Can You Overdose on Meth?

You can overdose on meth. Meth is a powerful, long-acting stimulant that puts a lot of stress on your cardiovascular system. An overdose typically takes the form of a heart attack or stroke. The pulse increases and becomes erratic and the body becomes overheated. Sometimes a person overdosing on meth will go into a coma.

Symptoms of overdose include chest pains, convulsions, confusion or delirium, dehydration, hyperthermia and heavy sweating, rapid breathing, severe high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and stroke, characterized by numbness or loss of control in parts of the body.

If you or someone else experiences these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Tell them the person’s age and weight, how much he took, how he took it, and when he took it. While waiting for help, there are a few things to do. If the person is having a seizure, make sure he doesn’t hit his head or otherwise hurt himself. Hold his head gently and to the side to prevent choking in case he vomits. Try to cool the person down with ice or a cold compress on the forehead or neck. If possible, get the person to drink some water to combat dehydration.

Around 20,000 people die from meth overdose every year. In number, this is fewer than fatal overdoses from opioids but meth overdoses are more often fatal. While about 10 percent of opioid overdoses are fatal, about 15 percent of meth overdoses are fatal. This is because opioid overdoses typically cause death by suppressing breathing, which can be aided artificially until natural breathing is restored. Meth overdoses, on the other hand, typically cause death by heart attack or stroke, which are more sudden and more difficult to treat.

There is also chronic meth overdose, which is the long-term accumulated damage from meth use. Symptoms of chronic overdose include anxiety and paranoia, disturbed sleep, extreme mood changes, and violent outbursts. Long-term meth use also leads to secondary health issues like compromised immune system, bad teeth, and malnutrition.

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to meth or other drugs, don’t wait for an overdose. By then, it may be too late. Addiction gets worse every day and as long as it goes untreated, there will be risk of adverse health effects, including fatal overdose. The sooner you get treatment, the better the chances of recovery. Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and find the best plan of treatment. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

How Does Narcan Work?

Narcan, or naloxone, is an overdose antidote. It is a prescription drug typically carried by emergency responders and sometimes by private citizens trained in its use. It comes in the form of an injection or a nasal spray and usually brings someone out of overdose within five minutes.

Naloxone is an an opioid antagonist. That means it binds to the same opioid receptors as heroin or other opioids but has none of the effects. Naloxone is more strongly attracted to opioid receptors, which allows it to actually displace the opioid causing the overdose. Once the naloxone displaces the opioid, it occupies the receptor and prevents the opioid from reattaching. This allows the central nervous system to start functioning normally again and breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure can return to normal.

If you think someone is overdosing, naloxone should be administered as soon as possible. There is no harm in giving to someone who isn’t overdosing, although withdrawal will begin immediately. Naloxone is an emergency drug. It can bring someone out of overdose, but he will still need medical treatment.

Naloxone is not a magic cure. Someone who stops breathing for several minutes may still suffer damage to the brain or other organs. You may have to breathe for the overdosing person until help arrives or the naloxone starts working. Although naloxone starts working quickly, five minutes is a long time to deprive the brain of oxygen, especially if heart rate and blood pressure are depressed as well.

Extra potent drugs like fentanyl may require several doses of naloxone. Naloxone is a short-acting drug, which means it starts working quickly–which is essential–but it also stops working quickly, usually after about 20 minutes. Most opioids are depleted enough by this time that the immediate danger of overdose has passed but fentanyl and its analogs are so potent that what remains can still be dangerous. If this is the case, the overdosing person may need another naloxone shot.

 

Nearly 60,000 people died from overdose last year and most of those deaths involved opioids. Naloxone is a valuable medication that can save lives but it is an absolute last resort. If someone close to you might need naloxone, then she certainly needs treatment for addiction. Do what it takes to keep her safe now, but also do what it takes to keep her safe in the future–convince her to get help. Gardens Wellness Center provides medically assisted detox to make withdrawal as painless as possible. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

What Causes Heroin Overdose?

Fatal heroin overdoses have risen sharply in the US over the past few years. Nearly 60,000 people died from overdose last year, most of them from opioid or the combination of opioids and other drugs.

