Methamphetamine: How Bad Is It?

How Bad Is Methamphetamine?

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

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

The simple answer to this question is yes.

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

One of its most well-known risks is addiction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Methamphetamine Abuse

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

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

Mental Impact of Abuse

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

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

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

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

 

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

Physical Impact of Abuse

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

  • Hearts
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Liver

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

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

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

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

 

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Methamphetamine Addiction

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

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

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

 

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Mental Illness

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

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

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

 

Methamphetamine Overdose

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

 

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Meaningful Treatment is Available

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seek Methamphetamine Treatment Today

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

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

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

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

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

But you do have options for moving forward.

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

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

With our assistance, sobriety is within reach.

Construction Workers Among the Most Susceptible to Opioid Abuse

Opioid Abuse in Construction Workers

Because it is such a physically demanding profession, opioid abuse rates tend to be higher among construction workers.

The profession often has high rates of occupational injuries and back and musculoskeletal pain.

Research in this area has revealed increased mortality rates from opioid overdoses in this professional category and five others.

Further, 57% of opioid-related overdose deaths occurred after a work injury, and an additional 13% had suffered a work injury within three years of death.

This profession is fraught with hazards.

But the professionals at Pathfinders can help break the link between construction work and the dangers of opioid abuse.

Construction Workers Among the Most Susceptible to Opioid Abuse Pathfinders - A construction worker is in intense physical pain after experiencing an injury on the job, which has led to the prescription of opioids to reduce his pain. Often, this leads to opioid abuse for those in this physically-demanding industry.

Dangers of Opioid Abuse

For mild pains like headaches and moderate muscle aches, you may find that relying on over-the-counter pain relief is enough.

But when you have severe or persistent pain from a repetitive stress injury, a muscle strain, or a fall, it may not be enough.

Your doctor may suggest an opioid pain reliever instead.

You may end up buying opioids elsewhere if you cannot get a prescription to ease the pain.

While they are effective at treating severe and persistent pains, these narcotic pain relievers are addictive.

They have troubling side effects that become worse with long-term use.

And if it is the only thing you have found that eases your pain, opioid abuse becomes nearly inevitable.

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Common Prescription Opioids

Opioids work by blocking pain receptors in your brain and spinal cord.

Essentially, they trick your brain into thinking that you are not in pain anymore.

Opioids have been used for decades by medical professionals to treat moderate to severe pains.

But, because they are also known to be addictive and strong, they are prescribed more sparingly now than they have ever been before.

Doctors often require that a patient exhaust less dangerous alternative pain relief methods first. They may want to see that a patient does not respond to other pain relievers before writing a prescription.

However, this is not always enough to avoid opioid abuse.

Some of the most common prescription opioids include:

  • Vicodin (Hydrocodone)
  • OxyContin / Percocet (Oxycodone)
  • Morphine (Kadian / Avinza)
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

Heroin is another common and dangerous opioid. However, heroin does not come in a prescription. Heroin is an illicit drug that lacks any approved medical uses.

And while morphine does come as a prescription and in monitored medical settings, it is more often obtained through illicit means.

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Prescription Opioid Abuse vs. Illicit Opioid Abuse

Whether prescription or illicit, opioids relieve pain and promote feelings of euphoria.

These are two of the qualities that make them so addictive.

Opioid abuse can quickly lead to a variety of complications.

Opioid addictions and related accidents are common, and heroin-related overdose deaths have been rising since 2007.

One of the biggest problems with prescription opioid abuse is that it often leads to heroin abuse.

Heroin produces similar but stronger and faster effects. It is the natural next step for many people when they find that they have built a tolerance to prescription opioids and need something more.

This method of pain relief and illicit drug abuse comes with its own unique set of problems.

Put an end to your opioid abuse before it becomes something more.

And if it already has, we can help with that too.

Different Ways that Opioid Addiction Starts

Prescription use often evolves into opioid abuse quickly.

As your body builds a tolerance, you will find that the opioid’s effects begin to fade faster. This leads many people to increase their dosages, frequencies, combine opioids with other substances, or otherwise abuse their prescriptions.

Most prescription opioids, when taken correctly, are swallowed.

