Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Methamphetamine, more commonly known as meth, is a very strong stimulant,

causing the user to appear unusually active and even not sleep for long periods., even for several days.  Observers may notice that the user begins to lose a lot of weight and appear thin and undernourished.  Because they feel more energetic, the user may appear to be nervous or anxious.  People may notice that the user looks sweaty or becomes overheated even though they are not exercising or in a warm environment.  Other symptoms include high blood pressure and dilated pupils.  The meth user will also engage in risky behavior in order to get more of the drug.  The user may also become sexually excited.

Because harsh and caustic chemicals are used in ‘cooking’ meth, its use is very damaging to the user.  Many users will develop dental problems because the drug causes dry mouth, even to the point of losing some or all of their teeth.   The user may suffer from irregular heartbeat; mood disturbances; violent or aggressive behavior; paranoia and confusion.  The victim of meth addiction may also experience a rapid deterioration of both appearance and behavior.  Extended or heavy use of meth often results in hallucinations and delusions.  The user may become convinced that there are bugs crawling on their skin and will therefore develop sores caused by picking at the skin to get rid of the bugs.  This is one of the most commonly recognized symptoms of meth use.

Under the influence of meth, the addict will be unable to maintain gainful employment.  The meth addict will also create problems for their friends and family members.  Because getting the drug become more important than anything else in the addict’s life.  The user will fail to provide for their dependents and will not take care of their home, resulting in increasingly unsanitary living conditions.  They may even lose their home.  Drugs and drug paraphernalia will often be left within reach of children.

As with many drugs of addiction, meth negatively impacts both the user and those around them.  The user will be unable to take proper care of themselves or of their relatives.  The destructive impact of meth on the user’s body only grow stronger as the use of the drug continues.  In addition, the user’s ability to take proper care of their dependents steadily deteriorates.  For these reasons among others, meth is commonly thought of as one of the most destructive illicit drugs.

 

The Frustrations of Recovery

Most people who suffer from addiction want to break the chains that bind them.  On some level, they recognize that their addiction hurts not only them but other people, such as family and friends.  They may even have tried once or many times to stop their addictive behavior.  Naturally, there are people who enjoy the impact of drugs on their lives, but most victims of addiction want something more for themselves.  This does not only apply to those who, in the terms of 12 Step programs, have ‘hit bottom’.  It can also apply to those who realize that their behavior brings suffering into the lives of people they care about.

The problem is that breaking the chains of addiction can be terribly difficult.  Drug addiction has not only a physical element but also of psychological or social aspect.  Addictive drugs interact with brain chemistry in ways that make it difficult to terminate use of the drug.  The decision to use mind-altering drugs is often a response to some kind of mental or emotional disorder or to difficulty in dealing with social situations.  Indeed, the decision to use drugs may be caused by mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.  For other people, the decision to use drugs is based upon an inability to manage social situations.  That is, people choose to use drugs because they are suffering from emotional pain or because they don’t know how to deal with others when they are not high.

This is the source of the frustration of recovery.  Just as one is dealing with the physical pain of coming off of drugs, one is hit with emotional pain or social anxiety.  It’s a double whammy, as they say.  The pain of terminating drug use is complicated by the reappearance of the initial reason for the decision to use drugs.  The more one breaks the pain of physical addiction, the more they are forced to deal with the suffering that they used drugs to treat.

Where does one get the strength to deal with all of this at once?  The support of family and friends is helpful.  Professional treatment may also be needed and helpful.  Participation in self-help groups can be very beneficial.  We can’t forget, however, that our God loves us beyond our wildest dreams, more than we can even begin to imagine.  God’s help and His grace will give us the strength we need to break the chains of addiction and seek help for the other hurting parts of our life.

If you want to know more about ending addiction, check out this website:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/overcoming-drug-addiction.htm

Support of Family and Friends

Breaking the chains of addiction can be very difficult.  The victim of addiction may try and fail again and again.  They may become discouraged.  That is why the support of family and friends is so very important.  The addict may be ashamed of their behavior or feel like a failure, especially if they have stumbled along the road to recovery.  They may feel like they have let down the people who are dearest to them.  They may even begin to feel like they’re just a burden and a problem for other people in their life.

It is especially in moments like this when the recovering addict is most in need of the support of their family and friends.  When they begin to feel like they have failed the people whom they love the most, that’s exactly when they are most in need of the support and encouragement of those they love.  If you’re feeling strong and healthy, you’re not likely to go to the hospital.  People go there when they’re suffering or in pain.  When the addict is suffering from shame and feeling like a failure, they need the ‘medicine’ of the support of their loved ones.

In the 15th chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus encourages us to confront a fellow Christian when we see them doing wrong.  If they won’t listen to you, then you should bring somebody else with you so that you can both challenge their behavior.  If this doesn’t work, they you should bring the matter to the attention of the Christian community.  This may sound harsh and the point isn’t to ‘tell on’ people, but that isn’t really the way it was meant.  The point is for the community to gather supportively around the sinner so that they will know that they are cared for.  That is exactly the kind of support that the victim of addiction needs.  They need to know that there are people out there who love and care for them.