Two main factors contribute to this trend. First, over-prescription of opioid painkillers led to widespread addiction. When this problem became apparent, opioids were regulated more heavily, and thus became harder to get. As a result, many people decided not to bother with painkillers at all and just buy heroin instead. Second, heroin is now commonly laced with fentanyl, which is cheaper and far more potent than heroin. The combination of these factors has created a huge increase in fatal overdoses in the US.

Opioids depress autonomic functions like breathing and heart rate. When someone dies of an overdose, he typically stops breathing because the sensation that reminds your body to breathe is suppressed. Opioids also suppress the gag reflex, so people sometimes die from choking on vomit. Normally, if you were to vomit in your sleep, you would wake up choking and coughing, but if the coughing is suppressed, you just suffocate instead.

Forgetting to breathe is not the only way to die of overdose. An overdose can cause your blood pressure to crash, which might cause your heart to fail. Injecting heroin also makes you much more likely to die from endocarditis, an infection of the heart. An overdose can cause pulmonary edema, a condition in which fluid fills the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe.

Most people who die of overdose are long-time heroin users. New users typically smoke or snort heroin instead of injecting it, which is much more potent. People also to adapt to the psychoactive effects of heroin more quickly than the central nervous system effects. That means at some point, an addict will need a potentially fatal dose to get high.

Most often, though, people overdose when they relapse after a period of not using. Their bodies are no longer used to the effects of the drug, but they try to use at their old level and it’s too much.

There is some good news though–heroin overdoses are not always fatal. Only about 10 percent of people who overdose die. Even someone who stops breathing can survive if he gets help soon enough, especially if Narcan is available to bring him out of the overdose quickly.

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don’t wait for an overdose before getting help. Gardens Wellness Center can make detoxing from opioids as painless as possible and get you started in a treatment program that works for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

How Long Should You Plan to Recover?

Recovery lasts from now on. Addiction is not something like the flu that eventually goes away. There’s no point at which you can say, “I have achieved sobriety so now I can have a drink.” Addiction remakes your brain and the habits created by addiction are deep. Using again reactivates the old pathways and the old behavior comes back immediately. Addiction is like riding a bike–you never really forget.

Detox takes a couple of weeks, give or take, depending on the drug, the extent of the addiction, and how the detox is done. Detox is the part that includes withdrawal and the most intense cravings. After that, treatment at an inpatient center typically lasts 30 to 90 days. Those are the parts of recovery you can plan for to some extent.

After detox and treatment, it’s best to plan to make meetings and therapy a regular part of your week. Just as you have to eat, sleep, and exercise, you have to go to therapy and meetings. Those are maintenance activities. You might eventually stop needing regular therapy, but meetings continue to be useful. Not only is it good to be reminded what happens if you relapse, but supporting other addicts in recovery is part of your recovery.

You can never let your guard down because addiction always wants back in. If you spend 10 years sober, you bet some little voice in the back of your head will say, “Hey, look at that, 10 years sober. We have this thing beat. I bet we could have a beer with dinner, no problem.” A long stretch of sobriety is no guarantee. People do relapse after long time in recovery.

Despite that, it does get easier the longer you stay in recovery. Cravings come and go, but gradually diminish in intensity. You never really stop thinking about your drug of choice but it gets easier to stay away from it. The important thing is never to take recovery for granted. Don’t assume you can resist temptation and certainly don’t think you can stop once you start.

 

Recovery is a long term commitment and you have to work on it every day, but you only stay in recovery one day at a time. It’s a process that evolves as you go. You have to build routines and social support into your life that will do some of the healthy lifting. Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and make a plan for long-term recovery. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

When is the Right Time to Choose Sobriety?

You may know that you need to quit drugs or drinking but you may keep putting it off. You might have work, school, or family commitments that you don’t feel you can take a break from. It never seems like a good time. The problem is that, for most people, the perfect time never comes. There is always an excuse to wait.