When opioids are abused, they are often dissolved, injected, or snorted. These methods force a faster or more potent result that often shortens the time between abuse and dependence.

Opioids should only be taken according to a prescription and under the supervision of a medical professional.

Most opioid prescriptions are short-term. But, this rule is difficult to enforce and is rarely adhered to.

Trading drugs or purchasing another person’s prescription opioids is another way an opioid addiction may start.

Most individuals in opioid addiction treatment began with a prescription.

Whatever the reason for your evolution to opioid abuse, our opioid addiction treatment programs can help.

Early Withdrawal Symptoms After Opioid Abuse

Opioid withdrawal symptoms are one of the most common reasons that individuals experience a  relapse.

Your withdrawal symptoms may vary depending on many individual factors. For instance, the opioid you use, method, frequency, length of time, and body weight can all alter your symptoms.

The way you metabolize and withdraw from drugs may not be the same way that someone else does.

Most opioid withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable or mildly painful.

However, more serious complications are possible.

Early opioid withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Agitation or anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Increased sweating and yawning
  • Runny nose

What Happens Next

As you progress through your withdrawals, you may later experience:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you have attempted to quit using opioids on your own but have relapsed due to withdrawal symptoms, drug cravings, or another obstacle, our medically-assisted drug detox can help.

This highly-specialized and monitored detox method is designed to help with even the worst withdrawal symptoms.

Our detoxes occur in a safe, comfortable, and monitored space.

They ease your withdrawal symptoms and cravings so that you can move forward.

They help enforce early sobriety, eliminate distractions, and restore your strength and motivation.

It is time to let this vital stage of your recovery journey place you firmly on the right path.

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Opioid Addiction Treatment Options

When it comes to effective opioid addiction treatment, there is no singular solution that works for everyone.

Depending on your unique addiction, needs, mental health, and other individual factors, we will work with you to build the treatment program that will be the most beneficial to you.

We will help you choose between residential rehab, intensive outpatient rehab, or a supplemental care program that lands somewhere in the middle.

A partial hospitalization program would be one example of this. This type of program is ideal for individuals battling a dual diagnosis with unpredictable symptoms.

Most patients in recovery for opioid addictions will begin with a residential program before transitioning into a more flexible care plan.

Residential rehab programs last from 30 days to over a year, depending on your needs, progress, and preferences.

These care programs offer high-level, specialized, and customized 24-hour care. You will have all of the care, support, and guidance you will need through each stage of your recovery.

Our various therapies, relapse prevention training, support groups, and holistic remedies will help you address, evaluate, and overcome your addiction and the complications stemming from it.

Construction Workers Among the Most Susceptible to Opioid Abuse Pathfinders - A construction worker who entered a residential drug rehab for opioid abuse is sharing his story on opioid abuse and addiction as part of a group therapy session during his recovery process.

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Pathfinders Recovery Center

Choosing Pathfinders means choosing a better way.

It means customized care plans, incredible support systems, and life-long learning opportunities.

It means commitment and dedication to a healthy, sustainable, and sober life.

You have it within you to turn the tables on your addiction.

You just need a little bit of help to get you there.

Let us guide you the same way we have guided so many others before you.

Call us today at 855-728-4363 for more information.

Drug Use and Addiction Among High-Earning Professionals

Drug Rehab

In recent years, we have seen many high-earning professionals enroll in a drug rehab program.

Drug abuse affects individuals across different ages, genders, locations, and socioeconomic statuses.

Individuals on the high-earning and low-earning sides have unique risk factors.

High-earning professionals often appear to have large social circles, but many feel that these circles are shallow.

They rarely offer the same benefits as smaller circles of quality friendships do.

Feelings of isolation are common drivers of drug abuse.

At Pathfinders, we will help you overcome these feelings and build healthy, effective support systems.

Drug Use and Addiction Among High Earning Professionals Pathfinders - A group of individuals in drug rehab show support for one another by discussing their stories, coping strategies, and treatment successes.

Drug Abuse Risk Factors

In this particular demographic, isolation is one of the most significant risk factors for drug abuse.

