

Where is Fentanyl Found?

Besides being found in heroin and cocaine, counterfeit fentanyl pills are now hitting the street. They’re being sold as ecstasy, oxycodone, and alprazolam. These pills are widely available and easy to purchase. This is dangerous because many people aren’t even aware of what they’re taking.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to fentanyl?

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) warns that someone may come into contact with fentanyl without even knowing it. Therefore, it’s important to understand what some of the signs of exposure in non users include. Some of the things you should watch for include:

  • Slow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Lack of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Blue lips or fingernail beds
  • Cold, clammy skin

 

How Should You Handle Fentanyl?

Recently there’s been a lot of talk regarding harm reduction and opioid safety. This is caused by the rise in usage and deaths from such drugs. For the safe handling of fentanyl the CDC suggests you take the following precautions:

  • Whenever you’re in an area where you suspect there’s fentanyl, make sure you don’t eat, drink, smoke, or use the bathroom.
  • Never touch your eyes, mouth, or nose if you’ve touched a surface that you believe may be contaminated with fentanyl.
  • Don’t do anything that may cause the fentanyl to become airborne. If you believe that the drug is already in the air, make sure you wear respiratory protection.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after you think you’ve been exposed to fentanyl. This is something you should do even if you wore gloves while in the area. Make sure you don’t use a hand sanitizer or a bleach solution because doing so will enhance the drug’s absorption into your skin.

 

It’s important to understand that it doesn’t take much fentanyl to overdose. Police and first responders are in harm’s way each and every time they respond to a suspected fentanyl overdose. While there are policies in place to help protect them, these policies continually need updated as we learn more about this drug.

How and Why Do People Use Fentanyl?

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Fentanyl is made in a lab. It’s then sold in the form of a powder. Many dealers mix it with other drugs since it only takes a very small amount of inexpensive fentanyl to get high. This is very dangerous because most people don’t even realize that they’re taking fentanyl. Since their body isn’t use to the effects of fentanyl they’re more likely to overdose.

Those who find out that they’re taking fentanyl may willingly replace their other drugs with it. They will typically use it in an eye dropper or as a nasal spray. Some people will make pills out of it so that it looks like other prescription opioids.

How does Fentanyl Affect the Brain?

Fentanyl is an opioid similar to heroin and morphine. Opioids bind to the body’s opioid receptors. These are located in the part of your brain that’s responsible for controlling pain and emotions. After you take opioids numerous times your brain adapts to the drug so you’re now dependent upon it. When this happens you may experience some of the following effects:

  • Extreme happiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Confusion
  • Problems breating

Does Fentanyl Lead to Dependence?

Fentanyl will eventually lead to dependence. This is because of how potent the drug is. Even a person who’s taking the drug under a doctor’s supervision may become dependent upon it. They will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped.

Sometimes dependence results in addiction. This is the most severe type of substance abuse disorder. When someone is addicted to drugs they’ll become compulsive in seeking it out. They’ll also continue to use the drug even though it may be causing them problems at work, home, or school.

When someone stops taking fentanyl they will have severe withdrawal symptoms within a few hours. These symptoms include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Cold flashes (including goosebumps)
  • Issues with sleeping
  • Severe cravings
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

 

As you can imagine, the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal are extremely uncomfortable. They’re what causes so many people to remain addicted to this drug. The FDA is currently working on medications and devices to help people withdraw more comfortably.

Can You Overdose on Fentanyl?

As with any other drug, it’s possible to overdose on fentanyl. This happens when a drug causes serious adverse effects and life-threatening symptoms within your body. For instance, when someone overdoses on fentanyl their breathing will slow – even to the point of stopping. When this happens less oxygen makes its way to their brain. This is a condition that’s known as hypoxia. It can result in a person becoming comatized. At that point permanent brain damage and even death may occur.

How Much Fentanyl Can Kill You?

Just a quick note regarding fentanyl overdose amounts before discussing what a fentanyl overdose looks like. Although you never want to experiment with drugs like fentanyl, you may still wonder how much of it can kill you. Based on the amount of fentanyl in your system, here’s what you may be able to expect, but be very aware these are not exact and depend on general opiate and opioid tolerance:

 

  • 25 mcg is not fatal
  • 50 mcg places you at a modest risk of an overdose
  • 100 mcg places you at a moderate risk of an overdose
  • 150 mcg places you at a significant risk of an overdose
  • 250 mcg places you at a high risk of an overdose
  • 400 mcg places you at a extreme risk of an overdose
  • 700 mcg means death is likely
  • 1,000 mcg means death is near certain
  • 2,000 mcg means death is imminent

What are Some Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms?