It is not some unknown person out there, it’s you, the one reading this, who may need help and support.  You may be dealing with the pain of failure.  You may be ashamed of your addictive behavior.  You may have brought suffering into the lives of those whom you love.  Nonetheless, these are the very people to whom you must reach out for support and love.  That takes courage, but it’s something you need to do.

For some guidance on how to build a support system for recovery, please go to https://blogs.psychcentral.com/addiction-recovery/2012/02/5-steps-social-support-system/

Risks of Spice

So-called synthetic cannabis, more commonly known as spice, is often marketed as a ‘legal high’ but it does not actually contain any cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids.  A variety of herbs are sprayed with chemicals that are designed to occupy cannabinoid receptors in the brain.  They have only a minimal relation to the THC found in cannabis.  Researchers are not clear as to even how these chemicals effect the body.  These chemicals are designed for laboratory testing to study the way that cannabinoids effect cellular processes, but they are not tested on the human body.  Some can be extremely harmful and even deadly.

Research has shown that THC binds to only two receptors in the human brain and that it’s effect is generally short-term.  The chemicals used in spice bind to more receptors in the brain and has a much longer-term effect.  There is evidence that there are lasting effects on the nervous system, even to the point of producing seizures, organ-failure and cardiac arrest.  Researchers do not even know why these severe effects are produced.

There are dozens of these chemicals, and that is a major part of the risk they pose.  The Food and Drug Administration of the federal government continually tries to regulate these products.  The market is there, however, so designers of spice feel they must maintain a supply.  In order to do this, they constantly change the combination of chemicals that are contained in spice.  In other words, each time you purchase spice you’re probably not getting the same product your purchase previously.  You’re getting a different mix of chemicals and there is no real way of knowing how that mix of chemicals will interact with your body.  This is the major reason why spice is so dangerous:  each time you purchase some, you’re probably not getting what you purchased the last time.  Further, newer chemicals are often stronger and more toxic that previously-used chemicals.  Each time you use spice you’re performing an unmonitored experiment on your own body.

Despite frequent claims that spice is a ‘safe and legal high’, the fact is that these are dangerous chemicals with an unknown effect on the human body.  Each time you use it, you’re taking what may end up being a deadly risk.  Ask yourself if the high is really worth that risk to you.  The best advice is to avoid these dangerous chemicals completely.  You’re putting your life on the line each time you use them.

You can find out more at:  www.drugabuse.gov › Drugs of Abuse

Challenges of Cocaine Withdrawal

One doesn’t have to look very far on the internet to find stories of people who continue to use cocaine even when it is causing serious negative effects on their lives.  Victims of cocaine addiction will often sell their property; steal from family, friends or businesses; divert money needed for food, housing or utilities to the purchase of cocaine; or even engage in very risky behaviors such as prostitution in order to get the money needed to purchase cocaine.  The reason for this is that cocaine withdrawal can be very difficult.  The person withdrawing from cocaine will likely experience depression, sleepiness, irritability, anxiety, chills, exhaustion and even paranoia.  Body aches; tremors; the inability to feel pleasure or to concentrate and a strong craving for cocaine are also common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal.  These symptoms begin to appear within hours of the cessation of cocaine use, but usually last only a week or two.  Over the space of about ten weeks, the person will begin to fell normal again.  Despite this short duration, they can be very hard to manage.  There is no real danger of death from cocaine withdrawal, but you might feel like you’re dying.

There are no drugs which can really remove the effects of cocaine withdrawal.  In fact, the use of pain killers or other medications intended to alleviate the pain of withdrawal is discouraged since the use of such medications may result in the person simply using the new drug in an addictive manner.  This is often described as ‘switching’ addictions.

The other major challenge of cocaine withdrawal is the presence of other problems which the person self-treated with cocaine.  These are known as ‘co-occurring’ disorders.  The person who begins to abuse cocaine often does so because it helps them manage another problem.  For example, a person who suffers from depression may begin to use cocaine because it helps them feel happier.  Once the person withdraws from cocaine, these earlier problems will reappear, and may even seem worse than they were in the beginning.  In other words, the initial cause of cocaine use will reappear and the victim of cocaine addiction may want to return to the escape they initially found in cocaine.

The victim of cocaine abuse thus faces two primary challenges when they choose to withdraw.  The effects of withdrawing from the drug itself and the reappearance of co-occurring disorders previously masked by cocaine.  Withdrawal from cocaine is, therefore, a difficult challenge.  In the face of these challenges, support is very important.  Whether it be self-help groups or professional help, the person withdrawing from cocaine will greatly benefit from the support of others.

If you want to know more about cocaine withdrawal, please go to:  http://drugabuse.com/library/cocaine-withdrawal