It can be challenging to juggle building quality friendships and familial relationships and to build a rewarding career.

However, isolation is not the only link to consider.

Other risk factors for high earning professionals include high-stress work environments, increased career pressures, and an overwhelming need or demand to focus on work.

But for many people, the risk for drug abuse begins much sooner than their career.

This is particularly true for alcohol and marijuana abuse.

The use of these two substances in young adulthood was associated with higher childhood family socioeconomic statuses.

Early exposure, genetic predisposition, and underlying mental health disorders are some of the most pressing risk factors in any demographic.

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Drug Abuse Costs vs. Drug Rehab Costs

It can be difficult to anticipate individual drug rehab costs.

This is particularly true in addiction treatment programs like ours because they are customized to fit the individual’s needs.

The high level of customization we offer makes it difficult to provide cookie-cutter pricing sheets.

Your drug rehab costs will vary depending on your needs, and your health insurance provider may cover the full program.

You can call our addiction counselor at any time for complimentary insurance verification.

If you do not have insurance, we can help you build a payment plan conveniently and affordably breaks down your addiction treatments.

But while individual costs are difficult to identify, we do know what substance abuse costs the nation annually.

Yearly, substance abuse costs more than $740 billion in criminal matters, lost work productivity, and healthcare.

Each of these costs can negatively affect your life, family, community, and country as a whole.

However, addiction treatment care costs are preferable to the financial, emotional, and physical costs of long-term drug abuse.

Addiction is powerful, complex, and costly in many different ways.

Our drug rehab programs can help you regain control.

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Drug Rehab for High-Earning Professionals

Drug abuse alters your brain chemistry, changing your thoughts and behaviors.

It also worsens existing mental health disorders and leads to new ones.

Each of these factors makes it difficult to quit on your own.

Additionally, stress and anxiety are some of the major drivers of drug abuse.

This is one of several reasons why high-earning professionals are at risk.

Some of these professions include:

  • Emergency room doctors
  • Psychologists and psychiatrists
  • Other medical professionals
  • Attorneys

Professionals in these categories and categories like these face additional pressures and high-stress situations that professionals in other careers are not exposed to.

These stresses and pressures may lead to recreational drug use, drug abuse as a coping mechanism, or drug abuse as a way to silence the symptoms of an underlying mental health disorder.

But because drugs impair the parts of your brain that control your motivation, memory, mood, and other important functions, they can lead to severe mental and physical health problems.

Let our drug rehab help you avoid these problems by addressing your addictions and mental health disorders early and ongoing during your recovery process.

Drug Rehab for Withdrawals

Drug withdrawal symptoms and cravings can make it difficult to end your drug addiction.

For this reason, many people relapse when they try to quit at home.

Often, drug withdrawal symptoms will lead to relapse before the drug is even out of the body.

If you recognize this challenging process, we are here to help.

Our medically-assisted drug detox, performed in our comfortable, safe facility, eliminates distractions and opportunities for relapse.

They offer 24-hour access to medical care, support, and guidance so that you can focus on your recovery.

Certain approved medications may be used to ease your withdrawal symptoms and cancel out drug cravings.

This enforcement of early sobriety increases your chances of success as you progress through your program.

Give yourself a strong start and a healthy, sober ending.

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Alcoholism Among High-Earning Professionals

Like the trends we see with certain drugs, many high-earning professionals abuse alcohol as well. This may be done to keep up in social circles, cope with mental health disorder symptoms, or ease stress.

Whatever the reason your drinking began, you are not alone.

About 18 million American adults have an alcohol use disorder.

Alcoholism has several drivers, some of which are more obvious than others.

Among them, some of the most common are genetics, stress, and depression.

This is a common and treatable addiction.

And it is one that often co-exists with drug addiction.

If you are battling multiple addictions or a dual diagnosis – addiction and a mental health disorder – we have highly specialized drug rehab programs available.

You do not have to face this alone.

Trust the dedicated experts at Pathfinders to help you through. Give yourself a strong start and a healthy, sober ending.

Drug Rehab Options

At Pathfinders, we understand that your drug rehab needs may not reflect the needs of the patients who came before you.