It’s true that getting sober will be inconvenient. You have to detox, which will take at least a week or two. Inpatient treatment programs typically last 30 to 90 days and sometimes more. It might feel impossible to free up that kind of time to devote to sobriety. Even if you only start going to AA or NA meetings, you’re embarking on a major life change. It’s not just about finding an extra hour in your schedule.

You may worry that taking the time off work will hurt your career or your studies. This sort of calculation is a bit specious because your addiction will have a far worse impact on your career or studies if you don’t do something about it. It’s only a matter of time before your performance suffers. The longer you let it slide, the longer it will take you to get back to where you were.

The bottom line is that companies want sober employees, universities want sober students, and kids want sober parents. You may feel like you are letting them down by taking time to get sober, but in reality, it’s best thing you can do to be there for them in the long run. It’s better for everyone.

To paraphrase the old saying, the best time to get sober was 10 years ago; the second best time is now. The third best time is a specific date in the near future. That is, sometimes it really is a bad time, but if you have decided to get sober and you can’t start immediately for some reason, make a firm commitment for when you will start. Share it with your friends or family, or just someone who can hold you accountable.

Keep in mind that not all programs are the same. Although it’s best to do an inpatient treatment program to get your recovery off to a good start, there are many treatment options. You might do a clinical detox, then outpatient treatment, or go to meetings and see a therapist. Treatment is not an all-or-nothing proposition. You don’t have to spend 90 days in a residential facility. You just have to do something that takes you in the direction of sobriety, and do it soon.

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We offer medical detox and we can help you find the best treatment options to help you continue in recovery. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

How Long Will Cravings Last?

A question people have at every stage of recovery is, “How long with cravings last?” It can be daunting to imagine a future dominated by a perpetual longing to relapse. It’s especially difficult in the early stages of recovery, when you are doing everything right–going to meetings, getting enough sleep, exercising, avoiding triggers, etc.–and you still find yourself thinking about your drug of choice.

If you are doing everything right, or even mostly right, and you still have cravings, don’t worry. Cravings are normal. For a long time, years, decades maybe, this one thing was incredibly important to you. Your brain rewired itself to figure out how to get more of it. That won’t change overnight and it probably won’t go away after a few months of treatment.

The good news is that cravings do fall off sharply after the first week or so. Cravings are most intense during detox, when you feel like you would do anything to make withdrawal stop. For most drugs, withdrawal peaks after a few days, after which the intensity declines quickly. At a certain point, the decline in intensity slows down and you’re on the long road of recovery. The cravings will continue to decrease, but at a frustratingly slow rate.

At this point, you just have to keep doing the things that have been working for you and take it one day at a time. In some ways, recovery is like a breakup with someone who is bad for you. You might miss the person a lot at first and continue to think about him for months or years. After all, that person was a big part of your life. You gradually go from actively resisting getting back together to not having any particular desire to see that person again but you will never forget about him completely.

Remember that a craving is just a feeling. It comes and goes. It may be intense for a few minutes, but if you pay attention, you will notice it never stays intense for long. You probably wait out many temptations every day already. You wait out a craving whenever someone irritates you and you don’t yell in his face, or when you’re running late but resist the urge to drive 100 miles per hour on the interstate. You have an extra challenging craving to manage but it will get easier with practice.

 

Don’t be discouraged by cravings. They are normal and they get easier to deal with. You also don’t have to deal with them alone. Recovery takes teamwork. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

What Prevents People from Seeking Treatment for Addiction?

At any given time, there are more than 20 million Americans who need treatment for addiction, but only about 10 percent of those people actually seek treatment. What prevents the rest of them from seeking treatment?

Some of those people try to recover on their own or with the help of family. Sometimes this is a reasonable approach. If an addiction is not long-standing or severe, it is generally safe to try to detox at home, assuming the addiction is not to benzos or barbiturates. Some people can successfully detox at home, usually with family support, and ideally under the supervision of their doctor. For people with more serious, long-standing addictions, this is not a good idea. Severe alcohol withdrawal–DTs–can be dangerous, and opioid withdrawal can be so painful that many people can’t tough it out at home and end up relapsing.