Typically, opioids are measured in milligrams. However, fentanyl is measured in micrograms. These are 1,000 times smaller than a milligram. Hence why people so easily overdose on fentanyl. It only takes a very small amount to do so. All it takes is 2 mg of fentanyl which is like a pinch of salt.

While fentanyl itself is very dangerous, even worse variants have started to become more popular in recent years. Carfentanil is an elephant tranquilizer that’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It only takes the amount of a small grain of sand to kill an adult. This is why professionals call fentanyl and its offshoots the deadliest opionids in existence today. It’s also why it’s important to know what the symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include.

The typical overdose occurs quite quickly. Usually it only takes a few seconds. During these fleeting moments you must determine whether someone is suffering from an opioid or fentanyl overdose. There are some atypical signs that you should look for, including:

  • A person’s lips may immediately turn blue or grey
  • Their body may stiffen and show activity that’s similar to a seizure
  • They may start foaming at their mouth
  • They will be confused before becoming unresponsive

 

Common Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

Some of the more typical signs that a person who’s suffering from a fentanyl overdose will show include:

  • Dizziness: They’ll struggle to remain steady on their feet. They’ll also find that it’s difficult for them to remain in an upright position. They can neither sit nor stand but their body will need to lie down.
  • Weakness: Besides theri body being unable to remain upright, it’ll also grow weak. Fatigue is quite common. Even the person’s extremities may become limp.
  • Sleepiness: Since their brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, the person will start to experience feelings of drowsiness.
  • Hypoventilation: You may assume that you’d need to watch for rapid, erratic breaths. However, you should be watching for slow breathing. This is because opioids negatively impact the area of your brain that’s responsible for breathing.

 

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

You can seek help prior to a person overdosing. It’s important to know what symptoms to look for here. When you see any of the following symptoms it’s a good idea to seek medical intervention for the person:

  • A slow heart rate
  • Clumsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness when left untreated may result in the person slipping into a coma

 

When someone becomes unconscious you should seek medical attention immediately. These other signs should also be a red flag for anyone who believes their in the presence of someone who’s used fentanyl

What to Do When Someone Overdoses?

Whenever someone you know overdoses on fentanyl, it’s important to treat them with Narcan immediately. Thanks to the ‘Good Samaritan laws’ on overdose you shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

These laws have been put in place so you have immunity from arrest and prosecution when trying to help a victim of an overdose.

What should you know about Narcan?

Narcan and fentanyl overdose go hand-in-hand. This is because naloxone acts as a temporary antidote for opioid overdoses. When it’s administered properly naloxone can restore a person’s normal breathing and consciousness. Further treatment will still be necessary due to the depression of breathing. The person who overdosed should be taken to the hospital immediately.

Unfortunately, Narcan revival isn’t without some risks. You need to be aware of the risks of Narcan revival which may include:

  • Increased blood pressure: This is the most common side effect.
  • Nasal dryness, swelling, inflammation or congestion
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Headache

 

Some people who are revived with Narcan may become assaultive upon regaining consciousness. For your safety, this is something you should be prepared to manage.

Treating Fentanyl Addiction

Treatment for fentanyl overdose is similar to treatment for other addictions. You should receive a combination of both medication and behavioral therapy. This combination is the most effective way to treat your addiction.

Medication Assisted Treatment Options

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Two of the more popular medications that are used to help you withdraw from fentanyl include buprenorphine and methadone. They work by binding the opioid receptors in your brain that were influenced by fentanyl. In doing so they help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone is another medication that’s frequently used. It blocks your body’s opioid receptors that that fentanyl doesn’t have any affect.

Counseling for Fentanyl Dependence

You should also seek counseling along with any medication your doctor may prescribe for your fentanyl addiction. Behavioral therapy will help you modify your attitude and behavior related to drug use. At the same time, they’ll also help you increase your healthy living skills (e.g., ensuring you take your medication properly).

There are a few different types of therapy that you may find beneficial. These include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps modify your behavior regarding fentanyl use. It will also help you effectively manage your behaviors, triggers, and stress.
  • Contingency management is a voucher-based system in which you earn “points” for negative drug tests. These points can be used for items that encourage healthy living.
  • Motivational interviewing is a patient-centered type of counseling style in which your mixed feelings regarding change are addressed.

Getting Help for a Fentanyl Addiction

Fortunately, you can overcome an addiction to fentanyl. When you start exploring fentanyl treatment options you’ll find that our evidence-based medication and therapy are the best treatment around. At Pathfinders Recovery Center we want you to regain control of your life. So, if you need help obtaining your sobriety, get in contact with us today.