This is one reason why we offer a variety of customizable treatment programs and settings to choose from.

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions here.

Our comprehensive care settings include:

If you have a moderate to severe addiction or multiple addictions, we will likely recommend an inpatient or residential rehab stay.

Partial hospitalization programs are ideal for those with addictions and mental health disorders that are difficult to control.

And, intensive outpatient programs offer care for those with milder addictions. This program has the most flexible time requirements.

However, you do not have to worry about choosing a program on your own.

We will work with you to build the treatment plan that will benefit you the most.

Drug Use and Addiction Among High Earning Professionals Pathfinders - A man in a high-earning professional career is entering a drug rehab for his drug addiction and abuse issues, and he is speaking with a rehab facilitator to determine the appropriate, customized treatment plan for his specific needs.

 

Comprehensive Care Treatment Methods

Among the different time requirements and benefits, one thing remains the same across these settings: high-level, specialized, and customized care is key.

Our luxurious facilities offer safe spaces. Our teams provide individualized and dedicated services. Our knowledge, support, and guidance will stay with you for as long as you need them to.

We will give you everything you need for a well-balanced and focused recovery from various therapies and support groups to creative and holistic remedies.

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Pathfinders’ Drug Rehab

The friendly and knowledgeable team at each Pathfinders facility has helped countless individuals change their lives.

With incredible and comfortable facilities and compassionate and dedicated professionals, we are the preferred addiction treatment provider.

We will give you what you need through each stage of your recovery.

We will monitor and evaluate your progress to ensure that you are always moving forward.

You do not have to face this alone. And, you do not have to suffer in silence.

Call us today at 855-728-4363 to see how we can help.

How Addictive is Kratom? This is What You Should Understand

How Addictive is Kratom – It can Replace an Opiate Addiction.

Kratom is a hope-inspiring substance for many struggling addicts.

It can help life-long opiate addicts quit their painful addictions and save their lives. It’s safer, more natural, and above-all-else a smarter choice than most opiates.

But kratom is an addictive substance itself. Sometimes it merely replaces one addiction with another.

Like any other drug, it’s not without its drawbacks!

This begs the question: How addictive is kratom? And what do you do if you find yourself addicted? Keep reading to find the answer.

How Addictive is Kratom - Supplement kratom green capsules and powder on brown plate. Learn about the treatment options for Kratom at Pathfinders in Arizona.
Supplement kratom green capsules and powder on brown plate. Herbal product alt-medicine kratom is opioid.

Why Do People Use Kratom?

Kratom is meant to be used as an alternative to opiates. People suffering from opiate addiction sometimes turn to kratom to get off the more deadly opiate.

The drug provides similar effects and gives users relief from withdrawal symptoms in a safer way.

Kratom is more natural than a processed opiate like heroin. Its leaves can be eaten, brewed, or taken in pills. This makes it easy for anyone to take.

Some doctors are wary when it comes to recommending kratom, though.

Some patients get carried away with kratom and end up replacing their opiate addiction with it, rather than using it to ween themselves into sobriety.

While kratom is natural, it still gives a user the same effects as opiates, meaning it’s just as tempting for a seasoned addict to abuse.

How Addictive Is Kratom?

Taking any mind-altering drug, including kratom, changes the brain’s natural chemistry.

Kratom fills opioid receptors in the brain, giving users a rush or high similar to heroin.

Like other opiates, your body can become used to these highs and start to crave them. The brain adjusts to the opiate and comes to expect them.

Without giving the brain what it wants, a user can experience symptoms of withdrawal and adverse effects on their health.

Some symptoms of kratom withdrawal include:

  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • aggression
  • aching muscles
  • jerky movements

Measuring “how” addictive a substance is is difficult, and really depends on the person. Some people have more addictive personalities than others.

Although, no matter what your personality, addiction can happen to anyone.

Kratom addiction is on the rise. Kratom is openly sold in most states. This means curious teens can easily buy it for recreational use rather than for opiate recovery.

It should not be assumed that kratom is any less addictive than any other opiate. It’s simply better for you, and less likely to be tainted or end a user’s life.

With any drug comes the risk of addiction, whether it’s something common like caffeine, or more uncommon like kratom.