A large percentage of people who don’t seek help–almost half–believe they can’t afford it or that insurance won’t cover treatment. Detox and treatment can be expensive, and relatively few people can pay out of pocket, but insurance frequently covers detox and some degree of inpatient treatment. Treatment centers have people who specialize in working with insurance companies, or finding other avenues of funding, often through state or federal programs. Don’t automatically assume treatment is too expensive.

The next largest group is just not ready to stop using or don’t think they need help. For them, the bad doesn’t yet outweigh the good, or they can’t admit their drinking or drug use has become a problem. If they can’t see they have a problem, their families or friends must help them see it before it’s too late.

Another large group fears the stigma of addiction. They know they need help but are too embarrassed to get it. They don’t want anyone to know about their addiction, so they keep struggling in private. What they don’t realize is that most of the people they care about probably know already. Often, addicts are the last to realize they have a problem. And if they have managed to keep it a secret, it’s only a matter of time before the addiction gets out of control, so it’s better to get help now.

Some people fear it will affect their work. It’s probably true that taking a bit of time for treatment will affect their job, but sooner or later, addiction will affect it much more adversely. Generally, employers want their employees to get treatment if they need it, and they are required by law to grant leave for treatment under the Family Medical Leave Act.

 

The last group of people who don’t get treatment simply don’t know where to get it. The US actually has many treatment centers, but some areas, especially rural areas, are underserved. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.

When it Comes to Drug Abuse, What do Other Countries do Better?

The opioid crisis has frequently been in the news lately. Almost 60,000 Americans died from opioid overdose last year. Overdose deaths in the US account for about a third of fatal overdoses worldwide. The US leads the world in illicit drug use, especially cocaine, which Americans use at four times the rate of second place New Zealand. This is despite relatively severe drug laws. The Bureau of Prisons estimates that about half of prisoners are incarcerated for drug-related crimes. About 16 percent of those were non-violent offenses. If we can’t jail our way out of the opioid crisis, what can we do?

Comparing countries is always difficult and imperfect. Different countries have different cultures, different attitudes toward drugs, different forms of government, and different community structures. Despite the difficulties, it’s worth looking for clues in what they do differently.

A report on the topic by the RAND Corporation notes that many European countries, including Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Spain tend to look at drug abuse and addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal one, and therefore emphasize treatment over punishment. Some exceptions are Germany and Sweden, where drug abuse is treated as a criminal offense, but not not as aggressively as it is in the US. It is perhaps worth noting that Germany has the second highest fatal overdose rate in Europe, behind Great Britain.

Great Britain is an interesting point of comparison because it is the European cousin or perhaps parent, of the US. Fatal overdoses in Great Britain account for about one third of all fatal overdoses in Europe. Despite this dubious honor, Britons die from overdose at a much lower rate than Americans. Out of every million people, about 121 Britons die of overdose compared to about 187 Americans, about a 50 percent higher rate.

UK laws bear some similarities to other European countries by emphasizing treatment for users and some similarities to the US in harsh sentences for sale and distribution. You might call this a “chips to crisps” comparison because of our cultural similarities, but it’s hard to pin down exactly what makes the difference. Many people would point to the greater availability of healthcare through the NHS and that’s certainly a likely factor. Other factors might include a better social safety net and more centralized communities–meaning fewer populations are underserved.

It doesn’t seem to matter much whether drug laws are permissive or prohibitive. Both Spain and the Netherlands have permissive laws, but the Netherlands has much lower rates of abuse. Similarly, both Norway and the US have prohibitive drug laws but Norway has very low rates of abuse while the US is the highest in the world.

What seems to matter most is whether people have access to treatment and support. In the US, more than half of the people who need help don’t seek it because they believe they can’t afford it or they don’t know where to get it. It would be great if the US made treatment and mental health services more widely available. In the meantime, treatment options do exist and they may be more available than you realize. Gardens Wellness Center can help you with your addiction. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.

How Does Drug Addiction in the US Compare to the Rest of the World?