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What Makes Kratom Addictive?

Kratom is addictive for the same reason any opiate is. Opiates offer a user euphoria, relaxation, and psychoactive effects. They give the user a high that is hard to find in other drugs.

If a user suffers from depression they may become especially hooked on the feeling that opiates give. Opiates tend to mask pain both physical and mental, which is a desirable state for many.

Kratom is an interesting opiate. In lower doses, it offers stimulating and energizing effects. In higher doses it relaxes the body, making you sleepy, euphoric, and relaxed.

This means users can get addicted to kratom as either a stimulant or a relaxant. Other opiates are much harder to control on this level, giving kratom an interesting up-side for opiate lovers.

Many people start using kratom on a doctor’s recommendation. In this case, the doctor will usually tell the patient what dosage to take. But this isn’t always the case, and not everyone follows orders.

Some people will start using kratom on their own to deal with their addiction, or simply for recreational purposes. This is always more dangerous, as the user is given no solid guidelines.

There is no doctor to monitor how the user is adjusting to the drug or to recommend a safe dosage.

Like any other drug, kratom is addictive because it feels good to take. Plus, it’s cheaper than opiates, natural, widely legal, and more versatile.

Can You Overdose on Kratom?

There have been several reports of kratom overdoses. The majority of these overdoses involved mixing other drugs, such as cocaine, fentanyl, and alcohol.

Because of this, it’s uncertain how much of a factor kratom was.

However, a small number of kratom overdoses only involved the use of kratom. This could have been due to the user dosing too high, or buying a laced product.

Buying kratom for recreational use always runs the risk of ingesting unknown, harmful substances.

So, while you’re not likely to overdose on kratom, the official stance is unknown. More studies must be put into the subject, and more cases must be investigated.

Always be careful where you buy your kratom from, and only purchase from designated dealers with trusted backgrounds.

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How Many People Use Kratom?

Kratom use has risen in recent years. The drug remains legal in many states and countries and is fairly easy to get hold of.

Because of its abuse factor, some places have made it illegal, including Indiana, Wisconsin, and Vermont.

There has been a push to make kratom a schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 is where the most addictive drugs are placed, including heroin and other opiates.

At the moment, kratom remains unscheduled. When it was announced that it might be scheduled there was a large outpouring of people who disagreed with the proposition.

Over 140,000 people signed a petition and got the proposition shot down.

To date, there are an estimated five million people who regularly use kratom. that’s a large portion of the population.

Many of these people use it to stay off worse opiates, and taking it away from them would risk throwing them back into their previous addictions.

The Signs of Kratom Addiction

Like any other addiction, the signs for kratom addiction can be subtle to the user but obvious to outsiders.

Signs and symptoms of addiction can vary greatly from person to person and be difficult to pinpoint. However, some of them show more than others.

How Addictive is Kratom - A man who looks tired and unkept looks into the camera. The 1st sign of kratom addiction is a change in appearance and reduction in hygiene.
A man who looks tired and unkept looks into the camera.

Dependency on kratom is the most obvious sign. If you feel the need to take kratom right once the effects have worn off, you could have a dependency.

If not getting the drug soon after its effects are gone causes irritation, mood swings, or discomfort, you could be addicted.

Spending more money than you can afford to on kratom is a sign, as well as a change in physical appearance. This means drastic weight loss or gain, or a reduction in personal hygiene.

One should also look out for irregular sleep patterns.

If you feel like you’re taking too much kratom, chances are you’re right. If your friends tell you they’re worried about your kratom use, that’s another reason to check yourself.

There’s a big difference between casual use and addiction, and it eventually shows itself.

How Is Kratom Addiction Treated?

There is no proven best way to deal with kratom addiction. But there are steps you can take to move away from addiction.

The first step is usually to decrease your use. If you’re used to taking large doses of kratom, start weaning yourself off.

Take smaller and smaller doses each time and your body will become less dependant on high doses.

The next step is to detox your body. Stop taking kratom and get all traces of the drug out of your body. Some medications can help accomplish this, as well as certain foods.

If the addiction is at an aggressive stage, rehab may be necessary. Rehabilitation centers don’t discriminate based on drugs.

Many will take kratom users just as readily as alcohol and heroin users, and help them find the environment they need to quit.

Behavioral therapy is also a big help in dealing with kratom addiction. Behavioral therapy targets a person’s triggers for addiction and looks to stop them.

It looks to rid a patient of their relapse triggers and let them know they don’t need the drug anymore.

If you suspect a loved one of being addicted to kratom talk to them about it. They may not see the signs or may be unwilling to accept them.

Intervention is an often necessary first step in squashing an addiction, even if it is an uncomfortable one.

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Addiction Happens

The simple answer to the question “How addictive is kratom?” is this: Just as addictive as any other opiate.

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Kratom has its upsides, but it also has its downsides.

Like any other substance, it’s important to moderate your use and fight against dependance.

If you or someone you love may be addicted to kratom, get the help you need.

Talk to them, seek rehab, and get the drug out of your system. You’ll be happy you did it in the end.

If you’re looking for a trusted rehabilitation center, see what we can do for you. Contact us with any comments, questions, or concerns.

We’d be happy to help.

The Long Term Effects of Drug Use: How Cocaine Impacts the Body

Long Term Effects of Drug Use

In the United States today, there are more than 1.5 million cocaine users over the age of 12.

Most of us know cocaine is tremendously addictive and can have some nasty short-term side effects.

But what happens when you take this drug for years on end?

The long-term effects of drug use can be far worse than the short-term effects, as bad as those are.

Ranging from paranoia to psychosis to brain damage and death, people who use cocaine for years are facing a number of dangerous health conditions.

Read on to learn more about cocaine and the long term effects of drug use.

Long Term Effects of Drug Use - Set of different drugs - powder and pills and a syringe on a black background. Learn about the Substance Abuse treatment options at Pathfinders in Arizona.
Set of different drugs – powder and pills and a syringe on a black background

What Is Cocaine?

We’ve all heard of cocaine, but before we get too far into the long- and short-term effects, let’s talk about what cocaine actually is.

Cocaine is a stimulant that comes from the coca plant, a species that’s native to South America.

You may have heard of it by the names coke, snow, rock, blow, or crack.

Cocaine comes in a few different forms, though the one most of us are familiar with is the white powder.

It may also show up in a solid rock crystal form.

Some cocaine users may snort the powder form of the drug, while others dissolve it in water and inject it into their veins; still, others heat up the crystal form and inhale the smoke.

Immediate Effects

When you take cocaine, your body releases high levels of dopamine, a hormone that’s linked to the pleasure and reward centers in your brain.

This extreme euphoria is what we call a high. And because cocaine is a stimulant, you may also get a rush of energy from taking the drug.

Immediate side effects of cocaine can include intense emotions, including happiness, anger, or paranoia.

You may experience extreme sensitivity to sensory input, including touch, sound, and visual cues. And you may notice that you aren’t hungry on your usual schedule.

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Addictive Potential

Because of the massive dopamine release cocaine causes, it’s extremely addictive.

Our brains are hard-wired to do things that activate those pleasure centers in our brain; under normal circumstances, that may include exercise, interacting with loved ones, eating something sweet, or petting an animal.

But when you get that high from cocaine, your brain automatically wants more of that rush.

In addition to this intense pleasure, cocaine also makes the parts of your brain that handle stress extra-sensitive. So when you aren’t taking the drug, you feel even more miserable and stressed, making you crave that high even more.

You may start pursuing that high over even basic necessities like food, relationships, and other natural rewards.

Higher Tolerance

One of the major effects of long-term cocaine use is that you build up a tolerance to the drug.

The more of it you take, the more resistant your brain becomes to that rush of dopamine. This means that in order to get that same high, you have to take more and more cocaine.

Over time, the amount of cocaine you have to take to feel the same pleasure can become fatal.

Meanwhile, your stress pathways are becoming more and more sensitive, making you feel like you have to have the drug to live. And to a degree, this can be true; withdrawal from cocaine can be extremely dangerous and even toxic without medical intervention.