When President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, he said the opioid epidemic was a worldwide problem. Is that true? How does the US compare to the rest of the world when it comes to drug abuse and addiction? This topic is as complex as you want to make it, considering the many differences in cultural attitudes, country sizes, and governmental structures or lack thereof.

There are, however, some broad comparisons we can make. For example, the World Health Organization found in a survey of 17 countries that the US leads the world in illicit drug use, particularly marijuana and cocaine. In fact, Americans were four times more likely to have used cocaine than Kiwis, who came in second. Americans use marijuana at twice the rate of the Netherlands, a country with far more liberal drug policies.

The disparity in opioid use between the US and the rest of the world is even bigger. The US accounts for about five percent of the world’s population but consumes 80 percent of the world’s opioid painkillers. In most other countries, opioids are only used in hospitals, but in the US they are widely prescribed for home use, which accounts for much of the disparity. One study found that nearly a quarter of physicians prescribe 10 times the recommended amount of opioids. While the Centers for Disease Control recommend a three day limit, these doctors were prescribing a month’s supply, which greatly increases the likelihood of addiction and escalation.

This huge disparity in opioid use contributes to another huge disparity: overdose deaths. Again, the US leads the world by a considerable margin. While the US has five percent of the world’s population, Americans account for about a third of all overdose deaths. Most of these are attributed to opioid overdose, particularly heroin and fentanyl, and most often a combination of opioids and something else, such as alcohol, barbiturates, or benzos.

Compared to the rest of the world, the US has much higher rates of drug abuse and overdose deaths despite having much stricter drug laws. This suggests there are other factors at work. Likely candidates include aggressive marketing by drug companies, perverse incentives in the healthcare system, and lack of treatment options, particularly for mental health issues. Countries with lower rates of abuse and overdose typically treat addiction as a health issue rather than a crime.

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, treatment is available. Don’t let yourself become a statistic in this swelling epidemic. Gardens Wellness Center can help. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.

 

Can I Recover if I’m Not Religious?

AA and NA famously rely on submission to a higher power. Six of the 12 Steps involve God–deciding “to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God,” being “entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character,” asking “God to remove our shortcomings,” etc. A huge percentage of the Big Book is devoted to faith in a higher power. There is a chapter addressed specifically to agnostics. It can be summarized as, “Get over yourself and believe in God.” Meetings are often held in churches. You might wonder if recovery is only for the righteous.

While AA and NA are effective, they aren’t the only paths to recovery. There are a range of therapeutic approaches that have proven effective, usually combined with group therapy and sometimes combined with medication. Some of these approaches include cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management or motivational incentives, community reinforcement, motivational enhancement therapy, matrix model, and family behavior therapy.

Some of these approaches work better than others for specific addictions. For example, motivational enhancement therapy works better for alcohol, and the matrix model works better for stimulants. Cognitive behavior therapy is the broadest approach and helps you manage the stress, anxiety, and depression that can lead to relapse. A good therapist will have a variety of techniques and a lot of experience helping people recover from addiction.

Although the 12 Steps relies on a higher power, it can still work if you aren’t religious. In the Big Book, it quickly becomes clear that when they say you’re free to conceive of the higher power any way you wish, it means you can choose Jehovah, Yahweh, or Allah. In practice, however, people take greater liberty with the idea. For example, Frank M. at the AA Agnostica blog conceives of the higher power simply as reality. That means accepting that you, like everything else in the universe, are subject to the laws of cause and effect. You can’t have one drink–that’s just not how you’re made. Believing you can change the laws of cause and effect is asking for trouble.

It can be frustrating for an atheist or agnostic in recovery to be surrounded by people who have not only found religion, but believe you must find it too if you want to stay in recovery. One way to deal with that frustration is to use it as an opportunity to practice acceptance. Outside of addiction, you aren’t likely to have much in common with many of your group. That’s OK. You’re there to support each other in recovery and contribute whatever you can. NA or AA can still be a useful part of recovery if you can contribute to the atmosphere of mutual support.

Recovery isn’t only available to people with certain religious ideas and there’s no single approach that works for everyone. The best approach is the one that works for you and Gardens Wellness Center can help you figure out what that is. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.