Temperament Changes

In addition to the short-term effects, long-term cocaine use can start to cause side effects of its own. One of the first noticeable signs can be a change in temperament.

As those stress pathways become more and more sensitized, you may notice a change in your temperament. As your cocaine use increases, you may notice that your temper is on more of a hair trigger than usual.

You may find yourself getting irritated at smaller and smaller things throughout your day. You may also have trouble settling to one particular task as you become more restless.

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Panic Attacks

This irritability can start to spill over into paranoia as time goes on. You may feel like everyone’s out to get you or you’re about to be attacked at any moment.

Your paranoia may even be related to your addiction, as you worry that people around you may know that you’re using cocaine. That paranoia can turn into full-blown panic attacks as time goes on.

In order for an episode to qualify as a panic attack, it must include at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Accelerated heart rate or palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling like you’re choking
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Chills
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying.

You may also experience limited-symptom panic attacks that include fewer than four of these symptoms.

Long Term Effects of Drug Use - He has been doing cocaine for so long the long term effects of drug use are getting worse every day.
A man sits on the couch after snorting some cocaine.

Psychosis

In some extreme cases, long-term cocaine use can lead to full-blown psychosis. Psychosis is an often-misused term, so let’s take a moment to look at what it means.

Psychosis is a mental disorder that’s characterized by a loss of touch with reality. This can be as limited as believing the world is hiding dangerous secrets and you’re the only one who sees them.

It can also be as extreme as having full-on auditory and/or visual hallucinations. Psychosis from cocaine use can be dangerous, as you may start to act on those false beliefs. You may harm yourself or others during these delusions.

Loss of Nasal Function

In addition to the mental and emotional side effects of cocaine, you’ll also experience some physical side effects. To some degree, this depends on how you use the cocaine.

For instance, if you mostly snort cocaine, you’ll start to notice a loss of nasal and sinus function. You may notice first that your sense of smell is diminishing or that you’re getting nosebleeds more frequently than usual.

Your septum may start to get irritated, and you may have a runny nose all the time. You may also start to have problems swallowing and experience some hoarseness.

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Lung Damage

If you smoke the rock crystal form of cocaine, your physical side effects will be less nose-based. Instead, you may start to see damage to your lungs. This can come in part from the damage that results from smoking any substance, but smoking cocaine can cause specific damage.

If you have asthma, smoking cocaine will make it worse. You may find that you’re short of breath, especially after something like jogging for a short distance or going up a flight of stairs.

You may develop a chronic cough, and you could even develop eosinophilic pneumonitis, a disease whose symptoms can include fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and even death.

Infectious Diseases

If you inject cocaine, you’re inviting a whole host of problems related to using dirty needles. One of the most notorious of these is human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, a disease that destroys your white blood cells.

HIV can also lead to auto-immune deficiency syndrome, a chronic condition that can be life-threatening if not treated correctly.

In addition to HIV and AIDS, you’re also putting yourself at risk of catching Hepatitis C. Hep C is the most dangerous form of hepatitis and can cause serious liver damage or failure.

The worst part is because Hep C doesn’t have many outward symptoms, you may not know you have it until it’s far too late and your liver is beyond hope.

Heart Damage

Cocaine use in any form can also cause serious damage to your heart and your cardiovascular systems. Your heart becomes inflamed with long-term use of the stimulant, which can make it harder for your heart to pump.

This can lead to tears in your aorta, as well as a host of other issues. Long-term cocaine use puts you at a much higher risk of stroke and seizures.

You may experience ulcers as your gastrointestinal tract struggles to get enough blood. And you might see bulging or bleeding in your brain, as well as several other forms of permanent brain damage.

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Learn More About the Long Term Effects of Drug Use

The long term effects of drug use, and cocaine use, in particular, are serious and can be deadly.

At best, you can expect a long road struggling to break free of the addictive power of the drug. At worst, you could experience a painful death or a lifetime of brain, heart, liver, and lung damage.

If you’re struggling with a cocaine addiction and you would like to break free, come see us at Pathfinders Recovery Center.

We can help you through the withdrawal process and get you started on a path to a healthier, addiction-free life.

Contact us today to take the first step to freedom.